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Documentaries that uncover the truth of the music world

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Documentaries that uncover the truth of the music world

HYPE! – As Grunge music blew out the competition between different musical genres in the early 90’s, HYPE! details the origins and rise of that era. This documentary charts the rise of grunge and its profound impact on the Seattle music scene. In the mid-'80s this documentary took heavy metal, punk and old-time rock 'n' roll and mixed them into a sound that was groovier and funnier than a lot of the music on the national scene. Bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Nirvana are seen performing, but there's also early video footage of obscure club bands, including one where a drummer falls onto a guitarist and the band keeps playing.

Metal, A Headbanger's Journey – An anthropologist’s investigation about the origins of Metal. Sam Dunn is a 30-year-old anthropologist. He's also a lifelong metal fan. After years of studying diverse cultures, Sam turns his academic eye a little closer to home and embarks on an epic journey into the heart of heavy metal. His mission: to figure out why metal music is consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned, even while the tribe that loves it stubbornly holds its ground -- spreading the word, keeping the faith and adopting styles and attitudes that go way beyond the music.

The Door: When You’re Strange – The primary focus being on Jim Morrison, this documentary explores his life and journey to fame and glory along with his band, the Doors. A weirdly gripping documentary, it is composed entirely of archival footage of the band in the studio, on stage, and most rivetingly of all backstage, overlaid with a narrative voiceover by Johnny Depp. Director Tom DiCillo is relatively incurious about the bands' mundane professional and romantic lives, perhaps for fear of importing an injurious Spinal Tap irony. But his film material of Jim Morrison is sensational – particularly a quite extraordinary sequence in which Morrison is mingling with fans out front, at an open-air concert in which the Doors are opening for the Who.

Cracked Actor – Cracked Actor is a 53-minute-long BBC television documentary/film about the rock star David Bowie. It was filmed in 1974. At the time he was a cocaine addict and the documentary has become notorious for showing Bowie's fragile mental state during this period. It was made by Alan Yentob for the BBC's Omnibus documentary strand, and was first shown, on BBC2 in the United Kingdom, on 26 January 1975.

Imagine – When John Lennon was killed on Dec. 8, 1980, he left behind some 200 hours of film and video footage, most of it never publicly seen, a lot of it in the category of home movies. The people who made "Imagine: John Lennon" had access to all of it, and so this is not a return visit to the familiar Beatles footage we've seen before in documentaries like "The Beatles Story." Although "Imagine" begins in Lennon's childhood and of course includes the Beatles period, the emphasis is on the years after the Beatles broke up and he merged with Yoko Ono.

About A Son – Documentary filmmaker A.J. Schnack created this impressionistic tribute to Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 27, during the height of his fame. His source material comes from hours of recorded interviews with Cobain that music journalist Michael Azerrad conducted for his 1993 book "Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana," which Schnack combines with wordless visuals exploring the three cities Cobain called home: Aberdeen, Olympia and Seattle, Washington.

And obviously, there are many more in the line.