On the Mount Rushmore of iconic rock songs in movies, there are scenes that stand alone. “Layla” in Goodfellas, “Bohemian Rhapsody” in Wayne’s World, “All Star” in Shrek, and, of course, “Tiny Dancer” in Almost Famous. That legendary scene came to life on national television on Tuesday when the cast of the impending Almost Famous musical—which opens on Thursday on Broadway—performed it on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Taken from the critical juncture in the 2000 semi-autobiographical film based on Cameron Crowe‘s experiences as a teenager writing for Rolling Stone, the scene finds the fictional Stillwater in the midst of the “all is lost” moment. During a fraught inter-band squabble after Russell Hammond (Chris Wood) ditched the group to declare himself a “golden god” at a house party, the band reconnects over the Elton John classic. As the joyful reconciliation plays out in the tour bus, William Miller (Casey Likes) tells the leader of the “band aids” Penny Lane (Solea Pfeiffer) “I have to go home”, only for her to respond “You are home.” Count the headlights on the highway.
A Performance from Almost Famous: “Tiny Dancer”
The film’s subject and author Cameron Crowe also sat for an interview with Fallon, who starred as Dennis Hope in one of his first big screen roles (catapulting him to classics like Taxi and Fever Pitch). One of the interesting tidbits the journalist-turned-screenwriter brought was Fallon’s handwritten suggestions for what to name the film.
Crowe revealed that his original intention was to name the movie with four unpronounceable symbols a la Led Zeppelin. When Dreamworks squashed the idea, Fallon jumped in to help, suggesting such titles as I’m With The Band (an actual 1987 book by Pamela Des Barres, the legendary groupie who allegedly inspired Penny Lane), Vinyl Days, The 33 Incher, Doing It, and many more, none of which carried the staying power as Almost Famous.
Crowe also invited Fallon to reprise his role of Dennis Hope onstage, which would unfortunately put “wonderful actor” Jakeim Hart out of a job. “I’ll talk to Jakeim,” Fallon assured Crowe as he accepted the offer.
Cameron Crowe Nearly Gave Almost Famous a Led Zeppelin-Inspired Name