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A rockumentary is a documentary about rock music or its musicians. The term was first used by Bill Drake in the 1969 History of Rock & Roll radio broadcast and is a portmanteau of "rock" and "documentary".[1][2]


Rolling Stone magazine's first use of the term "rockumentary" was in 1969 to describe the radio show The History of Rock and Roll which aimed to document the major artists of rock and roll to that date.[2] The term was subsequently used to describe concert films containing appearances by multiple artists.[3][4] In 1976, the term was used by the promoters of the live musical production Beatlemania which documented the evolving career of The Beatles.[5] The tongue-in-cheek film This Is Spinal Tap from 1984 is both a rockumentary and a mockumentary because of its intended humor.

List of "rockumentary" titles[edit]

Audio rockumentaries[edit]

Title Creators Year Narrators Writers Info
The History of Rock and Roll Bill Drake, Gene Chenault 1969 Robert W. Morgan, Humble Harve Miller Pete Johnson [1][2]
1978, 1981 Bill Drake Gary Theroux [6]
The Pop Chronicles John Gilliland 1969 John Gilliland, Sie Holliday, Thom Beck John Gilliland [7][8]

Rockumentary films[edit]

Film Artist(s) Year Director IMDB
Dont Look Back Bob Dylan 1967 D. A. Pennebaker tt0061589
Monterey Pop Various – Monterey Pop Festival 1968 D. A. Pennebaker tt0064689
Gimme Shelter Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones 1970 Albert and David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin tt0065780
Woodstock Various – Woodstock 1970 Michael Wadleigh tt0066580
Mad Dogs & Englishmen Joe CockerJoe Cocker 1971 Pierre Adidge tt0067275
Cocksucker Blues Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones 1972 Robert Frank tt0068389
The Concert for Bangladesh Various - The Concert for Bangladesh 1972 Saul Swimmer tt0158560
Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii Pink Floyd 1972 Adrian Maben tt0069090
Yessongs Yes 1973 Peter Neal tt0070940
Let the Good Times Roll Various – 1950s pop and rock scene 1973 Robert Abel, Sidney Levin tt0143367
Cracked Actor David Bowie 1974 Alan Yentob tt0377047
Blank GenerationThe Blank Generation Various – New York punk rock scene 1976 Ivan Kral tt0074216
Song Remains the SameThe Song Remains the Same Led Zeppelin 1976 Peter Clifton, Joe Massot tt0075244
Last WaltzThe Last Waltz BandThe Band final concert 1978 Martin Scorsese tt0077838
Kids Are AlrightThe Kids Are Alright WhoThe Who 1979 Jeff Stein tt0079400
Let There Be RockAC/DC: Let There Be Rock AC/DC 1979 Eric Dionysius tt0080321
Decline of Western CivilizationThe Decline of Western Civilization Various – Los Angeles punk rock scene 1981 Penelope Spheeris tt0082252
Another State of Mind Social Distortion, Youth Brigade 1984 Adam Small, Peter Stuart tt0198307
Stop Making Sense Talking Heads 1984 Jonathan Demme tt0088178
Bring on the Night Sting 1985 Michael Apted tt0088855
Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll Chuck Berry 1987 Taylor Hackford tt0092758
Decline of Western CivilizationThe Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years Various – Los Angeles heavy metal scene 1988 Penelope Spheeris tt0094980
Rattle and Hum U2 1988 Phil Joanou tt0096328
101 Depeche Mode 1989 D. A. Pennebaker tt0094590
Truth or Dare (aka In Bed with Madonna) Madonna 1991 Alek Keshishian tt0102370
1991: The Year Punk Broke Sonic Youth 1992 Dave Markey tt0103595
Funky Monks Red Hot Chili Peppers 1992 Gavin Bowden tt0275623
Band That Would Be KingThe Band That Would Be King Half Japanese 1993 Jeff Feuerzeig tt0107071
Live! Tonight! Sold Out!! Nirvana 1994 Kevin Kerslake tt0239723
Beatles AnthologyThe Beatles Anthology BeatlesThe Beatles 1995 Geoff Wonfor tt0111893
Year of the Horse Neil Young 1997 Jim Jarmusch tt0120539
Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 Isle of Wight Festival 1970 1997 Murray Lerner tt0117028
Meeting People Is Easy Radiohead 1998 Grant Gee tt0195909
Single Video Theory Pearl Jam 1998 Mark Pellington tt0216214
Man in the Sand Billy Bragg and Wilco 1999 Kim Hopkins tt0345620
Filth and the FuryThe Filth and the Fury Sex Pistols 2000 Julien Temple tt0236216
Biggie & Tupac Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur 2002 Nick Broomfield tt0303356
Goodnight Cleveland HellacoptersThe Hellacopters 2002 Jim Heneghan tt0388997
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart Wilco 2002 Sam Jones tt0327920
End of the Century RamonesThe Ramones 2003 Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia tt0368711
Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) They Might Be Giants 2003 A. J. Schnack tt0304081
Sretno dijete Various – Former-Yugoslavia punk rock scene 2003 Igor Mirkovic tt0410657
Betty Blowtorch And Her Amazing True Life Adventures Betty Blowtorch 2003 Antonia Scarpa tt0366227
