There’s a new addition to the world of fictional Rock bands.
The movies gave us a great ‘60’s one-hit-wonder band, The Wonders, with That Thing You Do! Almost Famous, from the real-life story of a young journalist, Cameron Crowe, included a fictional band, Stillwater, based partially on The Allman Brothers Band. The film Eddie And The Cruisers had songs played by the real John Cafferty and The Beaver Brown Band. And, Hard Rock humor came in the form of a fake “Rockumentary” with This Is Spinal Tap.
Of course there have also been fictional Pop bands based mainly on light-weight TV shows (The Archies, The Partridge Family, etc.). That doesn’t include The Monkees, which became a real band even though the members were brought together for the show.
Now, there’s a ten-episode TV series on Amazon Prime with the fictional Rock band Daisy Jones & the Six. It does a masterful job of visually recreating Rock & Roll in the 1970’s. Oh, the original songs are not quite up to the quality of the real 70’s bands, but they’re good enough to provide the illusion we need. Plus, there are a lot of real ‘70’s hits played during the show. We even hear Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” near the end.
The series is from the 2019 bestselling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She was inspired to write the book after she saw Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham performing. The book’s featured musical couple are Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne. The two are played by Riley Keough (granddaughter of Elvis Presley) and Sam Clafin. Though neither are professional singers, they provided strong and convincing vocals. The music was produced by Blake Mills. He also wrote most of the original music with help from co-writers, including a little bit of assistance from Jackson Browne, Marcus Mumford, and Phoebe Bridgers.
We see how the band comes together, their rise with the help of Daisy and Billy’s songwriting, and all the problems with egos, drugs, drinking, and relationships within the band. The series is rated for ages 16+.
The emotional center of the show is a love triangle with the two main characters and Billy’s wife & band photographer Camila (Camila Morrone). The other pairing in the band is Billy’s brother and lead guitarist Graham (Will Harrison) and keyboardist Karen (Suki Waterhouse).
The series does such a great job of recreating the era of the mid 1970’s that you almost believe the band was on the cover of the Rolling Stone, and that you may have owned their popular album Aurora.
As you watch the series, it’s fun to pick out the touches of Fleetwood Mac (and other bands), even though this is a fictional story. In the longer concert scenes, Daisy does the twirling style of Stevie Nicks, and in the final concert she even dresses like a “white winged dove”.
Although Daisy Jones & The Six doesn’t quite reach the level of That Thing You Do! and Almost Famous, it is time well spent for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in a fantasy of ‘70’s Rock & Roll. No spoilers, but if you like the show, be assured that the finale episode is a satisfying conclusion.
Extra: Here’s the link to an article on That Thing You Do!: