2. The Karen Carpenter Story (1989)
Obviously the biggest heart-breaker on this list belongs to the tragic story of Karen Carpenter‘s losing battle with anorexia. Despite the sunny exterior and gorgeous melodies, the Carpenters had significantly darker private lives, with brother Richard also hiding a serious addiction to sleeping pills. Although a little overblown and Lifetime-like at points, the movie is packed with drama and powerful performances, especially from Cynthia Gibb, who completely embodied pop’s sweetest front woman. The film was extremely well received, and did much to raise awareness about the dangers of eating disorders.
1. The Jacksons: An American Dream (1992)
Produced by Motown honcho Suzanne de Passeand made with the blessing of the Jackson family, this five hour epic is like a rock ‘n’ roll Roots. Vividly retelling the Jackson family’s rise to musical super stardom in the late sixties all the way through to Michael‘s Thriller-era solo success, the star studded cast boasted Vanessa Williams, Angela Bassett and Terence Howard. Audiences went nuts for the production, which became one of the most popular miniseries of the ’90s (and there were a LOT of those around at the time), and earned an Emmy. To this day, it’s considered the gold standard by which made-for-TV music biopics are judged.
Two Of Us (2000)
Not technically a biopic, this gentle stage play-like film offers a fictional account of a real life meeting between John Lennon (played by Mad Men‘s Jared Harris) and Paul McCartney at Lennon’s New York City apartment in 1976, six years after the Beatles’ acrimonious breakup. Expertly written with warmth and accuracy, it shows the conflicted inner workings of the 20th century’s greatest artistic partnership, and teases us with a tantalizingly close musical reunion.