The Greatest Night in Pop, Beach Boys, More Docs in 2024 Race

The Beach Boys (Disney+)

This documentary follows the group’s family beginnings as their songs epitomizing the California dream drive their rising fame. It features never-before-seen footage and interviews with resident Beach Boys erratic genius Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, David Marks and Bruce Johnston and includes input from Janelle Monáe, Lindsey Buckingham, Ryan Tedder and Don Was. The Beach Boys was directed by Frank Marshall and Thom Zimny and written by Mark Monroe.

The Greatest Night in Pop (Netflix)

On Jan. 25, 1985, a group of music icons got together to create the renowned pop song “We Are the World.” This film, directed by Bao Nguyen, features new interviews with many of the artists involved in the making of the song, including Lionel Richie, Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Dionne Warwick and Cyndi Lauper. The anthem was written by Richie and Michael Jackson for African famine relief and also features Kenny Rogers, Paul Simon, Ray Charles and Tina Turner.

In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon (Prime Video)

In this 31/2-hour documentary series directed by Oscar winner Alex Gibney (Going Clear, Citizen K), the singer, songwriter, musician and 16-time Grammy winner recounts his upbringing in Queens, the rise of the 1960s hugely successful folk duo Simon & Garfunkel and his solo career, all while making his latest album Seven Psalms, which was released in May 2023. The documentary holds a score of 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

James Brown: Say It Loud (A&E)

This four-part doc takes a look at Brown’s life and legacy with the help of interviews from the likes of Mick Jagger, Questlove, LL Cool J, Al Sharpton and Terry Lewis (minus Jimmy Jam) as well as archival and never-before-seen footage. Say It Loud was directed by Deborah Riley Draper (The Legacy of Black Wall Street and Olympic Pride, American Prejudice) and features iconic songs like “I Feel Good” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” from the musician known as the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business.

Kings From Queens: The Run DMC Story (Peacock)

This three-part docuseries tells the story of the influential hip-hop legends: Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels and Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell. Directed by Kirk Fraser (Without Bias), it delves into the origins of the group, its rise with hits including “It’s Tricky” and “Walk This Way” and the loss of Jam Master Jay, who was killed in his recording studio in 2002 (the murder remained unsolved until 2020).

Thank You, Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story (Hulu)

This four-part docuseries takes an inside look at the “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name” rockers and their charismatic frontman, New Jersey’s own Jon Bon Jovi. The project, which began filming in 2022, follows the band as it contemplates its future and legacy. Directed and executive produced by Emmy winner Gotham Chopra (Kobe Bryant’s Muse), it features 40 years of personal videos, unreleased demos and never-before-seen photos.

This story first appeared in a May standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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