Fanny have always rocked on their own terms. Whether writing pro-choice anthems in 1970 or using mini pads to dampen their drums in 2017, the first all-women band signed to a multi-album major label contract have broken ground for decades. Battling racism, sexism, and homophobia, the group founded by Filipino American sisters June and Jean Millington finally receives a fitting tribute in Bobbi Jo Hart’s joyful documentary.
Fanny: The Right To Rock begins in present day with the recording sessions for the band’s comeback album as Fanny Walked The Earth, before traveling back in time to the late ‘60s. Putting their own spin on sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, the film’s highlights are its stories of smoking hash with Mick Jagger or recording in the nude with Todd Rundgren.
With members nearing age 70, it’s wonderful to see Fanny connecting with a new generation of listeners. Yet the largest question to come out of the documentary is what happened to keyboardist Nickey Barclay, who released one S&M-infused solo album in 1976 before disappearing. Without Barclay’s voice in the film, we’re left with only rare online interviews to fill in the blanks about her alleged blacklisting. Did everyone have the right to rock?