Top 10 Pop Music Documentaries You Need to Watch
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Top 10 Pop Music Documentaries You Need to Watch

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Spencer sher
Is there anything better than a solid music doc? Not these amazing pop music documentaries, that's for sure! For this list, we'll only be looking at documentaries that revolve around pop music acts, from “Whitney: Can I Be Me”, to “Madonna: Truth or Dare”. So rap, rock, country and the like will simply have to wait their turn - unless, of course, the band has permeated pop culture so significantly that its music can also be considered 'pop', like “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years”! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Greatest Pop Music Documentaries!
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Top 10 Greatest Pop Music Documentaries


Is there anything better than a solid music doc? Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Pop Music Documentaries.



For this list, we’ll only be looking at documentaries that revolve around pop music acts. So rap, rock, country and the like will simply have to wait their turn - unless, of course, the band has permeated pop culture so significantly that its music can also be considered ‘pop!’




#10: “Whitney: Can I Be Me” (2017)


A once-in-a-generation talent with a substance abuse problem that ultimately led to her demise, Whitney Houston was a pop star like no other. Thus, the documentary tasked with summing up her life is in turn equally intriguing. Directed by one of the world’s most celebrated documentarians in Nick Broomfield, “Whitney: Can I Be Me” is a telling and deeply personal look into the life of a woman who was both abundantly talented and tragically flawed. The film does a fantastic job of digging into what made Whitney such a polarizing figure while simultaneously providing a glimpse into the harsh realities of music superstardom.




#9: “Katy Perry: Part of Me” (2012)


As the title suggests, this documentary is an autobiography of sorts, focusing on the rise of pop star Katy Perry and more specifically her 2011-12 California Dreams Tour. The 3D film is loaded with awesome cameos from some of Perry’s A-list friends and even features interviews with the Grammy nominee as well as many of her closest confidants. Equal parts biopic and concert film, “Katy Perry: Part of Me” is the preeminent Katy Perry documentary that any and all super fans would be foolish not to see!




#8: “Chasing Happiness” (2019)


Released in conjunction with and just a few days before their 5th studio album, this documentary focuses on Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas as they reunite to make “Happiness Begins.” While it delves into the Jonas Brothers’ early days, the Amazon Prime film is a candid, behind-the-scenes look at the their artistic and personal journeys, including their attempts at distinguishing themselves from the trio that gave them fame, as well as their sibling rivalries. Produced by their management company, “Chasing Happiness” follows the pop rockers as they do just that - and with their first record in a decade topping the Billboard 200 and becoming 2019’s biggest debut, there’s no question that it’s certainly helping to keep them happy for some time thereafter.




#7: “Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids” (2016)


At this point in his career, JT has made it pretty clear that he can do it all; and that now includes a high energy concert documentary that will make you feel like you’re on stage with the magnetic pop star himself! Directed by the late great Academy Award winner Jonathan Demme, “Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids” is a marvel to behold. Filmed during the final nights of Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience World Tour”, the documentary is an in-your-face look at what it feels like to perform for thousands of screaming fans! Oh and the best part? It’s on Netflix!






#6: “Gaga: Five Foot Two” (2017)


Of all the pop stars in the music industry today, Lady Gaga should easily provide the best fodder for a behind-the-scenes documentary. And after watching “Gaga: Five Foot Two,” our assumptions were proven right. The film is a no-frills look into Gaga’s life as she prepares to take on one of her biggest challenges to that point: headlining the Super Bowl LI halftime show - as well as the making of her 5th record, Joanne. Viewers are given an all-access pass into the mind of one of music’s biggest stars as she attempts to balance her ever-expanding career with an intense physical ailment. You don’t need to be a Lady Gaga fan to enjoy this awesome doc!





#5: “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” (2009)


MJ's death in 2009 came just weeks before he was set to begin a concert residency in London titled “This Is It”. In response to his untimely demise, a documentary was released that gave fans the opportunity to see exactly how Jackson had been preparing for the ill-fated concert series. The film is an incredible behind-the-scenes look at the pop star’s rehearsal process and getting to watch him in his element is truly an unbelievable experience. While MJ’s life wasn’t free from controversy, this movie gave the world one last chance to say goodbye to the one and only King of Pop and was a glowing success.



#4: “Homecoming” (2019)


2013’s “Life Is But a Dream”, which Beyoncé co-directed, produced and narrated, was such a rare glimpse into the life of one of music’s most private stars that it led many to herald it as a big step forward in her career. But Queen Bey outdid herself 6 years later. Though “Homecoming” was teased in early April 2019, fans didn’t have to wait long for the "intimate, in-depth look” at her 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival performance. Once again directed and produced by Beyonce - as well as written by her - the doc hit Netflix on the 17th of that month and was accompanied by “Homecoming: The Live Album,” both of which have earned massive critical acclaim.






#3: “Madonna: Truth or Dare” (1991)


The oldest documentary to make our list, “Madonna: Truth or Dare” is an in-depth look into the life of the world-renowned pop star at the height of her career. The film, which is also narrated by Madonna, focuses on her highly successful 1990 Blond Ambition World Tour. When it was first released, it was met with widespread critical and commercial acclaim - and up until 2002, it was the highest grossing documentary of all time; a fact that is pretty impressive when you think about it! You’re not a true fan of the genre unless you’ve seen this!





#2: “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” (2016)


This is the ultimate doc for Beatles super fans of all ages. Directed by none other than Ron Howard, the film combines archival footage with interviews with surviving members Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney in order to examine an oft-forgotten portion of the group's incredible 10 year run – their time and life on the road. The band’s time as a touring act was short lived for a number of reasons, all of which are explained in this critically acclaimed documentary that any and all fans need to see considering the Fab Four’s impact on pop culture… that is, if they haven’t already!






Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:


“Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated” (2017)







“Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” (2011)









“One Direction: This Is Us” (2013)









“Britney: For the Record” (2008)







“Travis Scott: Look Mom I Can Fly” (2019)






#1: “Amy” (2015)


Asking a filmmaker to capture the essence of an artist like Amy Winehouse is a pretty tall order. And yet, director Asif Kapadia makes it work. His film, simply and appropriately titled “Amy”, was a poignant examination into the turbulent life of the star. The documentary is made up of archival footage taken before and after Winehouse became famous, footage that serves as a window into the artist’s talented yet troubled mind. The doc ultimately took home the Best Documentary Feature Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards - not to mention a slew of other accolades.






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