The HBO premiere of Beyoncé’s Life Is But A Dream documentary hits the air for the first time tonight, and lord knows Bey stans and haters alike have been biting their nails in anticipation. But before you all launch into either jocking or too harshly critiquing the Queen’s new film, there are some other fantastic documentaries out there you may want to, as an alleged music fan, add to your Netflix queue. ALLOW IT.
1. Michael Jackson’s Bad 25 (2012)
Back in November, we gave you 25 Reasons Why You Should Be Watching Bad 25 when it aired on Thanksgiving, and we stand by that list. Getting the inside track on the making of The King’s seventh album from the lens of Spike Lee? Not to be missed.
2. The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter (1970)
Documenting the band’s American tour in 1969, Gimme Shelter takes a darker turn when it presents footage from the violent Altamont Speedway concert where a member of the audience was stabbed and killed by hired Hell’s Angels security.
3. Bob Marley’s Marley (2012)
Rarely-seen performance footage and archival photos are sprinkled in this doc as it tells the birth-to-death story of the reggae legend. From his ambitious ska days in Jamaica to his international stardom, the peace activist’s path is revealed, and so are his secrets.
4. Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (2011)
Capturing a controversial rift in the group’s relationship, this Michael Rappaport-directed doc also provides a rich background for how Q-Tip, Phife, Ali Shaheed, and Jarobi initially joined forces and revolutionized hip hop in the early 90s.
5. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011)
The origin story of YouTube’s golden boy takes a timeout from all the hair and screaming girls to show a true musical talent’s rise from busking on the streets of Ontario to headlining Madison Square Garden–all before puberty has set in.
6. NY77: The Coolest Year In Hell (2007)
Capturing a unique moment in New York City history, NY77 delves into the creative renaissance that – birthing punk and hip hop – emerged from a crime-ridden, poverty-stricken city that, in the late 70s, was on the brink of decay.
7. Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation (2011)
This twice Emmy-nominated VH1 Rock Doc sheds a tremendous amount of light on the interrelationship between crack cocaine and popular culture, and features first-hand commentary by RZA, Raekwon, Snoop Dogg, and the film’s narrator, Ice T.
8. Foo Fighters: Back and Forth (2011)
In addition to chronicling the group’s rise to Grammy-winning, multi-platinum fame, frontman Dave Gohl and guitarist Pat Smear also discuss the before and after of their transition from Nirvana to the Foos.
9. Paul Simon’s Under African Skies (2012)
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of his landmark album, Graceland, this PBS documentary follows the singer-songwriter through his creative journey to South African during controversial cultural boycotts on apartheid.
10. Jay-Z’s Fade To Black (2004)
How could we forget the movie about Bey’s husband’s almost-retirement? In it, the MC and entrepreneur allows cameras to follow him as he works on his then-final album and headlined a farewell concert at Madison Square Garden.