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TELEVISION: ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ revisits ’70s rock ’n’ roll

by Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service | March 2, 2023 at 1:31 a.m.
Sam Claflin (center) and Riley Keough (right) star in “Daisy Jones & The Six,” which is now streaming on Prime Video. (Prime Video/TNS/Lacey Terrell)

One of the streaming events of the spring season occurs on Prime Video this Friday — the hotly anticipated premiere of the series "Daisy Jones & The Six," adapted from the blockbuster bestselling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The book, set in the world of the blossoming rock scene of Los Angeles in the '70s, is like "Almost Famous" meets Fleetwood Mac, and is written in the style of an oral history. The series, which stars Riley Keoug as the titular singer/songwriter Daisy, and Sam Claflin as her co-frontman Billy Dunne, is structured as a faux "Behind the Music" episode, with interviews throughout.

"Daisy Jones & The Six" is produced by Reese Witherspoon (who selected the book for her book club) and Lauren Neustadter. Her husband Scott and his writing partner Michael H. Weber ("The Disaster Artist") created the series, and their longtime creative collaborator James Ponsoldt executive produced and directed the first five episodes in the 10 episode series. The first three episodes premiere Friday, with two episodes dropping weekly thereafter.

The actors were put through an intensive "band camp," and Claflin and Keough do all of their own singing. Keough, who has her own kingly rock heritage as the granddaughter of Elvis Presley, is particularly fantastic and magnetic as the wild child Daisy, modeled after Stevie Nicks. Camila Morrone also shines in a supporting role as Camila, Billy's beleaguered wife, while Suki Waterhouse plays the uber-cool British keyboardist, Karen, a Christine McVie type. The series scratches that '70s rock itch with excellent tunes and lots of interpersonal drama. There's even an album of songs forthcoming from the fictional The Six, "Aurora," produced and written by Blake Mills, along with contributions from Phoebe Bridgers, Marcus Mumford, Maren Morris and Jackson Browne, which also arrives on Friday (two singles are already available).

If this only whets your appetite for more '70s rock dramatics, don't fret, there's a wealth of Fleetwood Mac material available for your perusal online. While the Fleetwood Mac "Behind the Music" is not on Paramount+ where other episodes of the beloved VH1 docuseries live, it is available to stream on Vimeo.

There's also many concert movies and making of documentaries, including "Fleetwood Mac: The Dance," the 1997 greatest hits concert film, available to rent on iTunes and Amazon, and the 2004 film "Fleetwood Mac: Live in Boston," available on YouTube. Aside from their "Behind the Music" episode, there's also a "Classic Albums" episode about "Rumours," available on the Roku Channel, Tubi or Freevee, and "Unbroken Chain," streaming on Tubi and Freevee. Just plug "Fleetwood Mac" into YouTube for all the goods, including a making-of doc about the album "Tusk."

But it wasn't just the Mac back in the '70s of course, and there are two other docs about music legends from that time that were made in 2019. First, cue up "David Crosby: Remember My Name," available on Starz or for rent elsewhere, and take in all the grumpy, vulnerable and hilarious musings of the legendary folk rocker (rest in peace, king). Then fire up "Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice," and learn all about how the easy listening queen once ruled the rockers of the Sunset Strip — fun fact, the Eagles probably wouldn't exist without her. Stream that on HBO Max or rent elsewhere.

This list wouldn't be complete without Cameron Crowe's influential 2000 film "Almost Famous" starring Kate Hudson as the iconic (fictional) groupie Penny Lane, following around the tumultuous band Stillwater with a young rock reporter. Stream it on Prime Video or rent it elsewhere. For the funnier side of '70s rock, Rob Reiner's 1984 mockumentary "This is Spinal Tap" starring Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and Michael McKeon always delivers. You can only buy it (not rent) on iTunes and Amazon, but this one really deserves a place in the permanent collection.

Finally, check out the 2013 doc produced and directed by the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, "Sound City" about a legendary L.A. recording studio where Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty and Rage Against the Machine recorded groundbreaking music, including Nirvana's "Nevermind." The doc is a gear-head's dream, as it delves into the minutia of the recording technology, but it's also a beautiful film about the magic of making music in the moment. Stream it on Peacock, Kanopy, Freevee, Tubi or rent it elsewhere.


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