Fanny Bandmates Will Reunite on Stage for Concert and Film Screening Tour
Including 50th Anniversary Concert at Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles on May 17
Groundbreaking all-female rock band Fanny, hailed as the “Female Beatles”, is celebrated in this joyous film featuring interviews with musicians including Bonnie Raitt, Todd Rundgren, Kathy Valentine, John Sebastian, Cherie Currie, Charles Neville, Kate Pierson and others.
We are proud to announce in partnership with PBS the May 22 broadcast premiere and streaming launch for the critically-acclaimed documentary Fanny: The Right to Rock. The film, directed by Bobbi Jo Hart and winner of the coveted Hot Docs Audience Choice Award, chronicles the life and revival of this groundbreaking all-female rock group in 1970s America, revealing the fascinating untold story of a phenomenal band that were dubbed the “female Beatles”. Fanny: The Right to Rock will premiere on PBS nationally Monday, May 22, 10 p.m. ET, and stream on PBS.org and the PBS app.
Sometime in the late 1960s, in sunny Sacramento, two Filipina American sisters got together with other teenage girls to play music. Little did they know their garage band would evolve into the groundbreaking rock group Fanny, the first all-women band to release an LP with a major record label (Warner/Reprise with Grammy-winning producer Richard Perry). Despite releasing five critically acclaimed albums over five years, touring with famed bands from Slade to Chicago and amassing a dedicated fan base of music legends including David Bowie, Fanny’s groundbreaking impact in music was written out of history… until now.
With incredible archival footage of the band’s rocking past, intercut with its revival with a new rock record deal, the film includes interviews with a large cadre of music icons, including Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, Bonnie Raitt, The Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine, Todd Rundgren, The Runaways’ Cherie Currie, Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian, The B-52s’ Kate Pierson, Charles Neville and David Bowie guitarist and bassist Earl Slick and Gail Ann Dorsey. Fighting early barriers of race, gender and sexuality in the music industry, and now ageism, the incredible women of Fanny are ready to claim their hallowed place in the halls of rock ‘n’ roll fame.
Dennis Harvey of Variety hailed the film in his review writing: “Fanny: The Right to Rock remains thoroughly engaging thanks to the demonstrable talent and brassy forthrightness of its central personalities. There’s no whiff of “nostalgia act” to their current music — these women are born rock lifers who clearly never stopped evolving creatively, even if the hoped-for commercial rewards never quite arrived.”
“I am honored to celebrate the untold story of Fanny’s vital – yet buried – contributions to Rock & Roll with the public,” says the award-winning director Bobbi Jo Hart. “Just like Sister Rosetta Tharpe inspired Elvis, Fanny shattered the glass ceiling of the genre to lay crucial groundwork for future bands of women to succeed, from The Runaways to The Go Go’s, and continue to do so today. Fanny deserves nothing less than to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2024.”
In the December 1999 Millennial issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, David Bowie hailed Fanny: “One of the most important female bands in American rock has been buried without trace: Fanny. They were one of the finest rock bands of their time… They’re as important as anybody else who’s ever been, ever…. Revivify Fanny. And I will feel that my work is done.”
Leading up to the May 22 PBS premiere, a series of special events with Fanny will be taking place in Los Angeles and across California. The highlight event will feature the reunion of Fanny bandmates at the famed Whisky A Go-Go nightclub on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles for a 50th Anniversary concert on May 17. Special guests will join bandmates June Millington, Jean Millington, Brie Darling, Alice de Buhr and Patti Quatro on stage for this special night.
On the eve of the concert on May 16, the Grammy Museum will host an exclusive screening of the film at the Clive Davis Theater, followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Bobbi Jo Hart and Fanny bandmates.
Fanny: The Right to Rock will premiere in May during Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, along with a new American Masters film Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV premiering May 16, at 9 p.m. ET. Throughout May, PBS will also encore other great films that shine a light on AAPI experiences and filmmakers including Rising Against Asian Hate, Independent Lens’ Free Chol Soo Lee, Independent Lens Hidden Letters, American Masters Waterman – Duke: Ambassador of Aloha, American Masters Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir, Independent Lens The Donut King and additional titles streaming on PBS.org.
Fanny Tour Events
Fanny in Concert
UC Riverside, Culver Center of the Arts
Friday, May 12
RSVP for this free event
Fanny: The Right to Rock screening
Tuesday, May 16
Fanny in Concert
Whisky a Go Go
Wednesday, May 17
Fanny: The Right to Rock CAAMFest screening
SFMOMA Phyllis Wattis Theater
Friday, May 19
Directions in Sound: Fanny and Friends at CAAMFest
Yerba Buena Gardens
Saturday, May 20
More information about this free event
Fanny: The Right to Rock Sacramento screening
Monday, May 22
RSVP for free screening
The 50th anniversary concert at Whisky A Go-Go is made possible in part with support from AARP.
