Sex, drugs, flower power, rock n’ roll. Rinse and repeat, or so it seems with the production of Daisy Jones & the Six, Amazon Prime’s hit new TV show based on the book by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I have my own opinion of TJR, but the success of her novels can’t be denied. The plotline and characters of DJ&TS closely resemble Fleetwood Mac, a hit band from the 60s and 70s that has stood the test of time. Your grandparents listened to Fleetwood Mac, your parents listened to Fleetwood Mac, and I’d bet money that you listen to Fleetwood Mac. Who doesn’t love giving a heart-wrenching rendition of “Landslide” or a powerful ballad like “Silver Springs” a listen?
While you’re reading this article, here’s the Spotify playlist of every good Fleetwood Mac song. Pay attention to the difference in vibes, how the music shifts when the mantle of the Fleetwood brand is passed from band member to band member. Enjoy.
The parallels between DJ&TS and Fleetwood Mac are…interesting. The show features drama between band members and the outside world in a way that begs the question: what did TJR base her book off of? She’s admitted that she was inspired by Fleetwood Mac. Babes, c’mon. There is a substantial difference between inspiration and plain old plagiarism. Here are some of the things about Fleetwood Mac that you might see echoed in the show (or might not, I haven’t seen it because of my… strong opinions on TJR).
- The band didn’t start out with Stevie Nicks.
When the band was founded in 1967 in London, it comprised drummer Mick Fleetwood and guitarists and vocalists Peter Green and Jeremy Spencer. I was surprised to learn of this, even as a lifelong Fleetwood fan, because what is Fleetwood Mac without the je ne sais quoi of Stevie Nicks? Peter Green’s distinctive vocals got the band started, giving it a headstart (in my humble opinion) that Nicks was later able to capitalize on and use to the band’s advantage. Eventually, Christine Perfect McVie joined the band in 1970 as a vocalist and keyboardist, really getting the band off on the right foot. Christine married John McVie before Fleetwood Mac really even got started.
- Fleetwood Mac started out as a British blues band.
It’s hard to imagine how different the band would be had they stayed in their first configurations, with Bob Weston on guitar, Mick Fleetwood on drums, John McVie on bass, Christine McVie on keyboard and vocals, and Bob Welch on guitar and vocals. The sound that this group cooked up led to blues-style hits in the UK like “Albatross,” which is an amazing song, but definitely not the collective slay we’ve all come to know and expect from Fleetwood Mac.
- There was romantic drama from the beginning.
One of the first few guitarists, Bob Weston, had a “very expensive affair” with Mick Fleetwood’s wife, Jenny Boyd. He was subsequently fired from the band, which left a gap in Fleetwood Mac’s lineup that lent itself perfectly to the power duo of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, who brought their own kind of crazy lovesick spectacle to the stage. It’s funny, Fleetwood originally wanted Buckingham first, but Buckingham refused to join the band without Nicks. Stevie Nicks was a compromise!
- Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had… something akin to what Billy Dunne and Daisy Jones seem to experience in the show.
Buckingham and Nicks had met in high school but hadn’t become romantically involved until they moved to LA together in the early ‘70s. Their chemistry can be seen in the cover of their eponymous album, Buckingham Nicks, which features the two naked in classic black-and-white fashion. Money problems and stress put a strain on their relationship, paving the way for the catastrophic fights that would come later. “Landslide” was written in this time period, when Buckingham ditched Nicks in Aspen to go tour with Don Everly (#flop). The epic song that eventually came to become one of the many main flavors of Fleetwood Mac is mainly interpreted as a father-daughter ballad of change, but features some of the romantic tension Nicks was feeling in that gorgeous mountain scenery. In short, by the time the duo joined Fleetwood Mac in 1974, there were already cracks in their relationship that would prove fatal.
During the production of the Rumours album in 1977, Buckingham and Nicks broke up. And then Christine and John McVie, who had been married since 1968, broke up. Then Mick Fleetwood and Jenny Boyd’s divorce was finalized. It was a bad year to be a boo’d-up rockstar. They say no pain, no gain, right? That must be why Rumours is so darn good. Buckingham wrote “Go Your Own Way” for Nicks, and Nicks wrote “Dreams” for him. Can you imagine your ex-girlfriend crooning “Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom/Well, who am I to keep you down?/It’s only right that you should play the way you feel it/But listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness” at you? I wonder who fumbled the bag there… I might just be biased because I worship Stevie Nicks, but I cannot imagine her ever screwing up. Sorry to every man she’s ever dated; clearly, it’s you guys in the wrong.
As someone who isn’t a huge fan of TJR, I can admit that she might be good at writing rock n’ roll chemistry (and subsequent tension). I’m sure I’ll cave at some point and eventually watch Daisy Jones & The Six, but for now I’ll stick to TikTok clips of the most pivotal moments (inevitably spoiling everything for myself). From what I’ve seen, Daisy and Billy orbit each other in this secret (or not-so-secret) loop of forbidden desire, passionately making eye contact and crying on stage with each other. And, duh, writing songs about each other. If you aren’t writing angsty, catchy tunes about your hot bandmate, are you even really in a band in the ‘70s? I feel like it’s almost painfully obvious how closely Daisy is supposed to resemble Stevie and Billy is supposed to be Lindsey. Is it a successful recreation? Or does it feel tired and old? Alas, I hope I’ll never know.
- Almost every single one of their hit songs includes heavy digs at each other.
Which is ironic. Because they’ve now had to sing these songs together for almost 60 years. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, am I right? I mentioned “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way” earlier. Additionally, Christine McVie wrote “You Make Loving Fun” in 1977. It sounds innocent enough, a jaunty little tune meant to express the joys of being with someone you love very much. Funnily enough, the song was NOT about her recent ex-husband at the time, John McVie, but instead about the lighting director that she’d been having carnal relations with on the side. To make matters worse, she told McVie that the song was about her dog. Yeah, right. Way to rub salt in the wound, Christine.
The song “The Chain” is very clearly a song about trying to stay together as a group in times of strife. The song was the one tune that really brought the band together, with all of them working on it together. The song absolutely drips with the sadness of betrayal and anger, a powerful musical punch to the gut. Thank God the band suffered so, because that song is one of the best things ever written.
One of my top favorite Fleetwood Mac songs, “Silver Springs,” which was first released in 1977, is potentially Nicks’ most heartbreaking song written about Buckingham. If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve seen the performance that Nicks gave in the Burbanks Studio in 1997 when singing the song at Buckingham, not just with him. The eye contact, the heartbreak in her voice, the way that Buckingham just seems to absorb it all as she aims all of her pain at him on stage – it’s enough to make a grown man cry. Nicks told Rolling Stone in 2009 that the creation of the song was an epiphany for her – “It was me realizing that Lindsey was going to haunt me for the rest of my life, and he has.” Ouch.
It’s honestly a little surprising that Fleetwood Mac has made it this far, when other successful bands like the Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Black Sabbath, and more fell apart. Nonetheless, the band has held together and pulled through to maintain their popularity over generations. Clearly, their impact cannot be overstated, as Taylor Jenkins Reid was inspired to create an entire fictional band exactly like Fleetwood Mac. Soak in every moment of TJR’s recreation of Fleetwood Mac in Daisy Jones and the Six, streaming now on Amazon Prime; hopefully there’s no second season. I will say, though, there’s nothing I love more than a manic pixie dream girl in bell-bottoms, so maybe I’ll give the show a whirl. Who knows? For now, live, laugh, love Stevie Nicks.