Top 10 music documentaries currently streaming on Netflix

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Netflix's instant streaming service is quite possibly the most amazing service in the history of mankind. Combing through its offerings, however, is no easy task. Fortunately, we've spent an inordinate amount of time watching music documentaries (so you don't have to) and have narrowed down the ten best offerings. Click through to see our picks.

10. Scott Walker 30 Century Man

Scott Walker is the quintessential weirdo musician. Need proof? Watch this documentary that features a segment in which he's watching over someone punching a slab of pork for a sound effect. He's well known for being elusive and strange, but most people will probably just recognize the song "30 Century Man" from The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. It's a little slow to start, but still worth digging into the full movie.

9. Buena Vista Social Club

Sure, we can all blame Buena Vista Social Club for our parents' weird interest in world music, but that doesn't stop this documentary from being one of the most insightful and interesting films on this list. Even if you're not a fan of the music, it's hard not to respect it.

8. You're Gonna Miss Me

It's no surprise that a few of these documentaries are about crazy musicians, but You're Gonna Miss Me pretty much takes the cake. It details the story of Roky Erickson, former frontman of the 13th Floor Elevators. Starting with his rise to rock-and-roll fame and the creation of psychedelic music, moving through his overuse of LSD and his schizophrenia, and culminating with his eventual arrest and commitment to an insane asylum, this is one of the greatest rock and roll stories out there.

7. The Flaming Lips: Fearless Freaks

Like all good rock documentaries, Fearless Freaks features a story about a no-name band's rise to fame, complete with drugs, bailing bandmembers and everything else. It's cliché at this point, but thankfully, the Flaming Lips are eccentric enough as people to keep it interesting.

6. LoudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies

It might be a bit strange for Pixies fans that this documentary picks up during the 2006 reunion, but let's be honest: Not many were fans of the Pixies when they first starting making music -- at least, not as many people as should have been. Thankfully, they managed to grab a whole bunch of new fans after they broke up.

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11 comments
AndyM
AndyM

Great list. I live in UK so need to compile a similar one for LOVEFILM. If you watch a lot of music documentaries, check out MusicFilmWeb.com - first hub site devoted entirely to music docs.

DavetheSave?
DavetheSave?

It Might Get Loud has gotta make this list! Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge have a jam and rap session in this film, and it does a rad job of documenting where their three distinct guitar styles and philosophies came from.

Also, I'm a music/arts journalist moving to Denver...anyone know where to get a gig?!

jonathanjaeger
jonathanjaeger

Where's Standing in the Shadows of Motown? Is it not on Netflix?

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

Yet another great one. Only available on DVD currently.

Scott L
Scott L

Who is Harry Nilsson might be one of the better music documentaries out there, not to mention its on netflix instant. Definitely don't overlook that one when making such a list.

JonnyForever
JonnyForever

I've been thinking about checking that one out but I don't really know his music...

I really enjoyed the Scott Walker one though and I didn't know his music either.

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

Oh man! Indeed. That Harry Nilsson documentary is freaking awesome! Totally worthy of being at the top of this list. Other honorable mentions: Biggie & Tupac, the Art of 16 Bars, Mission of Burma Story: Not a Photograph, Nerdcore Rising, The Devil and Daniel Johnston (DVD now) and Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt (DVD now).

Number Three
Number Three

Nercore Rising and The Devil and Daniel Johnston are amazing!!! Good call

Number Three
Number Three

Do my eyes deceive me or did you just overlook Who Is Harry Nilsson?

Love,Number Three

Thorin
Thorin

Y'know, I've had that in my queue for a long time -- and I did totally glance over it. Blast!

Amber Taufen
Amber Taufen

I'd have to add Bela Fleck in "Throw Down Your Heart" -- it's a history of the banjo's roots in Africa and utterly fascinating.

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