Almost Famous
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The film is based on Cameron Crowe's early life. Crowe excelled academically and was skipped ahead two grades at elementary school, as William is in the film, which made him much younger than the other students in his class. He began to write rock music articles, first for his school paper, and then for the fanzine The San Diego Door, and the magazines Creem and Circus. He met the editor of Rolling Stone on a trip to Los Angeles and aged 16 had his first cover article, which he wrote whilst following the Allman Brothers tour of 1973.

Stillwater is a composite of bands and musicians who Cameron Crowe met whilst working at Rolling Stone. It is said to be likely that guitarist Russell Hammond is based on Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers, who Crowe went on tour with in 1973.

Stillwater's songs were written by Peter Frampton, and Crowe and his wife Nancy Wilson, guitarist in the rock band Heart. Wilson also did the original music for the film -- the acoustic pieces you hear.

And while there is no connection between the two, there was also a real band called Stillwater, active from 1972-83, who were known for their hit "Mindbender." The "real" Stillwater were signed to the recording label Capricorn Records. Capricorn became famous for its role in spearheading Southern rock in the seventies, with The Allman Brothers Band at the forefront, but also including the Marshall Tucker Band, Elvin Bishop and Wet Willie, among the more successful bands. Cameron Crowe was able to get permission to use the name 'Stillwater' after screening the film for the band. Stillwater's regional success began as the momentum of Southern Rock waned. Capricorn went out of business in 1982, leading to their demise. They continue to play annual "reunion concerts" and released "Running Free" in 1997.

The character Penny Lane is based on two women who were linked with rock stars in the mid seventies, Pennie Lane AKA Pennie Trumble and, to a lesser extent, Bebe Buell.

Bebe Buell was a former Playboy Playmate who had relationships with Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page and Steven Tyler. She is the mother of Liv Tyler.

Pennie Lane was the lead member of The Flying Garter Girls, five groupies who toured with many bands over a three year period in the early to mid seventies. She has a website at

Not to be confused with the documentary filmmaker Penny Lane (

The list of songs are found on imdb here.

However, you can find the corresponding scenes to these songs here.

Because William is a "reporter" for a major music publication (though he's younger than most reporters are when they first start out), the band's fear is that he'll be too truthful in presenting them to the public and perhaps be inaccurate, at least in the way they perceive themselves; they didn't want to come off as egotistical, self-indulgent or simply uncool. A first article for a band can either sink or boost their image & the guys in the band wanted to come off as an act that earned their image through hard work, talented song writing and playing & touring. At one point, Jeff Bebe remarks that Rolling Stone "ripped every album [Led] Zeppelin ever did" meaning that their reviews were unflattering or perhaps unfair. (Although Rolling Stone did originally give some of Led Zeppelin's albums negative reviews, in recent years they have changed their stance, even dedicating a issue to the band in 2006, calling them "the Heaviest Band of All Time.")

The Bootleg Cut, which runs approx. more than 36 minutes longer than the Theatrical Version, features entirely new scenes, extended scenes and last but not least alternate scenes. The Theatrical Version contains exclusive footage as well but we're usually talking about extensions of a couple of frames or (in most cases) shorter alternate shots. That's why the Extended Version ought to be preferred if you have the time. A very detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.

Russell was the only member who was in focus, the rest of the band were faded into the background. The anger over the t-shirt started the argument between Russell & Bebe, who'd felt for a while that Russell was becoming too popular and was overshadowing the band.

Interestingly, the tshirt design resembles the cover of Bad Company's 1977 album, Burnin' Sky.

Because he was on drugs and therefore paranoid that William, who was following him everywhere and taking notes, could have been a narcotics officer, who are usually younger than they look.


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