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Pamela Des Barres
Pamela Des Barres, one of the inspirations behind the movie Almost Famous.
Des Barres hooked up with Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, and countless others before memorializing it all in a memoir called I'm With The Band.
Pamela Des Barres with Alice Cooper. Los Angeles, California, 1974.Richard CreamerMichael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Pamela Des Barres
In 1973, 25-year-old Pamela Des Barres was dating Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page.
But on June 3, the couple attended an after party at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco on the Sunset Strip — and Page left with teenager Lori Maddox.
Los Angeles, California, June 3, 1973.Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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The "Baby Groupies"
Underage groupies pose in front of Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco.
This was a well-known place for rockers to pick up "baby groupies": underaged girls, some as young as 12, waiting to become a rock star's prey.
Los Angeles, California, 1974.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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The "Baby Groupies"
Led Zeppelin's limo drives away from Rodney Bingenheimer's, packed full of underaged girls.
Los Angeles, California. 1972.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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The "Baby Groupies"
The scene at Rodney Bingenheimer's club was loud, colorful, and young. And by 1973, it became so well-known that NBC news anchor Tom Snyder ventured there to interview the clubbers as they danced through the night.
American DJ Chuck E Starr (second left) with groupies at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco, circa 1973. Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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The "Baby Groupies"
Rodney Bingenheimer poses with a couple of young groupies at his club. Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco became so popular that Bingenheimer himself would earn the nickname Mayor of the Sunset Strip.
Los Angeles, California, 1972.Elterman/FilmMagic
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Fifteen-year-old Lori Maddox made headlines when she started dating Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.
Page's relationship with the young girl was a scandal at the time, but he was hardly the first rocker to take an interest. Lori Maddox says she lost her virginity to David Bowie when she was even younger.
Lori Maddox with Jimmy Page. Los Angeles, California, June 3, 1973.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Lori Maddox arrives at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco with Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
Los Angeles, California, June 3, 1973.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Maddox at Rodney Bingenheimer's with the members of Led Zeppelin and friend and fellow groupie Sable Starr.
Sable Starr, who had been sleeping with rockers since she was 12 years old, introduced Maddox to the groupie scene. Maddox says that, when Jimmy Page invited her over, Sable Starr threatened, "If you touch him, I will shoot you. He's mine."
Los Angeles, California. 1973.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Lori Maddox and Sable Starr pose together with Slade guitarist Dave Hill.
Lori Maddox and Jimmy Page split up when she caught him in bed with another groupie, Bebe Buell.
Los Angeles, California, 1973.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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The end of Lori Maddox's relationship with Jimmy Page wouldn't mean the end of Maddox's days as a groupie. She'd spend the next few years of her life moving through the biggest names on the music scene at other clubs on the Sunset Strip.
Lori Maddox (second right) among a group of female clubbers at the Whisky a Go Go.
West Hollywood, California, 1975. Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Lori Maddox with New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain backstage at the Whisky a Go Go on Sunset Boulevard.
West Hollywood, California, 1975.Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Sable Starr, the best-known of the "baby groupies," with Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls.
Iggy Pop would write about his flings with Sable Starr and the moment she left him for Thunders in his song "Look Away":
I slept with Sable when she was 13,
Her parents were too rich to do anything,
She rocked her way around L.A.,
'Til a New York Doll carried her away…"
New York City, New York, circa 1970s.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Sable Starr (left) with New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane in Los Angeles, circa 1973. Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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By the 1980s, Sable Starr was starting to move on with her life. Johnny Thunders often beat her brutally, and the dark realities of being a child groupie came out in public.
"He tried to destroy my personality," Starr would later say. "After I was with him, I just wasn't Sable Starr anymore."
Sable Starr with Stiv Bators. Los Angeles, California, circa 1980s.Virginia Turbett/Redferns/Getty Images
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The "Redlands" Groupies
A pack of groupies greet Brian Jones as he steps out of court.
