In 2019, Taylor Jenkins Reid published Daisy Jones & The Six, a propulsive page-turner that follows the peaks and valleys of a fictional 1970s rock band whose creative output is intertwined with—and hugely complicated by—the members’ interpersonal relationships. If you detect notes of Fleetwood Mac during the Rumours era, your senses don’t deceive you.
This spring, Prime Video is debuting a 10-part TV miniseries starring Riley Keough as Daisy Jones, Sam Claflin as The Six frontman Billy Dunne, and a host of other talented actors. Gear up for the three-episode premiere on March 3 with seven facts about the book that inspired it.
1. The Civil Wars’ break-up helped inspire the novel …
During a 2012 tour, Americana duo The Civil Wars suddenly canceled their remaining stops due to “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” Their second album, released the following year, ended up being their last: The band formally broke up in 2014.
Though members Joy Williams and John Paul White were both married to other people, it was clear that their creative partnership had been intimate in its own way, and there seemed to be some familial tension at play: Williams’s husband was The Civil Wars’ manager—and accompanied them on tour—and in an interview with NPR, she was candid about the work they put into their marriage during and after the band’s fallout. She also mentioned that White had wanted to spend more time at home with his own family.
But the mystery around what exactly went wrong was tantalizing to fans—Taylor Jenkins Reid among them. “I was so intrigued, and thought, ‘Can I do my own version of The Civil Wars?’” Jenkins Reid told Bustle.
2. … And so did Fleetwood Mac.
Jenkins Reid was also just generally fascinated by the passion involved when two famous people collaborate on an artistic project. She decided to place her story in a setting quintessential to rock history: in and around Los Angeles during the 1960s and ’70s. This meant that she, a longtime Fleetwood Mac fan, could explore the fraught personal dynamics among bandmates—especially between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham—that complicated the making of their 1977 album Rumours.
So that’s where Jenkins Reid started her research, and it quickly expanded to include basically every story by or about any rock musician from the era. “If there’s a rock biography that came out in recent years, I’ve read it,” she said during a 2019 interview for Penguin Books UK. Autobiographies were on the table, too, including Bruce Springsteen’s memoir Born to Run and Keith Richards’s Life. So were old Rolling Stone interviews.
“I just bought on eBay just a stack of Rolling Stones from … the early ’70s to the early ’80s,” she said. “The articles were great, but also the ads were great, because it told you so much about the time period and the things that the musicians and the readers of Rolling Stone were interested in and were using and buying.”
3. Her husband’s reading habits prompted the oral history angle.
Apart from his wife’s novels, Jenkins Reid’s screenwriter husband hardly reads fiction. But he does appreciate entertainment-related nonfiction, especially oral histories. “So I suppose I should thank him for the final piece of inspiration for Daisy Jones & the Six,” she wrote in a piece for Amazon Book Review.
Formatting the novel as an oral history helped Jenkins Reid accomplish her goal of making the reading experience as immersive as possible. “For me, the best way to do that was to mimic what I would argue is the best medium for stories about rock, which is a rock documentary,” she told Rolling Stone. “I wanted it to feel like an episode of Behind the Music, as if you were hearing it from the people directly.”
So it’s no surprise that she watched her fair share of VH1’s Behind the Music. One key installment was season 4, episode 3: “1977,” which focused on the rock landscape during that pivotal year. “Disco was coming to an end, arena rock and glam rock were taking over, and then you had the Southern California sound with bands like Fleetwood Mac, so it was very instructive to get an overall view of what rock looked like at that time,” Jenkins Reid told Shelf Awareness. Another important source was History of the Eagles, a two-part documentary from 2013 that laid bare all the petty in-fighting and grudge-holding that went on in the band.
4. The audiobook is narrated by a star-studded cast.
Fans looking for an even richer oral history experience of Daisy Jones & The Six should check out the audiobook. It’s narrated by a cast of 21 actors, including some names you may already be familiar with. Jennifer Beals of Flashdance fame voices Daisy Jones; Orange Is the New Black’s Pablo Schreiber is Billy Dunne; Miss Congeniality’s Benjamin Bratt plays Billy’s brother, Graham; and Judy Greer, the droll best friend in many a romantic comedy, voices Karen Sirko.
5. The woman on the book cover isn’t just one woman.
Book cover designer Caroline Teagle Johnson tells Mental Floss that the creative team—along with the author, who was “very involved” in developing the cover art—was essentially trying to make “an iconic album cover from the 1970s, but in book format.” “Fleetwood Mac was a major touchstone but also album covers like The Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers. The desired effect was subtly seductive, gritty, authentic to the period, and sophisticated,” she says.
Daisy Jones is all that and more, so it makes sense that it’s her face we see on the cover—but who’s the model that brought the vision to life? It’s actually not just one person. “We couldn’t find exactly what we were looking for in the world of stock imagery,” Teagle Johnson says, and they worried that a photoshoot would restrict their ability to experiment as much as they needed to. So instead, they created their own composite portrait from existing images. “Because the woman’s face is composed of a couple of different photographs it doesn’t seem right to name one specific person,” she explains, “but we were careful to ensure that the images used were model-released.”
6. “Regret Me” is modeled after Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs.”
As evidenced by all her varied source materials, Jenkins Reid definitely wasn’t just trying to rewrite the story of Fleetwood Mac—and Daisy Jones isn’t meant to be a reincarnation of Stevie Nicks. “I love Stevie Nicks, and because of that I wanted to make sure that I didn’t write Stevie Nicks,” she told Shelf Awareness. Daisy’s background and aesthetic, for example, clearly don’t map right onto Nicks’s; and Jenkins Reid drew inspiration from a number of other female musicians, from Carole King and Joni Mitchell to Linda Ronstadt and Patti Smith.
But one song in particular from the book, “Regret Me,” was directly inspired by a Fleetwood Mac classic: “Silver Springs.” “It’s not lyrically based on ‘Silver Springs’ at all, and it wouldn’t sound anything like it,” Jenkins Reid told The Guardian. “But that concept of a woman’s right to be angry is absolutely based on Stevie Nicks singing ‘Silver Springs’ at Lindsey Buckingham during their reunion [album and] show, The Dance [in 1997].”
7. The album for the TV adaptation features contributions from Phoebe Bridgers, Jackson Brown, and more.
Readers no longer have to imagine what “Regret Me” might sound like: That song, and “Look at Us Now (Honeycomb),” were both released as singles to promote Prime’s forthcoming TV adaptation of the novel. A full album by Daisy Jones & The Six—titled Aurora, as it is in the book—will drop March 3 to coincide with the series premiere. Phoebe Bridgers, Jackson Browne, and Marcus Mumford all helped write songs for the project, which was spearheaded by Blake Mills.