You may think a music documentary’s sole purpose is to report a timeline of a specific artist or genre- or even an instrument at times- but there’s much more to it than that. Rockumentaries in specific have become to serve as official references for fans to track down their favourite musicians’ history, facts, philosophies and path into success. Rock Era decided to compile this list of best Rockumentaries that will make you never look at music the same again.

1. A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica

Couldn’t think of a better film to parade Metallica’s journey of success! Director Adam Dubin provides material covering the band during the process of its bestseller The Black Album recording. What distinguishes this one from all the other documentaries about Metallica is that it sets a whole new perspective on roles of different entrants in the music field- the producer, for instance, isn’t a walking sack of money, he can be the technical director as well.
Now imagine a walking sack of money!

2. Gimme Shelter
How well do you know The Rolling Stone? Are you familiar with the Altamont Free Concert? Gimme Shelter offers never-before-seen footage of the catastrophe that neither Rock music nor the hippie culture has recovered from until now and in which martyr of sex drugs rock n’ roll Meredith Hunter lost his life.
So on a Rolling Stone scale, you ain’t rock ‘n roll enough until you’ve been stabbed to death in a free concert.


3. Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey
Sam Dunn roams the world in attempt to unveil different views on the heavy music from various destinations. Despite its humble production, the film is regarded as one of the most informative, most entertaining music documentaries out there. I mean, check the list of artists Dunn interviews… Woah!

4. No Direction Home

Not a One Direction film, you silly. As the subject of Folk legend Bob Dylan’s music and life has always brought a great controversy, director Martin Scorse in his film covers only a segment of Dylan’s life 1961:66 and the sudden transmission from Folk to Rock music, using some rare footage from The Bob Dylan Archives.

5. BBC Arena Heavy Metal

Produced by one of the largest production houses in the world and presented by Nigel Planner. What more could we ask for? This classic documentary TV episode uncovers the history of Heavy Metal from 1981, casting acts such as Metallica, Naplam Death, KISS, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and many more. Classic, huh?

6. The Last Waltz

Another grand Scorse film that puts together parts of The Band’s The Last Waltz show featuring some of the greatest Rock & Roll musicians known to-date including Neil Young, Muddy Walter, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Ronald David, Ronnie Hawkins and Joni Mitchell. Highly recommended for those who tend to curl up inside their own bubble of comfort and mourn over what once has been- musically speaking of course.

7. Anvil

The music industry had proven to be quite challenging for the Canadian Heavy Metal group Anvil, the poor thing had to make a documentary out of its not-so-lengthy career to make a career out of it.
This doc displays not only the history of the band after their first album release in 1981 that established them as pioneers of Speed/Power/Heavy music, but also the mare’s-nest of living the Rock & Roll dream. Notably, in result of this film, Anvil regained their popularity and pulled a few successful live shows afterwards.
Let’s heave a sigh of relief.

8. Led Zeppelin: Origin of Species
Everything you need to know about Led Zeppelin in one film. Director of this documentary traces the roots of each and every Led Zeppelin member at a snail’s pace and in full detail. Way too much detail. We’re surprised it doesn’t mention the size of their underwears.


9. The Story of Metal

A four-part film that discusses different eras of Metal music, focusing on the most influential bands in that genre like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Slayer. We’d recommend it for beginners, and intermediates… and experts… oh, and everyone else for that matter.


10. It Might Get Loud:
Ever wondered how famous musicians feel about their own guitars? It Might Get Loud tells the stories, relationships and point of views of The Edge, Jack White and Jimmy Page on their guitars. You might be surprised at how intimate it could get.

Nada K Ahmed and Mena Monk

Cover design by: Shereen G