How Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac inspired the Amazon miniseries ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’
‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ author Taylor Jenkins Reid was inspired by a 1997 performance by Fleetwood Mac
It was summer 1997. Taylor Jenkins Reid was a teenager then. Like other 13-year-olds in the ’90s, Reid spent summer afternoons channel-surfing (there was no Netflix back then), often landing on MTV. A snippet that captured Reid’s attention kept her inspired for decades.
Fleetwood Mac was knee-deep in an emotional reunion. Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham put their rocky romantic history aside to perform the band’s greatest hits in a two-hour live concert on MTV called “The Dance.”
It was during this MTV special that Reid found herself enthralled by a band she previously hadn’t even heard of. Reid witnessed a brief glance between the ex-lovers amid a performance of “Landslide.” The looks exchanged between Nicks and Buckingham gave Reid a glimpse into their emotional past — she was convinced they were still in love.
“Lindsey stopped strumming for a moment and Stevie let it fly as he watched from the sideline. And for one split second — truly, a slice of a moment — Lindsey put his fist under his chin and looked at Stevie as if she was a miracle,” Reid said of her experience in Hello Sunshine. “And I thought, ‘Oh, they’re in love with each other.’”
Reid was shocked when her mother informed her that Nicks and Buckingham were no longer together. How could two people who look so obviously in love not be together? Could the exchange have been all for show?
“Two years ago, 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,’” Reid wrote, per Hello Sunshine. “How it looked so much like two people in love. And yet, we’ll never truly know what lived between them. 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.”
An exchanged that lasted just a split second told a story. And Reid wanted to tell it.
‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ is now a limited series — what is it about?
For the sake of avoiding spoilers, I’ll keep this brief.
In Reid’s own words, it is the “fictional oral history of the rise and fall of a ’70s rock band.”
The 2019 novel, which was recently adapted into a limited series on Amazon Prime, details how the fictional band “Daisy Jones & the Six” rose to fame and what led to the band’s breakdown and eventual split.
It’s loosely based on Fleetwood Mac — specifically the rocky romance between Fleetwood Mac bandmates Nicks and Buckingham. Reid gives a fictional behind-the-scenes look at what Nicks’ and Buckingham’s relationship might have been like through her characters Daisy Jones and Billy Dunn, and how the their messy relationship impacted the band’s music and eventual downfall.
The series stars Sam Claflin as Billy Dunn, Riley Keough as Daisy Jones, Suki Waterhouse as Karen Sirko, Will Harrison as Graham Dunne and Timothy Olyphant as Rod Reyes.
‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ — Reid’s ’70s inspiration
Reid’s book, “Daisy Jones & the Six,” is a work of fiction. But she admits the story was inspired by Fleetwood Mac and loosely based on the band’s history. Reid also drew inspiration from other dominant ’70s acts such as Bruce Springsteen, The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills and Nash, per Variety.
Remaining at the core of Reid’s inspiration are Nicks and Buckingham.
“I started with the germ of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac,” Reid said during an interview with her publisher, Penguin Books. “I’d always been fascinated with them ever since I was a kid.”
Reid started her research by listening to “Rumors” — Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 album. “It was the beginning of it for me because it’s an album, but … it’s also a soap opera,” Reid explained during the interview. “The stories going on between Stevie and Lindsey, and the things that were going on between Christine McVie and John McVie were really fascinating, and they show in the music. So I started there.”
In addition to studying their music, Reid read a “ton” of interviews given by Fleetwood Mac. She also cited Springsteen’s memoir “Born to Run” and other biographies from ’70s artists as inspiration, as well as Rolling Stone interviews.
“If there’s a rock biography that came out in recent years, I read it,” Reid claims.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham — the real love story
The pair met for the first time as high schoolers in the Bay area, a decade before they would join Fleetwood Mac. It was a Wednesday night in 1965. Nicks and Buckingham were both in attendance at an event held by the religious group Young Life. Buckingham was seated at the piano playing “California Dreamin.’”
“Well, I just happened to know every word and could sing the harmony, and I thought he was absolutely stunning,” Nicks recalled in the biography “Gold Dust Woman,” per The Washington Post. “So I kind of casually maneuvered my way over to the piano.”
After spending the night singing together at the piano, the pair didn’t speak again for years — until Buckingham suggested that Nicks join his band, Fritz, per the Post. The previously all-male band agreed no one could date Nicks. The band fell apart soon after and with it, the agreement.
Nicks and Buckingham spent a while scraping by in Los Angeles as they worked together on an album. It flopped. But it wasn’t for nothing. Mick Fleetwood heard one of the pair’s songs and asked Buckingham to join his band, Fleetwood Mac, as a guitarist.
“I had to explain we came as a duo,” Buckingham told Uncut. So he and Nicks joined Fleetwood Mac.
Joining Fleetwood Mac fostered the pair’s massive musical success, but it also led to the breakdown of their romantic relationship.
“We broke up, because being in that band, was just too difficult to be in a relationship,” Nicks told Chum Radio in 2001. “The business of Fleetwood Mac is being destroyed by these relationships. And we were none of us willing to give up the band.”
Nicks and Buckingham have both expressed disappointment over the way their relationship ended. In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Buckingham shared his hopes for a different ending between himself and Nicks.
“I’ve known Stevie since I was 16, so I would like to think there’s a better way for us to finish up than we finished up,” he said. “Not just for Fleetwood Mac and for the legacy, but just for the two of us.”
When does ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ come out?
The first three episodes of “Daisy Jones & the Six” are already available on Amazon Prime. The remaining seven episodes will get released throughout March.
The release dates are as follows:
- Episodes 1-3: March 3.
- Episodes 4-6: March 10.
- Episodes 7, 8: March 17.
- Episodes 9, 10: March 24.
What is ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ rated?
“Daisy Jones & the Six” is rated 16+ for language, sexual content and drug and alcohol use.