Daisy Jones & The Six true story: was the fictional band from Amazon Prime series inspired by Fleetwood Mac?
Author Taylor Jenkins Reid has said that Daisy Jones & The Six are loosely inspired by Fleetwood Mac - but how similar were the two bands’ trajectories?
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In the years since Daisy Jones & The Six was first published, author Taylor Jenkins Reid has explained that the fictional band were loosely inspired by her own memories of listening to and following Fleetwood Mac growing up. “Fleetwood Mac are a band and a soap opera,” Reid suggested to The Guardian in 2019, not long after development began on a television adaptation of her novel.
There are obvious similarities between Daisy Jones & The Six and Fleetwood Mac in the Amazon Prime Video series, from subtle visual homages like a shared typeface on their albums to the immediately audible influence of one band’s music on the other’s. The question, though, is how far does that influence extend? Is Daisy Jones & The Six inspired by a true story, or is it more like a biography with the serial numbers filed off?
Here’s everything you need to know about Fleetwood Mac, and how closely their real-life history mirrors that of Daisy Jones & The Six.
How did the bands start?
Fleetwood Mac, much like Daisy Jones & The Six, formed in the late 1960s after breaking away from another band. Peter Green, a guitarist in the band John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers, wanted to leave and start his own group. To try and entice drummer Mick Fleetwood and bass guitarist John McVie to join him, he offered to name the new band after them; McVie initially opted against, preferring to stay in stable employment with The Bluesbreakers rather than risking a new venture, but ended up joining shortly after their first concert without him.
After releasing a run of blues records in London across the rest of the 1960s, Fleetwood Mac entered something of a transitional stage: the band line up changed several times over, with one guitarist having a breakdown on stage and another running away mid-tour to join a religious group without telling anyone. Eventually – after a lengthy legal battle with a competing group called The New Fleetwood Mac – the band found themselves in California. By the start of 1974, Fleetwood Mac was comprised of drummer Mick Fleetwood, bass guitarist John McVie, vocalist and wife of John Christine McVie, and guitarist Bob Welch (Peter Green had departed the band after taking too much LSD during their 1970 European tour).
Towards the end of 1974 – during a period of creative frustration, when the band had struggled to find much success in America – Mick Fleetwood was introduced to musician Lindsey Buckingham. Impressed by his work, and feeling like Fleetwood Mac would benefit from new voices, Fleetwood invited Buckingham to join the band; he accepted on the condition that his frequent collaborator and girlfriend Stevie Nicks could join as well. Shortly after this, Bob Welch left the band.
Daisy Jones & The Six follow a similar, if considerably streamlined, path: after a few years as The Dunne Brothers, the band was eventually renamed The Six following the departure of Chuck Williams and the addition of pianist Karen Sirko, and then went on to become Daisy Jones & The Six in reference to their new lead singer.
In 1975, Fleetwood Mac – by this point made up of Mick Fleetwood, John and Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckinham, and Stevie Nicks – enjoyed their first successful album in America. With that success, though, came the pressure to replicate it with their next album. Rumours is the broad inspiration for Daisy Jones & The Six’s album Aurora. Both were borne of a stressful production: Billy Dunne and Daisy Jones’ already strained relationship became increasingly turbulent while writing Aurora, and things between all five members of Fleetwood Mac were very tense, to say the least, while writing Rumours.
John and Christine McVie’s marriage came to an end, as did Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks’ long-term romantic relationship; Mick Fleetwood, meanwhile, was in the middle of getting a divorce from his wife while also having a secret affair with Nicks. That, and the heavy consumption of drugs and alcohol – allegedly – heavily influenced the tone, style, and themes of Rumours.
How did the bands break up?
Daisy Jones & The Six is framed as a Behind the Music style documentary, with each member of the band reflecting on their rise and fall two decades after their final performance. The band played their biggest performance in Chicago on 12 July 1979 – and, after that, never played another concert together again.
In real life, Fleetwood Mac had much less of a clean break. After Rumours, they continued to make new albums together, taking a hiatus in the mid-1980s; during their time apart, Fleetwood declared bankruptcy and John McVie suffered an addiction related seizure, while Buckingham, and Christine McVie pursued solo careers. Nicks, who released two very popular solo albums during the Fleetwood Mac hiatus, was admitted to the Betty Ford Clinic for addiction problems.
A planned comeback tour was delayed when, at the last minute, Buckingham decided his creativity was being stifled; in his autobiography, Fleetwood recalled that Buckingham and Nicks came to blows during a meeting at Christine McVie’s house in August 1987. Buckingham left the band the next day. Across the late 1980s and early 1990s, membership of the band continued to change, with Mick Fleetwood as the only constant. From time to time, they’d reunite for something – like Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993 – and then insist they’d absolutely definitely never reunite again. This has continued more or less through to the present day.
It was a moment from Fleetwood Mac’s 1997 tour that inspired Taylor Jenkins Reid to write Daisy Jones & The Six. “When I decided I wanted to write a book about rock ‘n’ roll, I kept coming back to that moment when Lindsey watched Stevie sing Landslide,” Reid explained in 2019. “How it looked so much like two people in love. And yet, we’ll never truly know what lived between them. I wanted to write a story about that, about how the lines between real life and performance can get blurred, about how singing about old wounds might keep them fresh.”
Daisy Jones & The Six is available to stream now on Amazon Prime Video. You can read our review of the series here, take a look at our interview with Sam Claflin and Camila Morrone here, and find more of our coverage of the series here. You can also sign up for Amazon Prime Video here.