Festival Express Various – 1970 Festival Express tour 2003 Bob Smeaton tt0372279
Dig! Dandy WarholsThe Dandy Warhols, The Brian Jonestown Massacre 2004 Ondi Timoner tt0388888
Kill Your Idols Various – NYC art punk scene 2004 Scott Crary tt0407926
Kiss Loves You KISS 2004 Jim Heneghan tt1102243
Let's Rock Again! Joe Strummer 2004 Dick Rude tt0415935
Some Kind of Monster Metallica 2004 Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky tt0387412
Bullet in a Bible Green Day 2005 Samuel Bayer tt0485773
I'm Going to Tell You a Secret Madonna 2005 Jonas Åkerlund tt0451180
Metal: A Headbanger's Journey Various – International heavy metal scene 2005 Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen, Jessica Joy Wise tt0478209
Stalking Pete Doherty Pete Doherty (The Libertines, Babyshambles) 2005 Max Carlish tt0805336
Divided States of America: Laibach 2004 Tour Laibach 2005 Sašo Podgoršek tt0395291
About a Son Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) 2006 A. J. Schnack tt0790769
American Hardcore Various – 1980s hardcore punk scene 2006 Paul Rachman tt0419434
Bilo jednom... Various – Novi Sad punk rock scene 2006 Jovan Đerić tt1990178
Devil and Daniel JohnstonThe Devil and Daniel Johnston Daniel Johnston 2006 Jeff Feuerzeig tt0436231
Dream of Life Patti Smith 2006 Steven Sebring tt0940620
Everyone Stares PoliceThe Police 2006 Stewart Copeland tt0492968
Fast Future Generation Good Charlotte 2006 Marvin Scott Jarrett tt1127864
Glastonbury Various – Glastonbury Festival 2006 Julien Temple tt0464022
LoudQUIETloud Pixies 2006 Steven Cantor, Matthew Galkin tt0449121
Screamers System of a Down 2006 Carla Garapedian tt0823668
Shut Up & Sing Dixie Chicks 2006 Barbara Kopple, Cecilia Peck tt0811136
Voliminal: Inside the Nine Slipknot 2006 Shawn Crahan tt0976221
Better Than Therapy PoliceThe Police Reunion Tour 2007 Jordan Copeland tt1330008
The Future is Unwritten Joe Strummer 2007 Julien Temple tt0800099
Global Metal Various – International heavy metal scene 2007 Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen tt1249171
Heavy Metal in Baghdad Acrassicauda 2007 Suroosh Alvi, Eddy Moretti tt1092007
Lord Don't Slow Me Down Oasis 2007 Baillie Walsh tt1167522
Runnin' Down A Dream Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 2007 Peter Bogdanovich tt0965382
A Cross the Universe Justice 2008 Romain Gavras tt1619014
Anvil! The Story of Anvil Anvil 2008 Sacha Gervasi tt1157605
Come Rain or Shine Genesis 2008 Anthony Mathile tt1232771
It Might Get Loud Jimmy Page, The Edge, Jack White 2008 Davis Guggenheim tt1229360
Part of the Weekend Never Dies Soulwax 2008 Saam Farahmand tt1224448
Rock n Roll Nerd Tim Minchin 2008 Rhian Skirving tt1297297
Shine a Light Rolling StonesThe Rolling Stones 2008 Martin Scorsese tt0893382
Get Thrashed Various thrash metal bands from the 1980s and 1990s 2008 Rick Ernst tt0780524
Flight 666 Iron Maiden 2009 Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen tt1361558
When You're Strange DoorsThe Doors 2009 Tom DiCillo tt1333667
When We Were Beautiful Bon Jovi 2009 Phil Griffin tt1411663
Until the Light Takes Us Various - Norwegian black metal 2009 Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell tt1014809
Beyond the Lighted Stage Rush 2010 Sam Dunn, Scot McFadyen tt1545103
Color's Notes Various – Mestival music festival 2010 Xavi Tello tt1854256
Lemmy Lemmy (Motörhead) 2010 Greg Olliver, Wes Orshoski tt1236472
Foo Fighters: Back and Forth Foo Fighters 2011 James Moll tt1853563
Talihina Sky Kings of Leon 2011 Stephen C. Mitchell tt1884431
From the Sky Down U2 2011 Davis Guggenheim tt2007385
Pearl Jam Twenty Pearl Jam 2011 Cameron Crowe tt1417592
One-Eyed Doll: A Rockumentary One-Eyed Doll 2011 David Bruce Bates, Jr. tt1600812
Better Than Something Jay Reatard 2011 Alex Hammond, Ian Markiewicz tt1800669
Living in the Material World George Harrison 2011 Martin Scorsese tt1113829
A Band Called Death Death 2012 Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett tt2064713
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me Big Star 2012 Drew DeNicola, Olivia Mori tt2290151
Filmage Descendents, All 2012 Matt Riggle, Deedle LaCour tt2417154
Marley Bob Marley 2012 Kevin MacDonald tt1183919
Shut Up and Play the Hits LCD Soundsystem 2012 Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace tt2124908
Sound City Various – Sound City Studios 2013 Dave Grohl tt2306745
History of the Eagles Eagles 2013 Alison Ellwood tt2194326
Fading West Switchfoot 2013 Matt Katsolis tt3300954
Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways Foo Fighters 2014 Dave Grohl tt3893538
Don't Think I've Forgotten: Cambodia's Lost Rock & Roll Various - Pre-Khmer Rouge music of Cambodia 2015 John Pirozzi tt2634200
We Are X X Japan 2016 Stephen Kijak tt4835086

