Sweet, Sweet Connie
She's name-checked in Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band," and for good reason. "Sweet" Connie Hamzy has spent quality time with everyone from the Rolling Stones to Slipknot and remained a groupie well into her fifties."So I'm out on the tour bus, smokin' dope and blowing roadies," the legend from Little Rock told Spin magazine, "and who comes into the back lounge?" The unexpected answer: Neil Diamond. Later, according to Hamzy, "his manager says he wants to see me in his dressing room. So I knock on the door, and there's Neil waiting for me in a blue robe."
A model, singer and November 1974's Playboy Playmate of the Month, Bebe Buell never identified herself as a groupie, but she hooked up with rock stars ranging from Mick Jagger and David Bowie to Elvis Costello and Iggy Pop. She also sits at the center of rock's most famous baby-daddy love quadrant. From 1972 to 1979, Buell lived with Todd Rundgren, and in 1977 she had a baby girl, christened Liv Rundgren. Years later, it was revealed that the baby's real father was Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, and in 1991 Buell's daughter changed her name … to Liv Tyler.
Starting as a 14-year-old "baby groupie," Sable Starr wore glam rock fashion to draw attention to herself at places like the Whiskey a Go Go and the Rainbow Bar in 1970s Los Angeles, She caught the eyes of Rod Stewart, Alice Cooper, Marc Bolan, David Bowie and Mick Jagger (then married to Bianca, who once got in Starr's face and told her to get lost, as the groupie proudly recalls). Iggy Pop immortalized Starr in his 1996 song "Look Away." By then she'd become a dealer in Reno, Nevada, where she sadly died of brain cancer in 2009.
We all have hobbies—stamp collecting, bird watching, whatever. But in the late '60s, Cynthia "Plaster Caster" Abritton took up a truly unique pastime—making plaster casts of rock stars' erect penises. Her first subject was Jimi Hendrix (when that cast cracked, she named it "the Venus de Milo"). She later hung with Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton and Keith Moon and inspired the 1977 Kiss song "Plaster Caster." Abritton, who describes herself on her official website as a "recovering groupie," ran for mayor of Chicago in 2010.
A budding music journalist from an affluent New York family, Cleo Odzer was engaged to rocker Keith Emerson in 1969—a year before the advent of Emerson, Lake & Palmer—when Time magazine dubbed her a "Super Groupie." He called off the engagement. Soon after that, Odzer recorded "The Groupies," an album of interviews in which groupies talk about "making piggies"—a euphemism for sex that somehow never caught on. She later became a model in Europe, a hippie in India and finally an anthropologist, after earning a Ph.D from the New School of Social Research. She died in India in 2001, at age 50.
Only Rock 'n Roll
Anita Pallenberg has the distinction of putting a wedge into the Rolling Stones. The Italian-born actress was in a tumultuous relationship with Brian Jones from 1965 to 1967, when she left him for Keith Richards while the three were on vacation in Morocco. The resulting rift led to Jones' departure from the band shortly before his drowning death in 1969. Pallenberg reportedly also hooked up with Mick Jagger during production of "Performance," a trippy 1970 crime drama in which they co-starred.
Here I Go Again
You didn't hear so much about groupies in the '80s, and Tawny Kiaen is perhaps better known as an actress, having kicked off her film career as Tom Hanks' wife-to-be in the 1984 comedy "Bachelor Party." Still, the sultry seductress found time for Tommy Lee, Duran Duran's John Taylor and Ratt's Robbin Crosby. Kiaen also showed up in several Whitesnake videos, which makes sense—she was married lead singer David Coverdale from 1989 to 1991.
Cathy Smith has a complicated story. The legal secretary and backup singer is notorious for fatally injecting John Belushi with heroin and cocaine in 1982. Back in the '60s, however, she was a groupie linked almost exclusively with The Band. Pianist Richard Manuel proposed to her (she turned him down), and Smith became pregnant with what was referred to as "the Band baby," since nobody knew the exact identity of the father. A few years later, she was both mistress and employee to Gordon Lightfoot, who wrote the 1974 hit "Sundown" about her.
She’s a Femme Fatale
Nico is hardly a groupie—with the Velvet Underground, she was a rock icon in her own right—but she bedded rock stars with the best of them. The German singer's conquests included Lou Reed, Brian Jones, Iggy Pop and Jim Morrison. It was her relationship with a young Jackson Browne, however, that led Nico to record one of the most beautifully haunting ballads of the '60s,"These Days," which Browne wrote for her. She died in 1988, at age 49, after suffering a heart attack while riding a bicycle on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
Mud Shark Incident
It's the most notorious groupie tale of all—and the hardest to pin down. In 1969, according to the 1985 book "Hammer of the Gods," Led Zeppelin defiled an unnamed groupie with a mud shark at Seattle's Edgewater Inn. But some say Vanilla Fudge, also in town for the Seattle Pop Festival, was responsible for this peculiar act of debauchery, and that John Bonham was the only Led Zep member present. Still other sources suggest that the "mud shark" was in fact a red snapper, as though that somehow makes the story more palatable.
The Ultimate Groupie
Pamela Des Barres turned being a groupie into a full-fledged career. In 1969, she was one of the GTOs, an all-groupie band. She later published two memoirs, and in 2013 she introduced a fashion label, Groupie Couture. Among her lovers: Keith Moon (the "freakiest"), Jimmy Page (the best) and Mick Jagger ("thrilling, naughty, sexy"). Her most memorable experience? As Des Barres told The Independent: "I was 17 and heard 'The End' playing from a house nearby … I wandered over to this house to find Jim Morrison standing next to his refrigerator in unzipped leather pants, no shirt, looking the epitome of rock god, singing along to his own record." She did backbends on his Persian rug but didn't sleep with him. "He was always a one-woman man."
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