Daisy Jones and The Six: A ‘70s Tale of Sex, Drugs, & Rock’n’Roll
Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones and The Six quickly gained traction after it’s release in 2019, becoming popular among teens on TikTok and becoming a #1 national bestseller. Four years later, Hello Sunshine—Reese Witherspoon’s media company—has partnered up with Amazon Prime Studios to transform the novel into a miniseries adaptation, bringing both the book and its eponymous band to life.
Daisy Jones and The Six follows The Six, a 1970s Laurel Canyon rock group, and their road to fame in Los Angeles as they take on the eccentric, yet undoubtedly talented, musician Daisy Jones. The series replicates the written format of the book, with the band’s career told through interviews for a documentary being made 20 years after their puzzling breakup.
The Six’s front man, Billy Dunne, is played by Sam Claflin—the veteran book-to-screen adaptation heartthrob from beloved projects such as “The Hunger Games,” “Love Rosie,” and “Me Before You.” Billy is the charismatic face of the band who dives headfirst into the Los Angeles music scene, developing drug and alcohol addictions during the band’s debut tour. The show reflects on how Billy’s addiction and consequential infidelity inflicted emotional strain on his relationship with his wife Camila, played by actress and model Camila Morrone. Billy misses the birth of his first daughter while high and incoherent on stage, and ultimately is absent for the first three months of her life, which he spends in a rehabilitation facility. Rather than glamorize the rampant drug use during this era of L.A.’s music scene, Daisy Jones and The Six exposes its unfortunate reality.
The band’s leading lady Daisy Jones, played by Riley Keough—aptly the real-life granddaughter of rock legend Elvis Presley and the daughter of the late Lisa Marie Presley—experiments with and becomes addicted to a plethora of drugs at a young age upon entering the music industry as an aspiring singer-songwriter. But at her core, Daisy is a free-spirited, eccentric flower child, as her name would suggest. While developing the character, author Reid was inspired by Fleetwood Mac. Just like Stevie Nicks, Daisy is an enchanting, almost witch-like figure who can curse her failed and traitorous romantic partners through song.
What makes the show different (and arguably more nuanced) than the novel is that it does not rely solely on the characters’ interviews. The show depicts the events as they happen in real time, rather than solely through the band members’ retrospective accounts 20 years later. In this way, the show provides other sides to stories that characters may have decided to omit, revealing the potentially unreliable narration of some characters, specifically Billy and Daisy.
Centered around the making of the band’s debut album Aurora, the narrative follows the relationships within the band and the collaboration required for a rock group to function. What drives the fiery spirit of the band is the undeniable tension between Daisy and Billy, both sexual and musical, which also makes for the main point of conflict in the series. Their relationship begins with mutual disdain, slowly evolving into civility, before eventually oscillating between either a burning passion or absolute hatred for each other. Keough and Claflin’s performances accurately replicate Billy and Daisy’s troubled dynamic, which Reid painted clearly in her novel. Stolen glances in crowded rooms reveal more about their feelings for each other than any line of dialogue could—a gorgeous visual depiction of their slow burn.
There are several added changes in the show that intensify the pairs' connection. Throughout the novel, Camila fears that Billy would end up cheating on her with Daisy; however, his faithfulness and devotion to Camila far outweighs his twin-flame-like connection with Daisy. The series, however, shows Daisy and Billy becoming more intimate than they revealed themselves to be during interviews, a change that was surprising for viewers, yet crucial to demonstrate the characters’ potentially unreliable narration.
What garnered the most attention for the series were the musical renditions of Reid’s written lyrics from the novel. Collaborators include major artists like Phoebe Bridgers, Madison Cunningham, Marcus Mumford, and Jackson Browne. “Look At Us Now (Honeycomb),” the lead single from the band’s album, seems as though it could be taken directly from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. The pairing of slow verses with a consistent bass drum intensifies in the more upbeat choruses, eventually leading into a wildly satisfying bridge. This sonic buildup in “Honeycomb” takes inspiration from “The Chain,” one of Rumours’ most notable songs, and even implements part of its iconic guitar riff in the bridge.
Bringing the band to life, both on screen and in song, has inspired a resurgence of 1970s aesthetics in pop culture. The clothing brand Free People has started a Daisy Jones and The Six line, inspired by Daisy’s whimsical fashion, and Fleetwood Mac’s iconic 1977 performance of “Silver Springs” has resurfaced across social media platforms. The fictional band is no longer fictional for most fans, and it seems as though the band’s career will only continue to become a reality. Cast members, such as Sebastian Chacon who plays drummer Warren Rojas, are posting sneak peeks into band rehearsals, stirring up rumors of a potential real-world tour for The Six. Despite being a limited series, Daisy Jones and The Six is nowhere near stopping its marvelous ascent anytime soon.
Lucy Cullen is a sophomore in the College studying English and Journalism. She is the INDY’s Reviews editor.