West Bloomfield Township Public Library
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Music Documentaries (Movies)

Documentaries on all things music! From the lives of musicians to concerts and more.

16 bars

"16 bars offers a rare glimspe at th ehuman stories and songs locked away in our nation's jails and prisons. The documentary follows a unique rehabilitation effort in a Virginia jail that encourages inmates to write and record original music. In the jail's makeshift recording studio, four men collaborate to produce an album with Grammy-winner Todd 'Speech' Thomas or Arrested Development. As the creative process unfolds, these incarcerated artists must confront the traumas of their past, and music becomes the key to unlocking a new chapter in their lives." --container

Hip hop : the songs that shook America

Each episode of this new documentary series focuses on a groundbreaking song pivotal to the evolution of American music and culture. From the early hip-hop battles to verses that sparked hope and inspired change, watch artists deconstruct their composition, revisit the impact the song had on them personally, and dissect the socio-economic and cultural conditions that inspired the landmark work and gave voice to a generation


Sister filmmakers, Julie Simone and Vicki Vlasic return to their Appalachian roots to film at the world's oldest Fiddler's Convention. With multi-generations jamming together, witness some off-the-charts pickin and fiddlin keeping old-time and bluegrass alive in the Appalachian mountains

All I can say

The intimate video diary of Shannon Hoon, the late lead singer of alt-rock band Blind Melon

White riot

"Britain, late-1970s. Punk is exploding. The country is deeply divided over immigration. The National Front, a far-right and fascist political party, is gaining strength as politicians like Enoch Powell push a xenophobic agenda. Outraged by a racist speech from Eric Clapton, music photographer Red Saunders writes a letter to the music press, calling for rock to be a force against racism. NME, Melody Maker, and Sounds all publish the letter. Flooded with responses, Red discovers many share his views. Teaming up with like-minded creatives Roger Huddle, Kate Webb, Syd Shelton and Australian graphic designer Ruth Gregory, the team bands together to create Rock Against Racism (RAR) and a fanzine, Temporary Hoarding. Speaking directly to the youth, Temporary Hoarding reports stories and issues that the mainstream British media ignores, like immigration, the Catholic side of the Northern Ireland conflict, and the police’s controversial “suspected persons” (sus) powers. They give a voice to the voiceless. The National Front begins to strike back, committing acts of violence against RAR supporters and petrol-bombing their HQ. Despite this, RAR spreads virally across the UK and into Europe, becoming a grassroots youth movement. The Clash, Steel Pulse, Tom Robinson and other top bands of the day jump on board. White Riot is a moment in time when music changed the world. When a generation challenged the status quo. It’s Woodstock meets the March on Washington, punk-style." --distributor's website


The live concert film from Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony features 20 songs (over 2.5 hours of music) from the two-night event that opened San Francisco?s new Chase Center, with many Metallica fan favorites and 2 classical songs chosen by San Francisco Symphony Musical Director Michael Tilson Thomas. The DVD features the concert and behind the scenes bonus footage

Sarah Vaughan and her trio : live

New series of unreleased iconic jazz concerts from the archives of Belgium public TV, newly captured from original film material

Calypso Rose : back to Africa : a film

During a concert performance, Calypso Rose, the 70-year-old undisputed Queen of Calypso in Trinidad and Tobago, shares her extraordinary career with us. Calypso Rose is so totally immersed in her island's music that her life and the history of calypso music are inseparable. At the crossroads of different cultures, musical traditions, and generations, this granddaughter of a slave shows us her world and her burning desire as she approaches her twilight years, to reconnect with her roots that carry her Back to Africa

Country music : live at the Ryman : a concert celebrating the film by Ken Burns

"On March 27, 2019, acclaimed filmmkaer Ken Burns invited some of country music's finest artists to gather at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium to celebrate the launch of his landmark PBS series Country Music. Burns and his longtime collaborator Dayton Duncan curated an evening of selected highlights from the series combined with performances of the music's iconic songs by some of country's finest artists." --container

Holly Near : singing for our lives

Features Holly Near in live concert footage, backstage interview segments, and reading from her autobiography. New interviews with Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, and more

