Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 01-19-2019, 11:36 AM
MortSahlFan MortSahlFan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: US
Posts: 196
Great Documentaries About Music?

I've seen so many about certain bands/artists, but I don't think I've seen a documentary about music; the history, or the language, evolution, how it spread early on, what effects it has on people, etc.

Last edited by MortSahlFan; 01-19-2019 at 11:38 AM.
  #2  
Old 01-19-2019, 11:57 AM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is online now
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 13,645
While not exactly what you describe, you might enjoy the 2016 documentary series Soundbreaking. It's about the history and evolution of recorded music, so it's focused on the past 100+ years, and it's about the innovation and experimentation that went into modern music. (Also, it was produced by Sir George Martin.)

Because of its subject matter, it doesn't focus on particular artists (though there are definitely a ton of musicians featured in it).
  #3  
Old 01-19-2019, 11:59 AM
Shoeless's Avatar
Shoeless Shoeless is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Sunflower State
Posts: 6,322
Don't know if this is exactly what you're looking for, but there was the PBS documentary series Soundbreaking which aired last year. And hey, they're running it again at the end of March!

ETA: Ninja'ed!

Last edited by Shoeless; 01-19-2019 at 11:59 AM.
  #4  
Old 01-19-2019, 12:00 PM
Beckdawrek's Avatar
Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: So.Ark ?
Posts: 12,901
PBS, American Masters.
  #5  
Old 01-19-2019, 12:42 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 28,215
Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but you could try Sound City. Also, 20 Feet From Stardom was very good.
  #6  
Old 01-19-2019, 03:43 PM
MortSahlFan MortSahlFan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: US
Posts: 196
I'll check them out, thank you!
  #7  
Old 01-19-2019, 05:01 PM
kenobi 65's Avatar
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is online now
Corellian Nerfherder
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Brookfield, IL
Posts: 13,645
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but you could try Sound City.
I enjoyed that one a great deal. Relatedly (as Dave Grohl produced Sound City), you might also check out the project he worked on after that: Sonic Highways, a documentary series about the music scene and history in various cities (New York, New Orleans, Nashville, etc.), which was hosted by Grohl and his band, Foo Fighters.
  #8  
Old 01-19-2019, 05:41 PM
jaycat jaycat is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 1,143
The Howlin' Wolf Story is excellent.
  #9  
Old 01-19-2019, 05:52 PM
don't ask don't ask is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 18,092
The BBC series The Story of Music by Howard Goodall is great. His series How Music Works, also available on YouTube is also fascinating.
  #10  
Old 01-19-2019, 05:59 PM
Gatopescado's Avatar
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: on your last raw nerve
Posts: 21,234
3rd on Soundbreaking. Great series.

Might also check out the little cheesy half-hours 'Rockumentaries' on the VICE channel. Shallow, but entertaining.
  #11  
Old 01-19-2019, 06:14 PM
lingyi lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,396
Focused on the Blues, The Land Where the Blues Began, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eMe54XsJUE by Alan Lomax, John Bishop and Worth Long, is an outstanding documentary about how the Delta Blues evolved from African rhythms and traditions. As much as I appreciate the well-known bluesmen like Robert Johnson, Elmore James and Howling Wolf, IMO, these are the real bluesmen with stories to tell.

A bit of triva. In his book filming and editing this documentary, Lomax said that when Joe Savage is singing about his time at the county jail (44m:54s), he cut to Savage's hands because his facial expressions were too painful to watch. He soon realized that Savage wringing his hands was an even more powerful image that the keep in the film.

Last edited by lingyi; 01-19-2019 at 06:18 PM.
  #12  
Old 01-19-2019, 09:31 PM
Yookeroo's Avatar
Yookeroo Yookeroo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: San Clemente, California
Posts: 5,026
The BBC did a great 3 part documentary on the history of house music: Can You Feel It - How Dance Music Conquered the World. Here's the first part.
__________________
Paul
  #13  
Old 01-19-2019, 09:39 PM
blondebear blondebear is offline
Shouting Grasshopper
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Meridian/280
Posts: 13,771
If you're interested in the history of an individual instrument, Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey is worth watching.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World talks a lot about the influence of Native Americans in the music of America.
  #14  
Old 01-19-2019, 11:28 PM
nearwildheaven nearwildheaven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 11,955
If you like it loud, "The Decline of Western Civilization" series are a good summation of the ca. 1980 punk scene in part 1, and the 80s and 90s L.A. metal scene in parts 2 and 3.
  #15  
Old 01-20-2019, 03:49 AM
road_lobo road_lobo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Behind you
Posts: 60
Quote:
Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
The BBC series The Story of Music by Howard Goodall is great. His series How Music Works, also available on YouTube is also fascinating.
I recommend Howard Goodall's Big Bangs, which can also be seen on YouTube. It covers the inventions of notation, opera, equal temperament, the pianoforte, and recorded sound.

