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Top 10 Music Documentaries: Bob Dylan, Madonna, Radiohead, more

By and Simon Reynolds
'Marley' film poster
We called Kevin Macdonald's Bob Marley documentary Marley one of the greatest ever music movies, so its official release this week makes it as good a time as any to look at the competition.

There's David Byrne's giant suit and Bob Dylan's oversize shades. Two films from Martin Scorsese but just one from Julien Temple. Punk rockers and pop superstars. We count down our top ten music documentaries below.

10. The Filth and The Fury (2000)
Julien Temple's first Sex Pistols film The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle was Malcolm McLaren's make-it-up-as-you-go-along take on things. Twenty years on the same director gave the group the right to reply, including Sid Vicious with some beyond-the-grave archive footage.



9. In Bed with Madonna (1991)
Known as Madonna: Truth or Dare in the US, this absurdly naughty chronicle of the Queen of Pop's infamous 'Blond Ambition' tour is arguably her greatest on-screen moment. Bitchiness, bottle-fellating and brilliant live versions of Madonna's best songs.



8. George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011)
Martin Scorsese's documentary tracked the life of the late musician from humble beginnings in Liverpool to his spiritual enlightenment in India and beyond. Everyone from Yoko Ono to Terry Gilliam contributed to this mammoth 3-and-a-half-hour film about the quiet Beatle.



7. Some Kind of Monster (2004)
Metallica gave Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky almost unheard-of access to the group as they struggled to make 2003's St. Anger. Arguments, exits, "performance coaches" and Lars Ulrich's dad make the movie essential viewing, whether or not you're a fan.



6. Anvil! The Story of Anvil (2008)
A film about never letting go of ambition, Sacha Gervasi's doc followed Canadian heavy metallers Anvil - one-time rock festival headliners with Bon Jovi and Whitesnake - as they set about recording album number 13 in their turbulent career.



5. Meeting People is Easy (1998)
Before they were reborn as electronic-lovin' post-rockers, Grant Gee's doc found Radiohead teetering on the edge as they rode the success of OK Computer. Also features Kay Burley dismissing 'No Surprises' as "music to cut your wrists to" and tantalising embryonic snippets of 'I Will', 'Life In A Glasshouse' and 'How To Disappear Completely', among others.



4. The Last Waltz (1978)
The late Levon Helm's group The Band had Martin Scorsese shoot their farewell concert (the group would later reform without Robbie Robertson) with seven cameras trained inside San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom. Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell were among the star guest performers.



3. Don't Look Back (1967)
This DA Pennebaker doc covered Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of the UK and the break-up of his relationship with folk singer Joan Baez. Dylan's '60s transformation was also documented by Martin Scorsese in his acclaimed film No Direction Home.



2. Stop Making Sense (1984)
Jonathan Demme pulled back the curtain for Talking Heads' Hollywood Pantages Theater shows as David Byrne's band promoted their fifth album Speaking in Tongues. Byrne's oversized jackets and lampshade boogieing linger long in the memory.



1. Dig! (2004)
The Brian Jonestown Massacre felt aggrieved by the final cut of Ondi Timoner's tale of their friendship/rivalry with The Dandy Warhols, but in truth they came across as the real winners in this happening, hilarious and occasionally heartbreaking tale of rock 'n' roll excess and self-sabotage.



What is your favourite music documentary? Let us know in the space below.

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