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Self-isolating for coronavirus? Here are 10 music documentaries to stream right now

From Taylor Swift to the Jonas Brothers, R. Kelly to Rush, here are some ways to rock out from your couch.
"Taylor Swift: Miss Americana" is streaming on Netflix. [Sundance Institute via AP]
Updated Mar 16

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As the coronavirus pandemic updended daily life in Tampa Bay, concerts were among the many events caught in the crossfire.

Scores of Tampa Bay concerts have been or will be canceled or postponed, from concerts next week by Jill Scott and Josh Groban to upcoming performances by Kenny Chesney, Cher and Frankie Valli.

Plenty of live music is still happening, largely in smaller or midsize clubs, but also in some theaters. Still, if you’re self-isolating out of precaution, or you just miss live music, this is a great time to sit on your couch and catch up on some streaming music documentaries.

Here are 10 worth your time on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Taylor Swift: Miss Americana (Netflix): It’s about as intimate a look inside the life of the world’s biggest pop star as you’re likely to find. You may not leave feeling like you know the real Taylor Swift, but you’ll learn a bit about her bubble and be awed by her prodigious songwriting talent. Bonus: There’s a pretty crucial scene set in Tampa.

Chasing Happiness (Amazon): For an equally intimate yet ultimately more revealing look at a different set of pop stars, the Jonas Brothers, this film chronicling their rise, breakup and reunion is pretty engrossing.

Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams (Amazon): Imagine having access to one of the world’s biggest bands literally since the day they met. Filmmaker Mat Whitecross, a friend of the band, was there for every step of the rise of the blokes in Coldplay. It loses steam once they become one of the world’s biggest bands, and thus a little more guarded, but the early footage is fascinating.

Satan and Adam (Netflix): Sterling “Mr. Satan” McGee, who lives in Gulfport, and Adam Gussow formed an unlikely blues duo who went from busking to touring the country and appearing in the U2 film Rattle and Hum. This is their story.

Surviving R. Kelly (Netflix/Amazon Prime): If you love music and true crime docs, Season 1 of this docuseries investigating the career of R. Kelly and his alleged victims is available for free on Netflix. Season 2 is available to purchase on Amazon Prime.

Lil Peep: Everybody’s Everything (Netflix): An intimate look at the rising emo rapper who, like an unsettlingly large number of his peers, died before his time.

Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (Netflix): Raise your sticks and salute the late Neil Peart, perhaps the greatest rock drummer ever, by revisiting the band’s influence through this 2010 film.

Long Time Running (Netflix): Canadian fans will already have seen it, but this doc profiles north-of-the-border superstars the Tragically Hip on a 2016 tour that followed frontman Gord Downie’s brain cancer diagnosis. Downie died in 2017.

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (Netflix): Coachella 2020 was pushed to October. Might as well relive one of the festival’s greatest performances ever, Beyoncé’s legendary, drumline-assisted 2018 set.

Jazz (Amazon Prime): If you think you’ll be in self-isolation for 14 days or more, this might be the time you take the plunge on Ken Burns’ sprawling 2001 series about jazz music in America. (His epic 2019 documentary about country music is also available on Amazon Prime, but it’s not free.)

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