Radio Soulwax - This is Belgium Part 1 is about New Beat.

Synth Britannia is about the origins of British synth pop and sequelae.

Punk Britannia is about British punk. The link is to part 1 of 3.

Reggae - The Story of Jamaican Music is obvious.

Dub Echoes is about dub reggae.
  #16  
Old 01-20-2019, 08:08 AM
JKellyMap's Avatar
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 9,294
Leonard Bernstein's radio lectures -- now podcasts, here: https://www.wqxr.org/story/bernstein...podcasts-past/ -- come closer to what the OP seeks, I think.
  #17  
Old 01-20-2019, 08:14 AM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Seoul, S. Korea
Posts: 9,422
I really loved Leonard Bernstein's Omnibus and Young People's Concerts.
  #18  
Old 01-20-2019, 08:15 AM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Seoul, S. Korea
Posts: 9,422
Also, Ken Burns's Jazz.
  #19  
Old 01-20-2019, 10:52 AM
JKellyMap's Avatar
JKellyMap JKellyMap is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 9,294
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop View Post
Also, Ken Burns's Jazz.
Great one.
  #20  
Old 01-20-2019, 11:51 AM
Steven_Maven Steven_Maven is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 21
Tom Dowd & the Language of Music
(sorry, no link)

Dowd was a recording engineer and producer for Atlantic Records, and worked with numerous legendary musicians.
  #21  
Old 01-20-2019, 01:52 PM
Chefguy's Avatar
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 41,135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but you could try Sound City. Also, 20 Feet From Stardom was very good.
Another one similar to "20 Feet" is "Standing in the Shadow of Motown", a documentary about The Funk Brothers and their often uncredited contribution to soul music.

Agree with "Sonic Highways". Grohl did a good job with that.
  #22  
Old 01-20-2019, 10:05 PM
Chefguy's Avatar
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 41,135
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
While not exactly what you describe, you might enjoy the 2016 documentary series Soundbreaking. It's about the history and evolution of recorded music, so it's focused on the past 100+ years, and it's about the innovation and experimentation that went into modern music. (Also, it was produced by Sir George Martin.)

Because of its subject matter, it doesn't focus on particular artists (though there are definitely a ton of musicians featured in it).
Wow, missed this one completely. It's on Hulu now, and I just finished watching the first episode. Fascinating stuff.
  #23  
Old 01-21-2019, 12:43 AM
lingyi lingyi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,396
In Beware of Mr. Baker, Ginger talks about how African drumming heavily influenced his style, which in turn became the template for many drummers styles after Cream.
  #24  
Old 01-21-2019, 05:56 PM
griffin1977 griffin1977 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,356
If radio documentaries are your thing BBC 6 Music has a lot of them online (though not all of them are online at any given time), and they can be very in depth (which I am a fan of personally, lack of content is the main sin of a lot modern documentaries IMO)...

Mento to Lover's Rock, history Jamaican Music by Linton Kwesi Johnson. 10 episodes:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00sf8sb


A-Z of Psychedelia in 26 (obviously) 10 minute episodes:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b015gnhg
  #25  
Old 01-21-2019, 07:44 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 11,103
I'm not into their music, but thoroughly enjoyed A Band Called Death. They were a hard rock band from Detroit. They were offered a record company contract - provided they change their name. And of course the industry had a difficult time wrapping their heads around the idea of of Black brothers playing hard rock. They were completely forgotten except for a single that wound up being discovered by a collector.
  #26  
Old 01-21-2019, 08:18 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,236
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
I'm not into their music, but thoroughly enjoyed A Band Called Death. They were a hard rock band from Detroit. They were offered a record company contract - provided they change their name. And of course the industry had a difficult time wrapping their heads around the idea of of Black brothers playing hard rock. They were completely forgotten except for a single that wound up being discovered by a collector.
Damn. I don't know anything about this band, but just looked up "For the Whole World to See" album on Youtube, and, shit, WHY haven't I heard of this band? This is incredible stuff. Will check out the documentary. Thanks.
  #27  
Old 01-22-2019, 07:21 AM
Meurglys Meurglys is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Edinburgh
Posts: 2,314
If you have access, the BBC are currently showing a 3-part series called Guitar Drum and Bass, each part presented by a well known player.

