A version of this story about “Daisy Jones & the Six” music supervisor Frankie Pine first appeared in the Down to the Wire: Drama and Limited Series issue of TheWrap’s awards magazine.
The music came first. Before actors were hired and before directors and designers and crew members came on board, “Daisy Jones & the Six,” the limited series from Amazon’s Prime Video, hired music supervisor Frankie Pine, who brought in a list of music producers that included songwriter-producer Blake Mills. Pine got the job, Mills got the job and the production got to work creating the rock milieu of late 1960s through late 1970s Los Angeles.
“We wanted to make sure that ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ fit within that time period,” Pine said. “We wanted our music to stand out on its own, but we also wanted it to stay within the palette of that time. I wanted it to feel like [the band] Daisy Jones & the Six were there with Fleetwood Mac and Boston and all the other classic ’70s rock bands, that they were all on the charts together.”
Partly, that meant working with Mills to make sure the new songs he wrote (with the help of Marcus Mumford and others) would have the right feel. Partly, it meant putting a group of actors in “band camp” so they could credibly play the music.
“I always feel that anything can be taught, especially to actors, but I’d never seen such an incredibly dedicated group of people working to learn what they needed to learn,” she said of actors that included Riley Keough as Daisy Jones and Sam Claflin as Billy Dunne.
“There were no tricks at all,” Pine said. “I remember going to one of the band camps when it was getting close to shooting. Sam had just been cast and he only had three or four weeks to prep. I specifically went through all the tricks that we could do: ‘I can get a hand double, I can do this, I can do that.’ And every single one of the actors was like, ‘I don’t want to do that.’ It really kicked them into high gear as to what they had to do to pull it off.”
The actors ended up having the benefit of COVID delays that stretched a few weeks of prep into more than a year and enabled them to not only perform the music, but do it live. “We were sitting in Blake’s studio going through a scene where we were asking Riley to go back in and do a little fix on something,” Pine said. “I showed her the scene and she looked at me and said, ‘Oh, my God, you’re so sneaky.’ I said, ‘What?’ She goes, ‘That’s live, isn’t it?’ And I said, ‘Yes, it is.’”
She laughed. “I made sure that every take and every performance had a live microphone so that we could capture those breaths and those things that make you feel like you’re watching a live show.”
But the show also had to surround the Daisy Jones songs with material that captured the range of the era depicted in Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2019 novel and the adaptation spearheaded by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. The episode for which Pine was nominated, “Looks Like We Made It,” is typically wide-ranging: In addition to a number of those new (but old-sounding) Daisy Jones songs, it includes a couple of rock classics (“Ballroom Blitz” by the Sweet, “More Than a Feeling” by Boston), some funk and disco (“Give Up the Funk” by Parliament, “Hollywood Swinging” by Kool & the Gang, “The Bump” by Floyd Smith), a bit of soft pop (“Let Your Love Flow” by the Bellamy Brothers), some early new wave (“In the City” by the Jam) and some true obscurities (“Stand Up and Meet Your Brother” by Possum River, “Gasoline Road” by Randall Breneman & Lincoln Grounds, “Honey Suckle Song” by Ray Stinnett).
“Scott and I really wanted to dig up some gems and show that there were so many different genres of music in the ’70s,” she said. “That’s why you’ll hear Barry Manilow, you’ll hear the Beach Boys, you’ll hear lots of different things. We wanted it to cross every genre of music, including the beginning of punk music.”
In fact, the theme that plays at the beginning of each episode is Patti Smith’s “Dancing Barefoot,” which came out at the end of the 1970s and presents an image of a strong female singer-songwriter pointing the way forward. “We picked a song specifically from that time period because we wanted to show the evolution of music,” Pine said. “We start in the ’60s with Daisy and Billy and progress up to the moment when the band breaks up. And we really wanted our title song to be reflective of a later time period.”
Basically, if Billy Dunne and Daisy Jones might have been listening to it, Pine and the producers wanted to include it. “We wanted to show that our band was listening to what was happening, you know?” she said. “So ‘Give Up the Funk’ is something they would’ve played at a party even though it’s not music that they do themselves.
“We wanted to show that there was a plethora of music out there,” she concluded. “One of my favorite parts of the job is digging up those special gems and trying to find spots for them. When you do a little digging, you find stuff where you just go, ‘Dang.’”