In a year where the pro audio industry went big time on film (ie: Dave Grohl's HBO-based Sonic Highways), music documentaries pushed beyond the base level of a sob-story biopic. The filmmakers behind incredible documentaries like 20 Feet From Stardom, Muscle Shoals and more, have artfully illustrated the ways that recording studios have impacted the music industry.
Seeing as though the holidays are often a time when life slows down and we can actually enjoy a movie or two, the final week of 2014 is the perfect for catching up on some much-required watching. Check out our list of studio and music documentaries below and learn how some influential makers and gear have changed the world.
While Muscle Shoals became famous for the work of Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan, FAME Studios founder Rick Hall was the man who set a movement in motion. The studio owner brought together the best black and white musicians in Alabama, dubbed "The Swampers," and created a sound that would be mimicked for generations to come.
Twenty Feet From Stardom
The story of Darlene Love, the often-overlooked singer behind classics like "He's A Rebel" and "Be My Baby," has been known by producers and engineers around the world for years. It's a simple tale... Session singers never get the credit they deserve. Yet, Twenty Feet From Stardom gives a new voice to these incredible singers like Love who have made other artists sound better for decades.
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
In a week that saw that the deaths of both Ardent Studios founder/owner John Fry and producer/engineer John Hampton, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me has once again became essential watching for music lovers everywhere. Following the story of the Memphis band that never made it, the film not only offers up the Big Star legend, but goes in-depth with what makes Ardent one of the most special studios in the world.
Focusrite: The Story Of The Focusrite Studio Console
Released earlier this year, The Story Of The Focusrite Studio Console keys in on one of the most exclusive consoles ever made. Limited to only 10 units, the Focusrite Studio Consoles were built for spaces like Electric Lady, but have since been spread around the world. The filmmakers behind this documentary track down each of the desks and explore how they are used today.
While many have heaped praise and criticism on Dave Grohl's pet project, the HBO series has put a magnifying glass to the wonderful world of working in a recording studio. Giving non-industry viewers a look into what it takes to make a record (and by analog means no less), the Foos have helped open up a new generation to the classic recording and mixing process that we all know and love.