Buried deep beneath old episodes of Breaking Bad and House Of Cards, you’ll find hours and hours of top class music documentaries on Netflix UK from histories of rap and documentaries on punk to detailed profiles of Tupac, Biggie, Jay Z and Katy Perry. Here we round up ten of the best music films to stream on Netflix.
Punk’s Not Dead
Taking a look at punk’s history in America, this 2007 film shines a light on the DC scene of the ’80s with particular attention paid to bands such as Fugazi and Black Flag. A staggering number of artists speak during the 93-minute movie including Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye and Jello Biafra through to My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and Warped Tour manager Lisa Brownlee. It’s a great insight into the world of punk away from the tired stories of the Sex Pistols and The Clash.
Beware Of Mr Baker
Beware indeed. Cream drummer Ginger Baker has a temperament that made Lou Reed look like a kindly grandma. Arguably music’s angriest man, Baker is tracked down by a plucky (or should that be naive?) filmmaker keen to profile a man viewed as a god by drummers around the world. Not against giving his interviewer a whack with his cane if he takes against a question, Baker remains fascinating and cantankerous throughout this film, insulting Mick Jagger and explaining how he lost all his money buying horses for his unlikely polo habit.
Louis Theroux – Rap
Back in the late ’90s, when he wasn’t hanging out with Jimmy Saville or flirting with Christine Hamilton, Louis Theroux brought his brand of innocent film-making to the world of rap. This one-off episode of the third series of Weird Weekends sees Theroux travel to the Deep South to investigate the area’s hip-hop scene, interviewing Master P and even starting his own gangster rap career.
Katy Perry: Part Of Me
From the daughter of a minister to one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, Katy Perry’s rise to the top has not been without incident. This film charts the singer’s life from singing gospel as a child to her ill-fated career under her real name (Katy Hudson) and on to the chart-topping, cream-spurting bra days we know so well. Gossip hounds will love the fact the film was made during her split from British comedian and wannabe revolutionary Russell Brand, too. Adele, Lady Gaga and Rihanna make cameo appearances in this frothy but fun documentary.
Punk In Africa
Telling the story of punk’s rise to popularity during apartheid-era South Africa, this film shows how powerful aggressive music can be in a time of real oppression. Shining a light on how bands such as National Wake made their way in a predominantly white music scene, Punk In Africa charts the genre up to its modern incarnation where ska and hardcore have become a growing influence.
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Jay Z: Backstage
Before Jay Z became the festival-headlining, arena-slaying Mr Beyoncé we know today he was more likely to be found on the road with DMX and Method Man than, say, Justin Timberlake. This 2000 film chronicles the Hard Knock Life tour which also featured Beanie Siegel, Ja Rule and Redman. Unlike most concert films, the majority of the action here is focused away from the stage with X-rated footage of drug use and sexual activity that would never make the grade in Jay’s post-Blue Ivy era.
Biggie & Tupac
Nick Broomfield pops up again, this time investigating the beef between Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur which led to the murders of hip-hop’s leading stars. Broomfield alleges that Death Row Records figurehead Suge Knight was behind both murders in a film which has been dismissed by those close to the investigation as being largely speculative. Those looking to fill in the gaps surrounding two hip-hop greats could do far worse than this though.
Kurt And Courtney
In 1998 filmmaker Nick Broomfield investigated the death of Nirvana’s iconic frontman and the circumstances surrounding his death in 1994. Broomfield meets people who believe that Courtney Love killed Cobain including, most shockingly, Love’s own father. The film soon turns into an investigation into Love’s efforts to censor Broomfield and his project, culminating in the British director taking to the stage during a public appearance and questioning her on what he has heard about Cobain’s death.
Snoop Lion: Reincarnated
Snoop Dogg is the king of reinvention so it was of little surprise when he travelled to Jamaica, got incredibly stoned and changed his name to Snoop Lion. Luckily a film crew was on hand to capture his transformation with Reincarnated peering through the weed fugue and detailing Snoop’s conversion to the Rastafarian faith. Diplo and members of The Wailers appear as Snoop Dogg becomes reggae’s newest cat.
Electric Daisy Carnival Experience
You don’t need to look twice at Calvin Harris’ bank balance to see that EDM is huge in America. However, if you want hitting over the head with neon lights, gurning frat boys and more glow sticks than the Klaxons picked up in their heyday then this film is for you. Swedish House Mafia, Deadmau5 and David Guetta all line up to press play in a movie which might not be for the purists but remains interesting nonetheless.