Where would bands be without groupies? Those ‘band aids’ who administer to bands coming through town, who follow them around on tour and even get name checked in songs and end up marrying them. The groupies who are there to root the bands just to get close to them, or who want to be shag them to become famous themselves. We shudder to think of how many girls have fallen for this one, but some of them ended up becoming famous themselves – we raise a red snapper to the world’s best known band-aids!
Pamela Miller Des Barres Growing up in Southern California, Pamela was a member of performance art group GTO’s, who were one of Frank Zappas’s side projects. Releasing an album with them and babysitting for Zappa gave her an entry to the world of rock n’ roll where she soon ‘met’ stars like Jimmy Page, Jim Morrison, Keith Moon, and most of the Rolling Stones. She had vowed to keep her virginity until she fell in love so she was known as quite a hands on experience, who was often silent around them, her mouth otherwise being engaged. She finally lost her virginity to Nick St Nicholas of Steppenwolf, and was married to singer Michael des Barres for a while. Detailing her experiences in the notorious 1987 autobiography I’m With The Band, she has now written several books and also teaches people how to be groupies. Covering all parts of rock n’ roll all through her life, she is now an ordained minister and much in demand for weddings.
Pattie Boyd Pattie was the envy of many a wannabe groupie in the 60s and 70s. The stunning model met George Harrison on the set of A Hard Day’s Night, marrying him shortly afterwards. She managed to get in to bed with John Lennon and Ronnie Wood while married to the Beatle, but in the meantime Eric Clapton – George’s best mate, had a massive crush on her but was dating her 17 year old sister Paula. Paula dumped Eric after he wrote Layla and she could blatantly see it was about her sister Patti, who had also had George write Something about her. She notoriously turned down Mick Jagger before finally relenting and marrying Eric Clapton. She put up with his alcoholism, heroin addiction and affairs until they finally divorced in 1989. Amazingly, he George and Pattie all remained friends. These days she is better known as a photographer and author.
Bebe Buell Another stunning model who was best known for her six year relationship with Todd Rundgren through the 70s; she is supposedly whom Cameron Crowe based the character of ‘professional band-aid’ Penny Lane on in Almost Famous. She also worked her way through members of The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Jimmy Page, David Bowie, and Steve Tyler. Liv Tyler was born as a result of her affair with the Aerosmith front man. After splitting with Rundgren, she also scored further notches in what was left of her bedpost with Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello and John Taylor of Duran Duran. As well as appearing in Playboy, she also put out a bestselling autobiography (everyone had to know) and has played with bands since the 1980s.
Courtney Love Courtney Love was born in the States but grew up in New Zealand and then travelled to Liverpool in the 1980s to work her way through members of Echo & The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explode. She had relocated to the States where she joined and got kicked out of Faith No More and Babes in Toyland while also working as a stripper. She had recently dated Michael Stipe of REM and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins when she met Kurt Cobain in 1990. Kurt didn’t initially fall for her advances but she eventually got her man - Kurt couldn’t resist using Nirvana’s first UK TV performance in 1991 to profess his desire for her by romantically announcing: 'I'd like all of you people in this room to know that Courtney Love, the lead singer of the sensational pop group Hole, is the best fuck in the world.' That plug would see her go on to finally receive fame as a musician with Hole, while also turning her into a media whore and challenging most concepts of sanity.
Cynthia Plaster Caster Cynthia shot to fame by making plaster casts of rock stars’ ‘other band members’ in various states of recetion. She used this unique art to meet musicians but her she hit the big time when Jimi she played foxy lady and cast Jimi Hendrix in 1968. She has racked up a large collection of dicks and boobs and still occasionally casts and gives workshops on how to do it. Tone Deaf actually went to see an exhibition of her ‘work’ in NYC a decade ago and for the record, Jimi Hendrix’s was massive, while Wayne Kramer of MC5 fame must have been very disappointed by his effort which resembled a very cold slug.
Anita Pallenberg An Italian born model and one time habitué of Andy Warhol’s Factory, she hooked up with Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones before settling down with his band mate Keith Richards to have several kids. Rumours have continued for years that she also shagged Mick Jagger. She shared Keith’s love of booze and drugs and was initially arrested when a 17 year old gardener with whom she’d been having an affair, shot himself in her bed in 1979 while Keith was away recording in Paris. It was later ruled a suicide.
Connie Hamzy Perhaps the most famous resident of Little Rock, Arkansas (we’ll get to the most famous one in a moment), she is arguably hardest-working groupie of all. Recorded in perpetuity as the “sweet sweet Connie” in the Grand Funk Railroad song ‘We’re An American Band’. She spent the 70s and 80s providing down home Southern hospitality to all the big bands passing through Little Rock. Claiming to have had sex with Bill Clinton in 1984 when he was Arkansas Governor, she passed a lie detector test. She still is apparently known to hang out backstage at local gigs and has been infamously quoted as saying: “I might be a slut and a whore. But I am no liar.”
Nancy Spungen Nancy was a professional groupie who worked as a prostitute to support her drug habit, while also servicing Aerosmith, The Ramones and the New York Dolls. Aged 19 she went to London chasing after The Heartbreakers, only to meet Sid after being turned down by his band mate Johnny Rotten and supposedly introduced him to heroin. She managed to quickly become hated in London’s punk scene. After the Sex Pistols broke up she and Sid moved to New York City and moved into a room at the Chelsea Hotel. Sid allegedly stabbed Nancy to death in a fight in October 1978, while Vicious himself died of an overdose while awaiting trial for her murder.
Marianne Faithfull A descendent of Leopold von Sascher Masoch, a 19th century Austrian artistocrat who wrote the novel Venus In Furs and gave a name to the practice of Masochism (and a notorious Velvet Underground song), she was discovered as a singer by the Rolling Stones’ manager Andrew Loog Oldham. She promptly divorced her artist husband and after working her way through the Stones, settled on Mick Jagger, who co-wrote with Keith Richards her hit As Tears Go By. She told the NME: "My first move was to get a Rolling Stone as a boyfriend. I slept with three and decided the lead singer was the best bet." After splitting with Mick she descended into heroin and alcohol addiction, notoriously being one of the National Health Service’s then few drug rehab failures. A string of failed marriages and one of her husbands committing suicide didn’t stop her becoming a highly respected singer who still tours today.
Pleather While rock n’ roll is a blur of boys in bands behaving badly and taking advantage of often emotionally vulnerable girls, it’s nice to slightly even the ledger with the story of Pleather, a male groupie of the 80s and 90s around the LA scene. A straight male, he doesn’t have the profile of some of his illustrious female colleagues, however he supposedly was always keen to be a band-aid to the likes of The Bangles, Courtney Love and L7.
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