So this is the thread that won't die.
Thanks for starting it Mike!
I also love music documentaries, and have seen most of those mentioned here. Most of those I enjoyed.
Here are two of my favorites not mentioned by posters. Both are available on youtube.
The first is probably my favorite music documentary. It lasts just under 27 minutes. It was made by the Canadian government !!!
"Lonely Boy" is about Paul Anka, who was born and grew up in Ottawa.
Like many documentaries that set out to attractively feature the artist or group, it does that. But it also shows some very interesting sides to Anka's personality (he's under 21) and especially unveils his manager Irving Feld.
I'm sure Irving Feld has passed away now, but he's who I would wish was my manager.
He's over-the-top, really enthusiastic about Paul. He's planning for Paul's career when he's grown. Clearly he was also honest. (!!!) (That's UNUSUAL!)
I don't think it's coincidental that Anka has had a 6 decade career and is rich.
(After Ray Charles signed with ABC-Paramount, Irving Feld became his manager too. Ray Charles had a nearly 6 decade career, ended by his death, and became rich despite having serious drug habits.)
But none of that is what makes this my favorite music documentary. It's the footage devoted to the fans, almost entirely girls. I've never seen anything like it. There's an intimacy between the camera and the young women. Of course, like everyone else, I've seen thousands of video shots of fainting, screaming girls (Elvis, Beatles, etc.).
In this one you can watch these women melt, slowly. At first the guys (brothers, dates, fathers) are watching the girls. But they get sucked in too.
The cops initially (especially the older ones) are watching the audience (their job). Within a few minutes, they're too fixated on Anka.
For a brief time, they cut the PA sound and you hear only the sound in the audience. (I love that!)
Maybe the best moment: Paul gets a girl on stage and sings to her. While he's doing this, you get to see the girls in the audience, each one dying, wishing that girl was her.
For me, the fact the these girls (at least the ones still with us) are in their 70's (older than me) is mind blowing.
I try to remember this documentary when I see latest greatest teen idol berated as a lightweight. I'm continually amazed at the power of music.
(If this seems effusive, it's because I found the video on the internet and watched it again. The things I liked about it seemed even better than when I last saw it over a decade ago.)
The second documentary is about someone I'd never heard of. (I've never lived in Los Angeles.)
"The Mayor Of Sunset Strip" is about a disc jockey, Rodney Bingenheimer. A large portion of the doc is also about Kim Fowley, who I did know about. I regarded him as a talented music producer and an extreme degenerate.
The documentary addressed part of his musical "talent"; my opinion was unchanged. As to my opinion of him as an extreme degenerate, after this documentary, I feel I was much too kind. (Kim Fowley has passed away.)
This one depresses me, and makes me sad.
The number and variety of musical artists in this film is staggering. (Probably, the most I've ever seen in a documentary. I'm excluding Ken Burns multipart PBS series "Jazz", that is also one of the best I've ever seen. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!)
This documentary shows how the music business (that's BUSINESS) sucks people in, and spits them out.
-->It's NSFW<-- PLEASE NOTE THIS!
If I had a child 12 or above who wanted to be a professional musician, I would would sit down with my child and watch it. (Nowadays, I would probably be arrested for child abuse, but I would risk it.) I would want my child to know what to avoid. (You can't assume your child will end up with an Irving Feld.)
Heartbreaking but excellent.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrdqWM5X2zg
"The Mayor of The Sunset Strip"