Jones had been caught with these women and a stash of marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines.
United Kingdom, 1967.Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
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Rock and roll groupies weren't limited to America and England though. Here, Alice Cooper poses with several groupies after a concert at Hamburg Reeperbahn, Germany, 1970s.Helmut Reiss/United Archives via Getty Images
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Cynthia Plaster Caster
Cynthia Albritton, best known as Cynthia Plaster Caster, was immortalized in the Kiss song named after her and her strange hobby: She developed a reputation for not only sleeping with rock stars, but for keeping plaster molds of the band members' members.
Here, Cynthia Plaster Caster clings tightly to a box filled with her collection.
Bebe Buell, the mother of Steven Tyler's daughter Liv Tyler.
Steven Tyler wasn't Buell's only love. She claims to have hooked up with everyone from Elvis Costello to Mick Jagger to Rod Stewart.
Bebe Buell with Stiv Bators. Los Angeles, California, 1979.Brad Elterman/FilmMagic/Getty Images
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For years after she was born in 1977, Liv Tyler thought her father was Todd Rundgren, pictured here with Tyler's mother Bebe Buell.
It wasn't until she met Steven Tyler when she was 10 or 11 and noticed a similarity that she asked her mother about the truth, which didn't become public until 1991.
Knebworth, United Kingdom, August 1976. Michael Putland/Getty Images
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Before she was Sid Vicious's girlfriend, Nancy Spungen was a groupie, following bands like the New York Dolls and the Ramones around the world. She ended up with Sid Vicious after Vicious' Sex Pistols bandmate Johnny Rotten turned her down.
The romance would cost Spungen her life. On October 12, 1978, Sid Vicious stabbed her to death with a knife in New York's Hotel Chelsea.
Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious. New York City, New York, 1978.Allan Tannenbaum/IMAGES/Getty Images
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Sex Pistols guitarist Paul Cook with two women.
Nancy Spungen wasn't the only groupie that followed the band around.
Location unspecified, 1978. Lynn Goldsmith/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images
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Few groupies have affected music history as much as Anita Pallenberg.
When Pallenberg left Brian Jones for his Rolling Stones bandmate Keith Richards, Jones sunk into depression and heavy drug abuse. Within a year of losing Pallenberg, he'd be kicked out the band.
Anita Pallenberg and Brian Jones. Munich, Germany, 1966.Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
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Anita Pallenberg with Keith Richards, the man she would eventually marry.
Richards and Pallenberg shared a love for heroin, which got them arrested in 1977 and nearly cost the Rolling Stones another guitarist.
Jagger had The Rolling Stones album Beggars Banquet sent back for remixing when Pallenberg said it wasn't up to par. He also let her sing back-up on the album's best-known single, "Sympathy for the Devil."
Officially, Pallenberg denies ever having been with Mick Jagger.
Lotti Golden with Silky Gage, a woman who has been called both her groupie and her muse.
Silky would be the inspiration for many of Golden's songs, such as "Silky Is Sad."
New York City, New York, 1969.Baron Wolman/Iconic Images/Getty Images
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Annette Walter-Lax and Lori Maddox share The Who drummer Keith Moon's shoulders.
Walter-Lax was the last person with Keith Moon when he died. In his final moments, Moon asked Walter-Lax to cook him a meal and, when she refused, yelled, "If you don't like it, you can f--- off!"
He died of an overdose shortly after.
Los Angeles, California, 1974.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Sweet Sweet Connie Hamzy
Not all American groupies were based in Los Angeles. For years, Connie Hamzy was the most famous groupie in Little Rock, Arkansas, who became associated with Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Bad Company, ZZ Top, and Grand Funk Railroad, which immortalized her in their 1973 song "We're An American Band":
Last night in Little Rock, put me in a haze
Sweet, sweet Connie, doin’ her act
She had the whole show and that’s a natural fact.
