When there’s an undeniable chemistry between two artists, it ignites the creative spark for a rock band, bringing their music, and their success, to another level. In the new Amazon Prime series Daisy Jones & The Six, a talented songstress named Daisy Jones, who’s something of a cross between Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell, and Linda Ronstadt, teams up with the group The Six, led by Billy Dunne, a rocker who’s clearly influenced by Lindsey Buckingham, with a dash of Jackson Browne tossed into the mix. When the two singers meld their voices, something magical happens. While this powerful union brings the group fame and fortune, the self-destructive tendencies of both lead singers spell trouble for them, and the band itself.
Based on Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling novel, Daisy Jones & The Six relates the story of the group through interviews being conducted with band members for a documentary covering the history of their rise and fall. The origin story of Billy Dunne’s band The Six is told in parallel with Daisy’s struggles as a young woman trying to succeed in the male-dominated rock music world of the 1960s and 1970s. When Teddy Price, a Quincy Jones-like producer, puts Billy and Daisy together in the studio to work on a song, there’s an electricity between them that can’t be denied. Daisy joins the group, and the newly christened Daisy Jones & The Six finds great success, though both Billy and Daisy have personal demons to contend with offstage. The obvious template for the fictional Daisy Jones & The Six is Fleetwood Mac, and the tempestuous relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, who made terrific music with that group while having an on-again, off-again romance. Author Reid is an avowed fan of the band, and while Daisy and Billy’s creative and personal pairing is loosely based on Nicks and Buckingham, the novel and series also go off in their own directions, telling an entertaining and atmospheric tale of sex, drugs and rock and roll, primarily set in the West Coast rock music scene of the 1970s. Real-life locations like Laurel Canyon, The Troubadour, Sound City Studios, and The Whisky a Go Go are featured in the show, which adds to the authentic feel of the story, as does the use of classic music from artists like The Beach Boys, Carole King, and Roxy Music.
The performances are excellent. Sam Claflin does a great job as Billy Dunne, bringing real shading and nuance to his role. Riley Keogh (Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) fully inhabits the character of Daisy Jones. When she’s on screen, she’s mesmerizing, and you can’t take your eyes off her. The strong supporting cast includes Tom Wright as producer Teddy Reid, Suki Waterhouse as keyboard player Karen Sirko, and Camila Morrone as Billy’s wife, the real heart of the band. Claflin and Keogh do their own singing, and both do a fine job. While Reid’s novel featured lyrics for the group’s music, the original songs for the series were penned by singer-songwriter Blake Mills, along with a number of collaborators, including James Valentine, Marcus Mumford, and Chris Weisman. The powerful “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb)” and the Fleetwood Mac-esque “Let Me Down Easy” are among the Daisy Jones & The Six tunes featured on the soundtrack.
The series, now streaming on Amazon Prime, features enthralling characters, cool songs, and colorful real-life backdrops, offering a knowing look at the music world of the 1970s. The talented behind-the-scenes crew includes directors James Ponsoldt and Nzingha Stewart, writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, who developed the show, as well as Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, who served as a consultant on the series. Daisy Jones & The Six is an enjoyable, full-bodied tale of a 1970s band’s rise and inevitable downward spiral, which never loses sight of the fact that it’s an artist’s love of creating amazing music that keeps the spirit of rock and roll alive.
-Photo: “Daisy Jones and the Six” (Fair Use image)
PS — While we’re on the topic of Rock History, you might enjoy our YouTube series of daily one-minute nuggets of memorable moments…