About Fanny: The Right to Rock
The film is written and directed by Bobbi Jo Hart and co-produced by Bobbi Jo Hart and Robbie Hart. Executive producers include Katherine Buck, Bobbi Jo Hart, Anne Pick, Catherine Bainbridge, Ina Fichman, Randy Lennox and Glen Salzman. Director of Photography is Claire Sanford. Editor is Catherine Legault. Music by Fanny. Original music & sound mix by Daniel Toussaint. Online post-production by Digital Cut.
About Director Bobbi Jo Hart
Bobbi Jo Hart is an award winning American/Canadian documentary filmmaker with Adobe Productions International, based in Montreal, Canada. With a career that has spanned 25 years, Hart has filmed in countries as diverse as Pakistan, Russia, Guatemala, Australia, Scotland, and Zimbabwe — with subjects ranging from women’s professional soccer and tennis to classical music, comedy, dance and manic depression. Her documentary films have the most common thread of revealing untold stories of marginalized girls and women, weaving universal threads of dreams, family, love, loss, happiness, sadness, success, failure, and determination. Her intimate, cinema verité style results in thought-provoking films that ultimately celebrate our shared humanity.
Prior to FANNY: The Right to Rock, her previous feature documentaries Rebels On Pointe and I AM NOT A ROCK STAR premiered at dozens of worldwide film festivals and were broadcast on networks in many countries, including BBCFour, SVT Sweden, ABC Australia, Documentary Channel. Both films won many festival awards as well. Hart’s previous award-winning films include SHE GOT GAME: Behind-the-Scenes of the Women’s Tennis Tour (LIFE Network, Starz), which had exclusive access during over a year on tour.
Fanny: young women who were self-taught musicians, accomplished rock instrumentalists and singers who reached a level of success previously unheard of for a rock band composed solely of women, was a remarkable achievement.
As the first all-female rock act to record an album for a major record label,Fanny was the first all-female rock act to rise to real prominence in the US and Europe. Acknowledged by both the press and their many fans as an awesome live act – in the words of Steve Peacock, a top UK music journalist of the era, “if you close your eyes, it’s like listening to the Stones” –Fanny toured tirelessly for up to nine months of every year. Releasing five critically acclaimed albums from 1970 to 1975, FANNY had a string of hit singles and also played on the studio recordings of some legendary artists including Barbra Streisand. In addition to their many live gigs, they performed on top music and variety television shows of the time including the BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test, the Sonny and Cher Show, American Bandstand and The Beat Club, Germany’s most famous band program.
The four original members of FANNY were June Millington (guitar, vocals), Jean Millington (bass, vocals), Alice de Buhr (drums, vocals), and Nickey Barclay (keyboards, vocals).
The Center for Asian American Media is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible. We do this by funding, producing, distributing and exhibiting works in film, television and digital media. For over 40 years, CAAM has exposed audiences to new voices and communities, advancing our collective understanding of the American experience through programs specifically designed to engage the Asian American community and the public at large.
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Fanny: The Right to Rock Film Reviews
“Fanny: The Right to Rock” remains thoroughly engaging thanks to the demonstrable talent and brassy forthrightness of its central personalities. There’s no whiff of “nostalgia act” to their current music — these women are born rock lifers who clearly never stopped evolving creatively, even if the hoped-for commercial rewards never quite arrived.” Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Intense hard rock. Searing guitar solos. Serious strutting on stage with no sexual posturing. These aren’t things you often associate with female musicians. So props to Bobbi Jo Hart, whose documentary Fanny: The Right to Rock puts the spotlight on the groundbreaking all-women rock group that too few people have ever heard of. Credit racism, sexism and homophobia to consigning this outfit of excellent musicians, the first women’s band to secure a record deal with a major label, to near oblivion.” Susan G. Cole, POV Magazine
“Hart’s wonderful uncovering of this exhilarating piece of queer/Filipino/female/music history was way past due and makes for such compelling viewing.” Roger Walker-Dack, Queerguru
“Hart’s film pays overdue tribute to Fanny. This affectionate documentary should garner the band a whole new set of fans….” Gary M. Kramer, Gay City News
“Hart’s uncovering of this exhilarating piece of queer/Filipino/female/music history is way past due and makes for compelling viewing.” Roger Walker-Dack, Edge Media Network
“An illuminating documentary on the sexism, racism, ageism and homophobia that confronted members of Fanny, which many consider the first all-female rock band.” Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
“Bobbi Jo Hart’s energetic documentary shines a light on one of the greatest, most forgotten all-female rock bands in music history.” Sydney Urbanek, The Spool
“If you’re a fan of music, true stories, or just girls rocking out, I recommend giving “Fanny: The Right to Rock is a glorious love letter to a band that should’ve had a lot more fame and hits than they were handed. It’s a powerful spotlight that’s shone directly on a band that could’ve been swept under the rug by the passing of time.” Lee Butler, Movie Meister Reviews
“A terrific and eye-opening documentary and an amendment to misconceptions.” John Doyle, The Globe and Mail
“Fanny: The Right to Rock is essential viewing for every student of rock history, not to mention feminism.” Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle