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15 of the best music-related films and TV shows to watch on Netflix UK

The best music-related films and TV shows to watch on Netflix UK
(Image credit: Netflix)

Having already cast an eye over the best music-related films available to stream on Amazon Prime UK, our attention now turns to Netflix.

The service has produced a volley of its own music TV shows and documentaries (some of which are included in this list), as well as harvesting some absolute treats from elsewhere.

More than there being something on this list for everyone, we think every music fan will find something in each of these picks no matter their tastes.

The Defiant Ones (2017)

A four-part series that originally aired on HBO, The Defiant Ones charts the partnership between Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine and rapper and record producer Dr. Dre.

As much as being a music documentary, it's a story of entrepreneurship and how an artform helped build an empire for two pioneering individuals.

The Get Down (2016)

Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis's 11-episode drama, cut with real footage from 1970s New York, is a kind of fictionalised retelling of the beginnings of hip-hop.

Executive produced by Grandmaster Flash and narrated by Nas, you tend to feel if these guys don't get it right then there's little hope it'll ever be done.

What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

Opening the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, What Happened, Miss Simone? documents the unparalleled talent and uncontrollable personality of Nina Simone.

Released later the same year by Netflix, the film (and Liz Garbus's light touch), won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Directing.

Sample This (2012)

"When Kool Herc found Apache, he was under heavy guard," Grandmaster Flash told What Hi-Fi?. "You would never see the album cover of where it came from."

Described in the film as the most important record in hip-hop, Incredible Bongo Band's Apache has since been sampled hundreds of times by the genre's most seminal artists. Sample This is both its story and a celebration of the culture it unwittingly helped to create.

Daft Punk Unchained (2015)

A BBC Worldwide production, Unchained follows the story of electronic music duo Daft Punk, from their impact on the French house scene to expanding horizons, worldwide influence and Grammy Award recognition.

Alongside archive footage, talking heads such as Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers give their insight into one of music's most secretive acts.

Quincy (2018)

Quincy Jones is the subject of this two-hour documentary created by Netflix, celebrating his extraordinary life as trumpeter, producer, conductor, composer and arranger as well as discoverer of some of the last century's biggest artists.

It might not tread much new ground for those already well-read on the US icon – you try covering more than 80 years in 120 minutes – but it is an undeniably entertaining watch to which you'll often find yourself singing along.

Lemmy (2010)

Released in 2010, five years before the Motörhead frontman's passing, Lemmy is a fast-paced celebration of one of rock music's most entertaining characters that in many ways embodies his own relentless spirit.

Including interviews with admirers as diverse as Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Bob Thornton and wrestling superstar Triple H, the film shows a man at 65 living like someone half his age.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

Though the title of this 2019 Netflix release appears to give it all away, its combination of documentary and fiction is a refreshing take on a music legend who has been the subject of a great number of films already.

Covering Bob Dylan's 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour, Martin Scorsese's take mixes real interviews with figures such as Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg and Dylan himself, with those of actors portraying characters who were not actually involved in the tour.

20 Feet From Stardom

This Academy Award-winning documentary is the work of director Morgan Neville and producer Gil Friesen, a music industry executive hungry to learn about the lives of background singers.

Following the lives of those supporting some of the world's biggest artists, 20 Feet From Stardom stars Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder, as well as featuring archival footage from David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Ray Charles.

Chasing Trane

Perfectly capturing the creative spirit of John Coltrane on screen is an impossible task, but Chasing Trane – a film backed by his family and record companies who own the rights to his music – does so just about as well as you could hope.

Featuring Reggie Workman, Ravi Coltrane, Ashley Kahn, Sonny Rollins and Carlos Santana, alongside Denzel Washington as the voice of John Coltrane, this is a documentary that aims to show its subject as a human being as much as undeniable musical genius.

Whitney: Can I Be Me

Using archive footage from Whitney Houston's 1999 World Tour mixed with testimonies from the singer's family, friends and musical collaborators, Nick Broomfield's documentary aims deep at the troubled yet celebrated life of its subject.

Though touching upon her beginnings as a gospel singer, as well as breakthrough hits and her role in The Bodyguard, this is more a character piece than chronicling of a career.

Miss Americana

Lana Wilson's Miss Americana spends several years charting the rise of one of the world's biggest pop stars, Taylor Swift.

The kind of biographical filmmaking that usually seems reserved for stars at the tail end of their careers, Swift's story is very much one of the modern day, of a transitional period in a young woman's life as she comes to terms with her success and just what it means. Regardless of your musical taste, the story of the people behind stardom on this scale is always hugely fascinating.

I Called Him Morgan (2017)

Kasper Collin's documentary is a love letter to the stormy relationship between jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his wife Helen, who was responsible for his murder in 1972.

It's a documentary that has it all, except for the long list of awards it truly deserves.

Shot! The Psycho-spiritual Mantra of Rock (2017)

"It's an energy thing," says Mick Rock. "In the height of the moment I say 'assasin', because that's what I feel like, and I'm going to take you out."

Shot! takes the photographer's camera, responsible for some of the most iconic images in rock history, and turns it around. It's a history lesson, a capturing of a culture and insight into Rock's craft all bundled into one.

What We Started (2017)

It's happening with dance music just as it is with hip-hop – a kind of gateway into adulthood and acceptance as a serious genre, rubber-stamped 'serious documentary storytelling'.

With focus on and interviews with stars from the genre's past, present and future, What We Started does as well to juxtapose their various paths over time as it does charting the genre's rise.