It’s a credit to how vividly Taylor Jenkins Reid realised the world of Daisy Jones and The Six that some fans of the book, and now TV series, think it’s a true story.
Daisy Jones and The Six charts the rise and sudden fall of a 1970s rock band through interviews with key members, giving the book a documentary feel. The show, set to be released on Amazon and starring Riley Keough as Daisy Jones and Sam Claflin as The Six frontman Billy Dunne, follows the same format, giving viewers the feeling it could be a classic VH1 Behind the Music feature.
But both the book and the band are completely fictional.
What is Daisy Jones and The Six based on?
The easiest comparison to make it to Fleetwood Mac, and in particular the relationship and breakdown between singer-songwriters Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. By the time they recorded their era-defining album Rumours (it’s still the 12th highest selling album of all time), they had broken up, with many of the lyrics written as not-so-subtle jabs at one another.
“Obviously Fleetwood Mac is an influence, but for me a really huge influence — maybe even more so than Fleetwood Mac at times — was Bruce Springsteen,” Reid told marie claire Australia.
“I read everything about him, including his memoir. I listened to all of his albums, I’ve really tried to understand his psychology.”
Other influences Reid lists (in rapid fire) include Tom Petty, Joni Mitchelle, Carole King, Linda Rondstadt, and the folk supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash, made up of singer-songwriters David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, as well as the entire Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1960s.
“There’s so much great music and these incredible, iconic figures during this period of time, that it was a question of, okay Taylor, you’ve researched enough, you can go write the book, as opposed to not knowing where to find inspiration,” Reid continued. “I still feel so inspired by this time.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is known for her best-selling books exploring different stories woven through LA’s rich and famous, particulary the #BookTok favourite The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Malibu Rising, and last year’s release, Carrie Soto Is Back. Each of her most famous books appear to be set in what you might call the Taylor Jenkins Reid universe, where the characters and events from one book are referenced in the others. In Daisy Jones and The Six, the music of Mick Riva (a much larger character in Malibu Rising) is mentioned, while in Malibu Rising, The Six drummer Warren attends a famous party at the Riva household.
It’s clear that Reid is fascinated by the stories we aren’t being told by Hollywood, but in the case of Daisy Jones and The Six, it was a particular fascination with singer-songwriters that led her down a path of penning the ultimate 70s rock novel.
“Confessional songwriting is perhaps one of the most intriguing types of song to me,” she said. “I’m always listening, and going, ‘What does that mean? What can I interpret from that? Or is she referencing this?’ And I thought, I want to do that. But what I want to do is allow an opportunity to explore what would happen when you put so much of your real honest life into your art, and then you feel like you can’t get it back. And then you’re trapped by this truth that you’ve told to so many people, you’re stuck living in it. I really wanted to put Billy and Daisy in that scenario.”
How did the Daisy Jones and The Six music become a reality?
In the book, Billy and Daisy write a best-selling album, Aurora, which carries the band — including guitarist Graham Dunne (Will Harrison), rhythm guitarist Eddie (Josh Whitehouse), drummer Warren (Sebastian Chacon), and keyboardist Karen (Suki Waterhouse) — on a life-changing world tour. In a meta twist, Aurora has become a reality, with the music not only featuring heavily in the show but being released as an actual album.
“We are not songwriters at all,” co-creator Scott Neustadter told marie claire Australia. “So we had to find someone who was going to do that in the best way. We did a search for people who would be interested and explained the situation, that they’d have to write songs in a character that would serve a narrative function. I mean, it was really like writing a musical.”
That person ended up being producer Blake Mills, who tapped the talents of friends and music heavyweights Phoebe Bridgers, Madison Cunningham, Marcus Mumford and Jackson Browne to write Aurora.
“Together, they would either sbumit songs of theirs and say, ‘What do you think of this?’ Or we would say to them, well, we need this song to do this sing in the show, can you please write it from that perspective?” Neustadter continued.
“And they would submit material that way. It was a great two way street. And it produced this album that we can’t wait for people to hear.”
The first three episodes of Daisy Jones and The Six will be released on Amazon on March 3, with new episodes airing every Friday. Sign up for a Prime Video free trial here.