Rock-mockumentary films[edit]

Film Director Year Writers Info
All You Need Is Cash Eric Idle, Gary Weis 1978 Eric Idle The Rutles[9]
The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle Julien Temple 1980 Julien Temple [10]
This Is Spinal Tap Rob Reiner 1984 Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner [11]
Hard Core Logo Bruce McDonald 1996 Bruce McDonald Hard Core Logo (band)[12]
Get Ready to Be Boyzvoiced Espen Eckbo, Henrik Elvestad, Mathis Fürst 2000 Espen Eckbo, Henrik Elvestad Boyzvoice[13]
Rutles 2The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch Eric Idle 2002 Eric Idle The Rutles[14]
A Mighty Wind Christopher Guest 2003 Christopher Guest, Eugene Levy The Folksmen, The New Main Street Singers, Mitch & Mickey[15]
Naked Brothers BandThe Naked Brothers Band: The Movie Polly Draper 2005 Polly Draper The Naked Brothers Band (band)[16]
Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo Les Claypool 2006 Les Claypool [17]


In the late 1980s and early 1990s, MTV aired a series called Rockumentary. Some of the artists that were featured were: AC/DC (1991), Madonna (1990), Aerosmith (1990), Def Leppard (1988 and 1992), Don Henley (1990), Michael Jackson, The Doors, Eric Clapton (1990), Genesis (1992), Heavy metal music, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Metallica (1992 and 1996), Mötley Crüe (1989), Pink Floyd (1989), Rod Stewart (1988), The Rolling Stones, The Smashing Pumpkins (1995), and Van Halen.

In 2011, Radio Television of Serbia aired 40 episode documentary about former Yugoslav rock scene entitled Rockovnik.

Other music documentary series include VH1's Classic Albums, Behind the Music, and Legends, and BBC Four's Britannia series. While their episodes are often about rock music, the inclusion of other genres means that they are not exclusively rockumentary series.

Rock-mockumentaries on TV[edit]

TV Series Network Director Year Writers Info
HaPijamot Arutz HaYeladim Robi Dwany 2003 Yoav Zaphir Episode 4, Season 1
The Naked Brothers Band Nickelodeon Polly Draper, Melanie Mayron, Rosario Roveto, Jr., Jonathan Judge, Mark Salisbury 2007–2009 Polly Draper, Magda Liolis, Michael Rubiner & Bob Mittenthal, Will McRob, Chris Viscardi [18]
Toyboize UKTV Jamie Deeks 2008–2009 Jack Brough, Jamie Deeks, Dan Johnston, Ewen Macintosh Originally a web series, later broadcast on Dave.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Reel Top 40 Radio Repository - The History of Rock and Roll Demo". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  2. ^ a b c Hopkins, Jerry (April 5, 1969). "'Rockumentary' Radio Milestone". Rolling Stone (30). p. 9. 
  3. ^ Aletti, Vince (August 31, 1972). "Our Latin Thing". Rolling Stone (116). p. 42. 
  4. ^ Landau, Jon (July 19, 1973). "'Let the Good Times Roll' indeed". Rolling Stone (139). pp. 62–63. 
  5. ^ Spires, Shari (December 26, 1980). "A 'Rockumentary' About the Beatles Comes to Sunrise". The Palm Beach Post. 
  6. ^ "Drake Chenault". Drake Chenault. Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  7. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). ""The Pop Chronicles" — University of North Texas Libraries" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 
  8. ^ "Classic DJ and Radio Scrapbook: KRLA POP CHRONICLES Program, 1969 (1 of 2)". 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  9. ^ "The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978) (TV)". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  10. ^ "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980)". Retrieved 6 October 2013. 
  11. ^ "This Is Spinal Tap (1984)". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  12. ^ "Hard Core Logo (1996)". Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  13. ^ "Get Ready to Be Boyzvoiced (2000)". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  14. ^ "The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch (2002) (TV)". 2004-01-28. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  15. ^ "A Mighty Wind (2003)". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  16. ^ "The Naked Brothers Band: The Movie (2005) (TV)". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  17. ^ "Electric Apricot (2006)". 2008-03-28. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  18. ^ ""The Naked Brothers Band" (2007)". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  19. ^ "Toyboize - Dave Sitcom". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 

External links[edit]