Foreigner : live at the Rainbow '78

Foreigner performs live at London's legendary music venue, the Rainbow Theatre

Bernstein at 100 : the centennial celebration at Tanglewood

A celebration spotlighting Bernstein's wide-ranging talents as a composer, his many gifts as a great interpreter and champion of other composers, and his role as an inspirer of a new generation of musicians and music lovers across the country and around the globe. The gala concert features a kaleidoscopic array of artists and ensembles from the worlds of classical music, film, and Broadway

The Morricone Duel : the most dangerous concert ever

The Wild West meets the soulful sounds of Italy. Fearless New York gangsters meet cowboys from the dusty prairie. Godfather meets Taxi Driver. And the magic of cinema meets the rich sound of a first-class symphony orchestra. This exclusive live concert production presents a unique selection of movie classics, from Sergio Leone's iconic Spaghetti Westerns to modern mafia masterpieces by Francis Ford Coppola and the cult movies of Tarantino. The Danish National Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Sarah Hicks and joined by a fistful of leading guest artists for this premiere performance of the authentic soundtracks

Duke Ellington and his orchestra : live at Marni Hall, Brussels, 1973

New series of unreleased iconic jazz concerts from the archives of Belgium public TV, newly captured from original film material

Odyssey : the Chamber Music Society in Greece

The land of Homer, Aristotle, Sophocles, and Plato, is commonly described as the birthplace of the Classical tradition. Celebrating this legacy, the high-spirited, world-class musicians travel to Greece, performing works that embody the essence of classical music. In iconic settings like the First Ancient Theatre of Larissa, the historic Church of Pammegiston Taxiarchon at Pelion, this remarkable ensemble performs works by Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Debussy, and Ravel

Miles Davis : Live at Montreux

It tells the story of the legendary trumpeter, bandleader, innovator and trend-setter who crossed musical genres and whose life was notable on and off stage. Directed by award-winning documentarian Stanley Nelson, features Miles' music from live performances, studio recordings, outtakes and interviews with those who knew him best

Amazing grace

A documentary presenting the live recording of Aretha Franklin's album 'Amazing grace' at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, in January 1972

Come on feel the noize : the story of how rock became metal

Exclusive, long-lost live material from rock's most iconic bands & artists, as well as all-new original interviews with the living legends themselves: This film is access-all-areas backstage pass to Heavy Metal and Hard Rock history. Delve into the rich history of Heavy Metal: from its scandalous origins in the 1960s to its heyday in the 1980s, from its glam phase in the 1970s to its indestructible present in 2017. A backstage pass into the history of how Rock became Heavy Metal

Eric Clapton . : life in 12 bars

Told through his own words, the documentary reflects on his traumatic childhood, his difficult struggle with drugs and alcohol, the loss of his son, and how he always found his inner strength and healing in music. It features extensive interviews with Clapton himself, along with his family, friends, musical collaborators, contemporaries and heroes, including late music icons B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and George Harrison

Divas live : the one and only Aretha Franklin

All star tribute recorded live at Radio City Music Hall pays tribute to one of this country's national treasures

The midnight special. . Discs 1-3

Featuring an incredible array of the greatest musicians of the '70s and early '80s. It stands alone in the history of rock n roll as the first ever late-night live concert show on TV, capturing the spirit of a time when rock was exploding in so many new, exciting directions. For nine thrilling years, The Special brought audience the very best live music from every genre, rare performances right into homes every week, complete with the intimacy of close-ups and multiple camera angles

Joe Bonamassa : live from New York : Beacon Theatre

Beyonce : live at Roseland - elements of 4 by 1981- Beyoncé

A deluxe two-disc DVD package with the complete Live at Roseland concert, bonus offstage footage, and a video anthology that includes seven videos from Beyonce's latest album, 4. The concert documentary is filled with never-before-seen footage that captures Beyonce's life from eager five-year-old music fan to a consummate entertainer who is in control of every inch of her life and career

Adele : live at the Royal Albert Hall

This DVD/CD set captures her concert from London's famous Royal Albert Hall. Along with performances of songs from her two albums, this DVD features behind-the-scenes footage

