Opening sentence: ‘This book is an attempt to piece together a clear portrait of how the renowned 1970s rock band Daisy Jones & The Six rose to fame – as well as what led to their abrupt and infamous split while on tour in Chicago on July 12, 1979.’
As I write this review, Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is playing in the background. I felt it was fitting. Although Daisy Jones & The Six is fiction, the similarities between the book and the amazing Fleetwood Mac are – intentionally – there. Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote a piece explaining how Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s relationship inspired her.
If you don’t know the story of Fleetwood Mac making their iconic album, it’s worth a read. Very weirdly, on the day I read this book, Stevie Nicks was trending on Twitter. What are the odds?? (It turns out it was her 72nd birthday!) (Side note: I am unable to even think about Rumours without this scene from Flight of the Conchords popping into my mind.)
Rumours? No, it’s all true…
Daisy Jones & The Six is written as an interview transcript; the author talking to all seven band members, plus other key people in their lives. We learn the story of how two brothers – Billy and Graham Dunne – started a band that went on to become the biggest in the world. Yes, The Six were talented with good songs, but their stellar success was all dependent on adding a certain Daisy Jones to their line-up.
Daisy Jones may have started her career as a groupie, but her talent and charisma meant she quickly ascended to stardom in her own right. She makes for a pretty compelling character to read about too.
We love broken, beautiful people. And it doesn’t get much more obviously broken and more classically beautiful then Daisy Jones.
When The Six’s lead singer, Billy has to share his spotlight with Daisy, a love / hate chemistry is triggered. The exploration of this is what makes Daisy Jones & The Six so great. There are also some on-point insights into human nature: the power of addiction, women having control over their own lives, wanting what you can’t have and doing the right thing, even though you wish you didn’t have to. All set to a backdrop of 1970s sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. I loved the direct refs to real bands and people from the 70s too – it gave a sense of authenticity to the story (and a little crash course in infamous groupies for me).
Alongside the band members we meet, I have to mention Billy’s wife, Camila. She was a truly great character that added so much to this read. She could easily have been the jealous, bitter band wife, but she gives a lesson in grace, humility and self-assurance. I particularly loved this quote, it summed her up for me:
It didn’t seem right to me that his weakest self got to decide how my life was going to turn out, what my family was going to look like.
It ends with full sets of lyrics from the songs that the band works on and are mentioned throughout the book. A very nice parting note.
I zipped through this book on a sunny afternoon, totally loving every second I was in 1970s LA with this cast of sparky characters. One of my brother’s favourite saying is, ‘Rumours – an album for every occasion: weddings, funerals, put it on, everyone is going to know it and enjoy it.’ I’d say the same about Daisy Jones & The Six. It feels like you’re reading a slice of rock’n’roll history, while discovering some truly complex and likeable characters too. I’ll be recommending this book to anyone who enjoys music so, everyone?
It is being made into a 13 episode mini-series with Riley Keough (Elvis’ granddaughter, no less) playing Daisy Jones. Yes, I’m intrigued and will be watching.
- Published by Ballantine Books March 2019;
- 355 pages;
- My rating: