The origins of HBO’s new drama series, Vinyl go back 20 years, when Mick Jagger first mentioned his idea for a film about the record industry to his pal Martin Scorsese.
Bobby Cannavale plays record company boss Richie Finestra in the series which begins in New York in 1973 as former mobsters are cottoning on to a potential new racket in the music industry. Bands like the New York Dolls are beginning to take the city by storm, there is money to be made, but not necessarily legitimately.
Executive producer Mick Jagger had envisioned a three-hour production spanning 4 decades, made for the cinema. Years on, his idea has finally been realised for television by screenwriter and producer Terence Winter, The Sopranos' writer and executive producer.
He wrote the screenplay for the Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street and he created the series Boardwalk Empire, whose pilot was also directed by Scorsese .Vinyl does not have to dig too far in the dirt to uncover the system of “payola”, by which record companies effectively bought the chart positions of their various artists, although of course it was all hush hush.
“We got really screwed in the Sixties,” Jagger tells The Telegraph, speaking of the series. “So I had to become involved. As the Sixties went on and it became the Seventies, I got really involved with the record companies and how they worked; who was good, who was bad, who paid who, who screwed who, who ended up with the money.”
Winter set the drama in a key year, 1973, “the year that punk, disco and hip hop were all invented within about a six-month period of each other, within five miles of each other in New York City,” he explains.
Jagger’s son James plays the menacing front-man of a fictional punk band, the Nasty Bits, and the series also stars Juno Temple, whose father Julian began his film career with the Sex Pistols.
Vinyl begins on Sky Atlantic on February 15