Motown gold from the Ed Sullivan show

Appearances by legendary Motown acts including Jackson 5, Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Temptations, Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Steve Wonder, Martha & The Vandellas, and Gladys Knight & The Pips. The collection is packed with classic Motown performances taped live between 1964 and 1971, fully restored with footage never before released

Celine Dion. Live in Las Vegas, a new day

Features Celine's concert filmed in the Colosseum at Caesar's Palace and three exclusive documentaries: Because You Loved Me, A Tribute to the Fans; A New Day: All Access; and A New Day: The Secrets

Barbra Streisand : the concerts

This DVD set features two live concerts performed by Barbra Streisand in 1994 and in 2006. The third bonus DVD showcases the making of Streisand's The Broadway Album

Kissology. Vol. 1, 1974-1977 : the ultimate Kiss collection by Kiss (Musical group)

Collects concert and interview footage from a variety of sources covering the early years of Kiss's career

Kissology. Vol. 2 1978-1991 : the ultimate Kiss collection

The definitive visual Kiss collection. Live concert footage & television appearances recorded between 1978 and 1991

Motown : the early years

Features live performances of the current Motown touring groups, including Martha Reeves, the Velvelettes, Joe Billingslea's Contours, the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards and the Four Tops

Rolling Thunder Revue : a Bob Dylan story

Martin Scorsese's documentary about Bob Dylan's legendary 1975 tour, which featured a band of troubadours including Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg, and Joni Mitchell, blends behind-the-scenes archival footage, interviews, and narrative mischief

Jimmy Carter : rock & roll President

If it hadn₂t been for a bottle of scotch and a late-night visit from musician Gregg Allman, Jimmy Carter might never have been elected the 39th President of the United States. This documentary charts the mostly forgotten story of how Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and others

Chuck Leavell : the tree man

Chuck Leavell is the greatest piano and keyboardist over the last 40 years. Follow him as he divides his talent between music, forests and family

Fleetwood Mac : videobiography

Drink and drugs, love affairs and divorces, hirings and firings, ever-changing line-ups, and the members of Fleetwood Mac even found time to make some great music. Despite a history scattered with scandal, Fleetwood Mac has sold over 100 million albums worldwide in their 40-year history. The controversy begins with an in-depth interview with guitarist Bob Weston, the catalyst that almost broke the band after his high-profile affair with Mick Fleetwood's wife, Jenny Boyd

Creem : America's only rock 'n' roll magazine

Capturing the messy upheaval of the '70s just as rock was re-inventing itself the documentary explores the publication's humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later

Harry Chapin : when in doubt, do something

The inspiring story of Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Harry Chapin. Chapin sold over sixteen million albums and was one of his generation's most beloved artists and activists who spent his fame and fortune trying to end world hunger before his tragic passing. The film features a myriad of other performers intimately reflecting on Chapin2s larger-than-life impact on music and the world

Gordon Lightfoot : if you could read my mind

An exploration of the career, music, and influence of legendary Canadian musical icon Gordon Lightfoot. With unprecedented access to the artist, the documentary follows Lightfoot's evolution from Christian choirboy to troubled troubadour to international star and beloved Canadian icon

Kenny Rogers

The captivating documentary chronicles the life of one of the best-selling solo artists of all time, from his childhood through the height of his career as a country music star, actor, and pop-culture icon

Austin City limits celebrates 40 years

A special birthday celebration of the public television series "Austin City Limits," featuring performances by Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Foo Fighters, and more

The Beatles : made on Merseyside

The Beatles defined music and popular culture like no other band ever will, but how did they make the journey from Merseyside teenagers to international pop stars in the '60s? The film recounts how American rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues dragged post-war Liverpool into one of the most vibrant music cities ever with the Mersey Sound. Featuring unique archive and revealing interviews from those involved in the early years of The Beatles in Liverpool and Hamburg

Crock of gold : a few rounds with Shane MacGowan

A celebration of Irish punk poet Shane MacGowan, composer and lead singer with The Pogues, combining unpublished archive footage and family footage with animation

Rolling stone : life and death of Brian Jones

Exploring the rise of Brian Jones and the Rolling Stones as well as the untimely death of Jones, Danny Garcia paints an interesting and revealing picture of a doomed pop star
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