I thought the Tina Weymouth one on bass guitar was very good, the Stewart Copeland drum one had some very good stuff, but a bit too much of Copeland waving his arms around, and I haven't seen the Lenny Kaye one yet.
  #28  
Old 01-22-2019, 05:00 PM
Johnny Q Johnny Q is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,778
It Might Get Loud with Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge.
  #29  
Old 01-22-2019, 08:26 PM
JohnGalt's Avatar
JohnGalt JohnGalt is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Med city USA
Posts: 2,115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Horatio Hellpop View Post
I really loved Leonard Bernstein's Omnibus and Young People's Concerts.
Seconding this. Turner Classic Movies TCM showed a number of them last summer (on his 100th birthday). There's a DVD set on Amazon with these episodes:
  • Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony (1954)
  • The World of Jazz (1955)
  • The Art of Conducting (1955)
  • American Musical Comedy (1956)
  • Introduction to Modern Music (1957)
  • The Music of Johann Sebastian Bach (1957)
  • What Makes Opera Grand? (1958).
  #30  
Old 01-22-2019, 11:59 PM
lost4life lost4life is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Southeast of something
Posts: 3,641
I enjoyed The Future Is Unwritten about Joe Strummer.
__________________
Oof.
  #31  
Old 01-23-2019, 09:00 AM
SykoSkotty SykoSkotty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: South 'Burbs
Posts: 1,195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Q View Post
It Might Get Loud with Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge.
Best. Music documentary. Ever.

Watching Jack White construct then play that "guitar" was mesmerizing. Seeing the joy on Jimmy Page's face while playing some of his favorite records after all these years.....just magic.
__________________
When I was a boy, I laid in my twin sized bed and wondered where my brother was.
  #32  
Old 01-23-2019, 10:59 AM
Dropo Dropo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 497
The Most Feared Song in Jazz, Explained: Making sense of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62tIvfP9A2w
  #33  
Old 01-23-2019, 12:12 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil's Avatar
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Land of Cheese Coneys
Posts: 17,764
How about the "Muscle Shoals" documentary? I really liked it.
  #34  
Old 01-23-2019, 04:29 PM
EinsteinsHund's Avatar
EinsteinsHund EinsteinsHund is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NRW, Germany
Posts: 2,582
Lots and lots of great suggestions so far. Given the fact that the blues is the basic for almost everything in popular music that came after, I strongly recommend the 7 pieces series Martin Scorcese Presents The Blues. It's essential.

And for a different perspective, two great documentaries about kinda cult acts that were essentially doomed from the beginning, produced some of the most staggering recordings in their respective fields but never had the chance to hit it big in their times, the reasons laid out in those documentaries:

Big Star - Nothing Can Hurt Me about Big Star.

Be Here To Love Me
- about the late great Townes Van Zandt
__________________
And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
  #35  
Old 01-23-2019, 07:44 PM
ThisSpaceForRent's Avatar
ThisSpaceForRent ThisSpaceForRent is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: University City, MO
Posts: 1,441
Festival Express is good, especially if you like early 70's Rock and Roll.
  #36  
Old 01-23-2019, 08:12 PM
Llama Llogophile Llama Llogophile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
Posts: 3,889
A little hard to find now, but I really enjoyed this history of rock & roll called, Rock & Roll.

It didn't go chronologically, but rather by sub-genre. They had episodes about glam rock, funk, Motown, the British invasion, punk, rap, etc. The funk episode was particularly great. I found a lot of new favorites the first time I watched it, which I still listen to today.
  #37  
Old 01-24-2019, 06:36 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 11,103
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Damn. I don't know anything about this band, but just looked up "For the Whole World to See" album on Youtube, and, shit, WHY haven't I heard of this band? This is incredible stuff. Will check out the documentary. Thanks.
Glad you dug it! Do check out the documentary as well. I learned about them when the Oak Park School of Rock did a proto-Punk show and the kids loved their music. I Tweeted their performance and one of the members of the band replied and was just so great about it.

Last edited by gaffa; 01-24-2019 at 06:39 PM.
  #38  
Old 01-24-2019, 06:44 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
Posts: 46,236
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
Glad you dug it! Do check out the documentary as well. I learned about them when the Oak Park School of Rock did a proto-Punk show and the kids loved their music. I Tweeted their performance and one of the members of the band replied and was just so great about it.
Love the energy of the kids, especially the guitarists and drummer. How did they end up playing this out of all the songs out there?
  #39  
Old 01-24-2019, 08:19 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 11,103
Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
Love the energy of the kids, especially the guitarists and drummer. How did they end up playing this out of all the songs out there?
Every show has a director who has the job of making a playlist and guiding the weekly three hour rehearsals - and all of them are working musicians, generally from local/regional bands (it's a good job for a working musician - you don't have to get up before noon.) The rest of the show were the usual suspects - Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, the Damned, the Ramones - with a few lesser-knowns like Alternative TV, Sonic's Rendezvous Band and Death. The kids also have weekly one-on-one lessons on their song. This goes on for 12-16 weeks, then they have a pair of shows in a real venue.
  #40  
Old 01-24-2019, 08:35 PM
snfaulkner's Avatar
snfaulkner snfaulkner is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: 123 Fake Street
Posts: 7,164
Sound city. I'm too lazy to find a link. But it was made by Dave Grohl about the Sound City music studio in van nuys.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:36 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017