The Most Famous Groupies Of Classic Rock
The following article includes allegations of domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual assault, and drug and alcohol misuse.
For most, groupie is a derogatory term. According to MusicalExpert.org, a groupie is basically an extreme fan who devotes considerable energy to following and attempting to engage with their celebrity of choice. Methods of engagement vary from keeping a healthy distance to full-blown stalking. Some groupies are content with a selfie or autograph while others seek out physical intimacy.
By far the most famous groupies were the liberated young women of the 1960s and ’70s. As Fashion Magazine notes, these ladies – who considered themselves muses as much as intimate partners – inspired the fictionalized "Band Aids" in Cameron Crowe’s movie "Almost Famous," which showcases the rock music heyday of the 1970s. It was a time of evolving gender roles, emerging feminism, and sexual freedom. Oral contraceptives had only just become mainstream and the AIDS crisis had not yet put a damper on free love (per MusicalExpert.org).
If you ask the women who made the rounds during rock music’s glory days, they’ll claim it was about so much more than sex – though that was certainly part of it (per Fashion Magazine). Indeed, many musicians have immortalized groupies in their songs over the years, proving that these alluring ladies left an indelible lipstick-stained mark on the music industry. So, who were the women who devoted their lives to sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll? Here are some of the most famous groupies of classic rock.
Every touring musician who passed through Los Angeles in the 1970s knew who Sable Starr was – and likely paid her a visit. According to Far Out Magazine, Starr – born Sabel Hay Shields – hailed from a rich family, had her first sexual encounter at age 12, and started hanging around the Sunset Strip bars when she was 14. "My friend called me up one day and said, ‘Do you wanna go to the Whiskey-A-Go-Go?’" Starr told Legs McNeill and Gillian McCain in their book "Please Kill Me," adding, "And I was nuts to begin with, I always liked getting in trouble, so I said sure."
Starr was quickly hooked. She got a nose job at 15, cultivated her flamboyant fashion sense, and became the reigning queen of L.A.’s baby groupies, so-named for their young ages (per Far Out Magazine). When asked to define the term groupie in a 1973 interview with the teen magazine Star, Starr explained, "It’s someone that meets the groups, goes to concerts with them and takes them around town, and just has a good time with them being their friend."
At age 15, she ran away with The New York Dolls’ guitarist Johnny Thunders. The two had a whirlwind romance that became abusive and ended in an abortion. Starr told McNeill and McCain in "Please Kill Me" that she left the groupie scene after the toxic relationship, stating, "Johnny tried to destroy my personality … After I was with him, I just wasn’t Sable Starr anymore."
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.