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dBs Recommends: 5 fascinating music documentaries from 2021

Grab your popcorn, pour yourself a drink and relax with some of last year's best music documentaries as chosen by the dBs Community.  


Whether it's seeing the inner workings of your favourite artist's creative process, or being a fly on the wall for a some of music's most iconic moments; music docs just can't be beat and 2021 was an excellent year for them.

With so many to choose from, we put the question to our community and asked for their favourite docs to add to our watchlist.

1. Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Recommended by Will Steele, Admissions Adviser at dBs

1. Summer of Soul - dBs Recommends - 5 fascinating music documentaries from 2021


"My greatest recommendation would be Summer of Soul (...or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised). Celebrating a criminally undersung event, Summer of Soul showcases the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969. Whilst Woodstock often dominates this chapter of musical history, the Harlem Cultural Festival featured equal talent in vibrant performances from Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and The Staples Singers, and so many more. Not only is it worth your time to hear the phenomenal music, but to rejoice in this jubilant celebration of black artists by black artists!"

Summer of Soul is available to watch on Disney+

2. Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson
Recommended by Louis Marcell, third year student on Music Composition for Film & TV

2. Watch the Sound with Mark Ronson - dBs Recommends - 5 fascinating music documentaries from 2021

"In this 6-part documentary, Ronson speaks in detail about the influences acting on modern music production. Each episode focuses on a different technique or instrument, and how his relationship with those things has gone from dislike/ambivalence to being a key part of his sonic signature. Across the series he speaks with Paul McCartney, Kevin Parker (Tame Impala), Santigold, Gary Newman and Sean Ono Lennon, to name a few. There's a really moving scene where Sean and Mark put John Lennon's track 'Hold' through the Harmony Engine."

Watch the Sound is available to watch on AppleTV

3. The Beatles: Get Back
Recommended by Fiona Riches, module leader on Live Sound and Stu Welsh, programme leader on Music Production & Sound Engineering

3. The Beatles Get Back - dBs Recommends - 5 fascinating music documentaries from 2021

Fiona: "Get Back x1000! Absolute life-changer - I don’t think I’ll ever fully comprehend how lucky we are to have this footage. It’s truly wonderful." 

Stu: "The Beatles: Get Back gave a unique insight into the songwriting and recording processes of Let It Be. It was fascinating watching the dynamic of the band, the songwriting approaches, and hearing early versions of songs that would go on to become solo songs, for example, Harrison (All Things Must Pass) and Lennon (Jealous Guy)


"Watching both (road manager) Mal Evans and (recording Engineer) Glyn John's work was incredible to see too, showing how instrumental they both were to the songwriting and recording process. I always thought Lennon was my favourite Beatle, turns out it's Billy Preston!"

The Beatles: Get Back is available to watch on Disney+

4. The Sparks Brothers
Recommended by Chris Mackin, marketing officer at dBs

4. The Sparks Brothers - dBs Recommends - 5 fascinating music documentaries from 2021

"My knowledge of Sparks before this film extended to their track 'This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us' and that was it. Edgar Wright's doc about the enigmatic Mael brothers is exhaustive, and while I didn't come away with a hunger to listen to Sparks' back catalogue, I fell in love with the Ron and Russell's personalities and their undying creativity. I can't recommend it enough." 

The Sparks Brothers is available to rent/buy on YouTube

5. Tina
Suggested by Linda Engelova, student on FdA Sound & Music Technology

5. Tina - dBs Recommends - 5 fascinating music documentaries from 2021

"I think ‘Tina’ resonated the most for. The story was powerful and inspirational and I had no idea the amount of great music she made after Ike and before the stadium rock version of her. What a great example of strong will and undeniable talent in music and dancing!"

Tina is available to rent/buy on Amazon Prime


Looking for more inspiration from the world of music? Check out these 7 inspiring music podcasts that deserve your time.

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