Book/TV Report: Daisy Jones and the Six

I have been obsessed with Daisy Jones and the Six the last few weeks. First we devoured the Prime Video miniseries four episodes at a time, and then I tracked down a library that had the audiobook on CD because I didn’t want to wait weeks to borrow the .mp3 from the library.

I recently realized I am a sucker for musical biographies. I love learning about what went into making popular music and the personalities who created it — the masterpieces banged out on a cocktail napkin in 10 minutes, the 79 takes in the studio to get a song right. And so I was predisposed to like Daisy Jones and the Six; they didn’t have to make it brilliant. But I’m glad they did.

The story is simple: A band rises to the top and creates the greatest rock album of the 1970s, and one night after a triumphant performance in a Chicago stadium, the band dissolves. In a series of interviews, the former bandmates tell the story in their own words.

Everything revolves around the tumultuous relationship between the two bona fide stars in the band, troubled singer Daisy Jones and troubled singer/guitarist Billy Dunne. Of course they’re both troubled: It’s rock and roll. Thank goodness for Dunne’s devoted and dynamic wife, Camilla.

The TV series is an outstanding celebration of 1970s rock, and the creators even developed a real version of the great album, Aurora, that is almost as good as the story makes it out to be. Supposedly Fleetwood Mac was the inspiration for the story, and there are more than a few callbacks to Mac in the music.

After having so much fun with the series, of course I wanted the source material, and as blown away as I was by the series, I was even more so by the audiobook. The interview format of the book (OMG, have I mentioned author Taylor Jenkins Reid yet? Shame on me!) lends itself to a dramatic reading, and so each character gets its own voice, and what voices they are: Jennifer Beals is Daisy, Pablo Schreiber is Billy, and a cast the likes of Benjamin Bratt and Judy Greer and Fred Berman. 

The songs described in the book are reimagined for the screen, and I agree with their choices for the most part, but I do wish they had preserved the greatest line in the angry song “Regret Me,” when the spurned narrator of the song spits out, “When you think of me, I hope it ruins rock and roll.” In the TV version, that sentiment is expressed as “Go ahead and regret me but I’m beating you to it, dude.” Um, no.

Despite a misfire or two like that, the fictional Aurora is a pretty fine album, the actors (Riley Keough and Sam Claflin on TV) bring the fire and the swagger and the angst, and the story is the stuff of rock legend. Daisy Jones and the Six is one of my favorite TV shows AND audiobooks. I may even end up buying the print book to experience the trifecta.

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