Fanny: The Right to Rock Image

Fanny: The Right to Rock

By Dan Lybarger | May 22, 2023

As great as Fanny’s recordings still sound, Hart exhaustively documents why the band hit a wall commercially. Record labels apparently didn’t know how to sell an all-female band who didn’t wear sexy outfits on stage or sing more than simple love songs. The band also had to combat a host of prejudices that their male peers never had to face. Sexism wasn’t the only unfair issue they faced…

When the Millingtons and Darling’s European and Filipino ancestry was discovered, relationships fell apart. In addition, Fanny: The Right to Rock dives into the pressures June Millington and Alice de Burh faced as lesbians. It’s easy to share de Burh’s frustration and sorrow about having to hide her identity while also struggling to be taken seriously as a musician. So June Millington quit the band, and that’s when the talented Quatro took her place. “Butter Boy” was starting to receive airplay when the band splintered permanently… well, actually, not so permanently.

“…especially poignant…”

Much of the film follows Fanny as they record a 2018 reunion album with their chops remarkably intact. These women are justifiably upset about being unfairly passed over but delighted to prove their worth yet again. June Millington still has nimble fingers that can run up and down a fretboard without the slightest hint of strain. Jean Millington’s voice is as good as ever, and she can still lay down a solid bass groove.

The film is sadly missing comments from Barclay, who didn’t cooperate with Hart. She’s contributed to the work of Joe Cocker and other musicians and is currently retired. Her testimony might have added additional depth to an already engrossing narrative. But even with parts of the story remaining a mystery, there’s plenty to chew on here.

Sadly, bad luck appears to have been as much an issue for Fanny as a negligent or malicious music industry. Shortly after the reunion album was finished, Jean suffered a stroke and has been struggling to regain her mobility. Fanny: The Right to Rock includes information on how to contribute to her medical expenses. Fanny has endured a lot in making their albums, but thanks to Hart, we won’t have to work as hard as Joe Elliott did to appreciate them.

Fanny: The Right to Rock (2022)

Directed and Written: Bobbi Jo Hart

Starring: June Millington, Jean Millington, Alice de Buhr, Brie Darling, Patti Quatro, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Fanny: The Right to Rock Image

"…[Fanny] is as good as ever..."

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