Did you fall down the rabbit hole that is all things Daisy Jones and the Six? The popular book penned by Taylor Jenkins Reid achieved such high praise that it was adapted for an Amazon Prime mini-series starring Riley Keough, Josh Whitehouse, Camila Morrone, and more. What’s all the fuss about? The story, delightfully told in a faux-documentary format—both on page and onscreen—maps the historic rise and exquisite fall of a fictional rock and roll super group in the 1970s. The band, having concealed the reason for their implosion, finally comes clean in a thrumming plot line not dissimilar from a Fleetwood Mac guitar solo.
But you know this. You’ve read the book, binged the latest episodes, and spent your life’s savings on anything fringed or paisley. Here’s what to read next to learn the true stories behind the era’s biggest L.A. bands and musicians, iconic essays evocative of the time, and other non-fictional tropes if you feel like slipping into something a little more exploratory.
“The White Album: Essays” by Joan Didion
In this essay collection, Didion captures the essence of Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s. From hanging in the recording studio with Jim Morrison to processing the fear and confusion invoked by the Manson family attacks, Didion narrates the soul of that landscape—ripe for creativity, revolution, and rebellion.
“Making Rumors: The Inside Story of the Classic Fleetwood Mac Album” by Ken Caillat and Steven Stiefel
Serving as low-key inspiration for Daisy Jones and the Six, Fleetwood Mac’s real history has enough material for multiple books and series. Here, Caillat—who served as co-producer on the album—recounts the stories behind the songs: the partying, the heartbreak, and the drama that manifested in one of rock and roll’s most legendary albums.
“I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie” by Pamela Des Barres
Des Barres walked so Penny Lane—and yes, Daisy Jones—could run. The real woman behind the OG “groupie” classification debriefs on exhilarating thrills with stars like Mick Jagger, Waylon Jennings, and the Sunset Strip during the 1960s and 1970s. But Des Barres is not a woman defined by her romantic past. Most importantly, perhaps, readers learn of the music: the shows, the songwriting, and the people who inspired and adored it.
“Laurel Canyon: The Inside Story of Rock-and-Roll’s Legendary Neighborhood” by Michael Walker
From Joni Mitchell to The Byrds, Laurel Canyon welcomed top musicians in the ’60s and ’70s, frequently resulting in a blend of sounds—from folk to country or experimental. Here, Walker gives a tour of one of music’s most legendary neighborhoods, and explains how this canyon became the stomping ground for so many artists.
“Riders on the Storm: My Life With Jim Morrison and the Doors” by John Densmore
Just what did it take to belong to one of the most raucous bands ever to exist? Densmore spills about his time working as the drummer in The Doors. Readers will enjoy previously unreported details of the band’s creation, hitting the road with the group, and of course, all the juicy Jim Morrison antics.
“Morning Glory On the Vine: Early Songs and Writing” by Joni Mitchell
Originally crafted as a holiday gift for loved ones, this book is comprised of illustrations and handwritten lyrics and poems from Mitchell’s early career. Rare is it to enter the creative mind of such an influential musician; this book serves as a lens into her wide-reaching talent and skill.
“Eve’s Hollywood” by Eve Babitz
The Joan Jett to Didion’s Carole King, Babitz gets messy in the all the best ways. In this essay collection, Babitz ricochets from the Chateau Marmont to taco joints and everywhere in between in one of the most unflinching examinations of the L.A. scene during the late ’60s and early ’70s. No seatbelts required.
“Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother, and Beyond” by Chris Hillman
Helping to put Laurel Canyon on the map, The Byrds, co-founded by Hillman, ushered in the popular country-infused rock sound of the late 1960s and 1970s. Here, the musician recounts his time in the The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and a fabulous life spent in canyon.
“Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation” by Sheila Weller
Believe it or not, 1970s Los Angeles was not entirely a boy’s club, thanks to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Carole King—and their East Coast counterpart, Carly Simon. Here, these trailblazers get the treatment they’ve long deserved in this rich history, without the cringey pandering.
“Tom Petty: A Rock And Roll Life” by Nick Thomas
An extensive review of the hitmaker’s life, Thomas takes readers from a hot-and-humid upbringing in Florida to the hallowed canyons of Los Angeles. Warning: You won’t be able to turn off anything by Petty for weeks after reading this one—but that’s not a bad thing.
“Not Fade Away: A Backstage Pass to 20 Years of Rock and Roll” by Ben Fong-Torres
Memorialized in “Almost Famous” Fong-Torres’ influence on rock journalism is, in fact, “crazy.” The former Rolling Stone journalist is partially responsible for installing the publication at the mantle of progressive and impactful reporting that was immersive. His work often catapulted readers to the front rows and backstage of concerts they might only dream of attending. Here, Fong-Torres collects some of his most sensational celebrity interviews while exposing the story behind the story.
“Shakey: Neil Young’s Biography” by Jimmy McDonough
Is anyone more synonymous with Laurel Canyon than Neil Young? Probably not. From his childhood in Canada to the co-founding of Buffalo Springfield and later, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, McDonough provides a comprehensive review on the man behind so many timeless songs.