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Is ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ Based on a True Story? How Fleetwood Mac’s Toxic Relationships & Affairs Inspired the Tale

The author "kept coming back to that moment when Lindsey watched Stevie sing ‘Landslide.’"
Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac. Getty Images

As one of Prime Video’s most hotly anticipated series—an adaptation of the bestselling, award-winning novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid— hits our screens, audiences will be wondering if Daisy Jones & The Six is based on a true story, and the answer is sort of yes, sort of no.

The show tells the story of a rock band in the 1970s, Daisy Jones & The Six, as they navigate fame, fortune and a tumultuous group dynamic. “Set to the soundtrack of original music, this is the story of how this iconic band imploded at the height of its powers,” reads the official synopsis.

The show stars Riley Keough as Daisy Jones, with Sam Caflin as Billy Dunne, Suki Waterhouse as Karen Sirko, Will Harrison as Graham Dunne, Josh Whitehouse as Eddie Roundtree and Sebastian Chacon as Warren Rojas. Reid’s hit 2019 was written as an oral history while the series is constructed as a documentary, and being set in the 70s draws parallels to some of the biggest bands in history. Here’s whether Daisy Jones & The Six is based on a true story.

Is Daisy Jones & The Six based on a true story?

Is Daisy Jones & The Six based on a true story? It’s not, but it does draw a lot of inspiration from real-life bands, particularly Fleetwood Mac and the tumultuous relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. “If you really, really boil it down, maybe that is just the truth of it,” Reid told Rolling Stone in answer to the question of whether she based it on her love of Stevie Nicks.

Daisy Jones and the Six
Image: Lacey Terrell / Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection.

“Really what it was is that I finished the book that I wrote before this one, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and I thought when I was done with that book, that it meant that I had to be done writing about famous women. But I felt drawn to the idea of artistic collaborators, people who are blurring the line between what is real life and what is art. This idea that — and it happens a lot with music — that you have a man and woman singing together, and it becomes sort of unclear, certainly to the audience: Is this a performance or is this real?”

She continued: “And obviously the more real it is, for us, the more intriguing it is to listen to, which is why [the Fleetwood Mac album] Rumours is so good, and why it has stuck with us in our culture for such a long time. But I also feel that way about the band Civil Wars. I loved them, and when they broke up, I wanted to know why. I was really intrigued by that story of these two people that create this incredible, intimate art together that sounds so romantic but they’re not romantically involved. And then they just break up out of nowhere… I spent a lot of time googling that back in the day, trying to get to some sort of answer about what happened. So it really just all comes back to my fascination with people that are collaborating together — that may or may not have feelings for each other. So that’s where the germ of this woman Daisy Jones, and this man that she collaborates with, Billy Dunne, came to take a life in my head.”

In real-life, Nicks and Buckingham’s whirlwind romance began in the early 70s but would be on and off for years. They’d fight a lot creatively and, during an off period, were introduced to Fleetwood Mac members Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, and Christine McVie in late 1974. Coming as a package deal, Nicks and Buckingham mended their relationship. “I said, OK, this is what we’ve been working for since 1968,” Nicks told him, per Stephen Davis’s biography of her, Gold Dust Woman. “And so, Lindsey, you and I have to sew this relationship back up. We have too much to lose here. We need to put our problems behind us. Maybe we’re not going to have any more problems, because we’re finally going to have some money. And I won’t have to be a f—king waitress.”

Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images

The band achieved global success after Nicks and Buckingham joined but times were tough on a personal level. The McVies’ marriage ended; Nicks and Buckingham’s long-term romance was over and Fleetwood was in the midst of divorce proceedings with his wife Jenny after having an affair with Nicks. There was pressure to release another successful album after their self-titled Fleetwood Mac in 1975 and new-found wealth and fame led to creative tensions as well as drug and alcohol use.

Fleetwood Mac would go on to release their most iconic album, Rumours, in 1977. The songs on the record laid bare all the emotional turmoil the band was facing at the time—Buckingham’s “Go Your Own Way” and Nicks’ “Dreams” were in direct response to their doomed romance. “The Chain” is the only song on the record written by all five members and the album would go on to be awarded Album of the Year at the Grammys, selling more than 19 million copies in the US alone by 2003. In a tumultuous period between 1987 and 1995, Buckingham and Nicks would depart Fleetwood Mac, marking the end of the band as we knew it.

“When I decided I wanted to write a book about rock ‘n’ roll, I kept coming back to that moment when Lindsey watched Stevie sing ‘Landslide.’ How it looked so much like two people in love. And yet, we’ll never truly know what lived between them,” Reid explained in a post for Hello Sunshine, Reese Witherspoon’s production company that’s producing the Prime Video series. “I wanted to write a story about that, about how the lines between real life and performance can get blurred, about how singing about old wounds might keep them fresh.” Taking to Twitter after the show’s first episodes were released on March 3, 2023, one fan posted: “#DaisyJonesAndTheSix is a love letter to fleetwood mac. Change my mind.”

Daisy Jones and the Six
Image: Lacey Terrell / Amazon / Courtesy Everett Collection.

In an interview with Marie Claire in 2019, Reid explained the inspiration for Daisy Jones and the Six and revealed that the book was based on several “complicated” throughout music history, including Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. “It was a lot of things. First, I was really taken with how often in culture there are these men and women who write incredible songs together but also have somewhat complicated personal relationships,” she said.

“The most obvious example is Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham in Fleetwood Mac, but there’s a lot of them—The Civil Wars, who broke up in 2014, and other group bands who have had difficulty in their relationships and broke up very abruptly. Take Beyoncé and Jay-Z for example (even though it’s hip-hop and not rock), who have this incredible relationship. They take their personal life and make art from it. I’m fascinated by it, so I wanted to create a band to explore that further.” She also told the magazine about what it was like to create the show with executive producer Reese Witherspoon. ”Who doesn’t want to see their world come to life in three dimensions? It’s incredibly exciting anytime you think your book is going to become a TV show,” she said.

“The thing about this project that got me even more excited? On top of the fact that they’re going to cast all of the characters and create this world, they’re also going to create an album. The Aurora album is going to be a big part of this show—the music that I’ve created in my head and that hopefully feels real to you as you’re reading the book is going to become real music. Reese Witherspoon is so good at understanding how to tell women’s stories. I’m thrilled about the TV show—not just because of the actual show, but because she’s paying attention to the right things. I feel very confident that I’m handing over a book to someone who’s going to make it truly great.”

Daisy Jones and the Six is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Here’s how to watch it for free.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid Amazon
Image: Ballantine Books.

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