Daisy Jones and the Six were one of those bands that everyone knew. The magazine picture perfect Daisy Jones and her band of talented musicians. Their music soundtracked parties, makeups and break-downs. It was the stuff of legend. The perfect, imperfect moment.
Then in 1979, at the height of their powers, they split up. There was no slow slide into mediocrity, rich musicians dialling in the same performances night after night. All of the old hits for everyone. Some new songs for the real fans.
The fictional band have something akin to Fleetwood Mac. Wild success hiding excess, bad behaviour, the fracturing of once-close friendships. Daisy Jones came from fame. Her influential artist father and French model mother gave her the freedom to do as she wishes, so drifting through the 1960s, she soon finds herself on a stage with a band, and that is where the story becomes interesting.
The novel is related through the individual band members and their various partners, friends and business acquaintances. We have to read everything with a pinch of salt, as everyone remembers events on the road, on stage, and in the studio differently. One perceived slight meant nothing to one person but still rankles with another one many years later.
The book is very well written, with a concentration on both characters, the scene, and the music, with telling details of what makes a band tick, a song a hit, and what makes the public take a group to their hearts.
The writing goes at a very brisk pace, and the interviews add a lot to the telling, seeing the story from everyone’s point of view, where it is usually only the lead singer or lead musicians with an opinion that matters, here every one is given equal time, and equal billing.
The ending of the novel, which deals with the past of the band and their present and futures, is both heartbreaking but completely fitting with the rest of the novel’s narrative.
Reviewed by Ben Macnair
Published by Arrow; 1st edition (9 Jan. 2020)
Paperback, ISBN 978-1787462144