Connie Hamzy and Ringo Starr, 1989.Connie Hamzy
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The Butter Queen
And in Dallas, groupie Barbara Cope could be relied upon to show up backstage at any show.
But it was Cope's hotel antics that earned her a nickname so enduring that Robert pined for her onstage and The Rolling Stones mentioned it in a song: The Butter Queen.
Allegedly, while hanging out with The Partridge Family's David Cassidy, Cope called room service and asked for a pound of butter to be brought up to the suite. But to this day, no one has confirmed what she ever did with it. And Cope herself once said, "Those who know, know. And those who don’t, wish they did."
Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, 1968.Barbara Cope/Facebook
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Audrey Hamilton followed Led Zeppelin around the world, flying with them in their private jet "The Starship," and serving as frontman's Robert Plant's muse.
After their relationship fell apart, Hamilton would move on to Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley.
The Starship, 1973.Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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In 1968, Frank Zappa put together The GTOs, a band consisting entirely of groupies and led by Pamela Des Barres. They put out one album in 1969 before breaking up the following year.
Los Angeles, California, 1968.Baron Wolman/Iconic Images/Getty Images
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Cathy Smith broke onto the scene in 1963 as a groupie for The Band, sleeping with so many of its members that when she later became pregnant, she simply referred to the child as "The Band Baby."
Then, after a brief fling with Gordon Lightfoot, she became a groupie/drug dealer for Keith Richards and Mick Jagger while partying in Hollywood with actors on the side — before infamously giving John Belushi a fatal overdose of cocaine and heroin in 1982.
One of the most famous groupies of the hair metal scene, Roxana Shirazi first met a musician when she was 28 and never looked back. And in her book, The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage, she chronicles encounters with members of Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe, Velvet Revolver, Papa Roach, and Skid Row.
But she cautioned against others following too closely in her footsteps as well, once telling The Guardian, "It’s never possible to have full agency [as a groupie]. From the outset, the power structure is not equal. They’re famous, and, unless you’re famous yourself, you’re not on the same plane."Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images
33 Vintage Photos Of Rock And Roll’s Most Famous Groupies
For a rock star in the 1960s and '70s, the groupies came with the territory. They would follow bands on tour, cheering at their shows and fighting for the chance for a backstage pass and a night in a celebrity's bed.
Such groupies are usually nothing more than a footnote in music history, but behind the scenes, they were more than just fans. They were a part of these musicians' lives – and sometimes, they completely changed music history.
Rock And Roll Groupies Who Became Legends
The term "groupie" was coined in the 1960s to describe teenage girls and young women who followed rock and roll bands on tour, many of whom dated rock stars. But no one is certain of exactly where it came from. Some say a journalist created it, others think Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman used it as a code word for the women they met on tour.
What's certain is that by 1960, Rolling Stone blew the lid off the subculture of women making themselves available to touring rock stars with a February 1969 cover story called simply "Groupies and Other Girls."
Inside, the magazine lavished 14,000 words on the phenomenon, showing how integral groupies had become to the lifestyle and music of rock and roll. Some even began influencing the stars themselves.
Rolling Stone photographer Baron Wolman told The Guardian in 2015 that many musicians even started emulating the groupies in their dress, donning flamboyant outfits anchored with fur, feathers, flowers, and stars. "Just look back at pictures of the Rolling Stones," he quipped.
Central Press/Getty ImagesMick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, and Keith Richards at London Airport. December 18, 1968.
There were also some groupies who became minor celebrities in their own right. Women like Pamela Des Barres built up legends of their own. She worked her way through the beds of men like Jimmy Page and Mick Jagger, leading a life that helped inspire Kate Hudson's character in the movie Almost Famous.
"A groupie is someone who loves the music so much she wants to be around the people who make it," Des Barres told The Guardian in 2018.
"A fan is content with an autograph or a look from the stage, or a selfie. A groupie takes the next step. And that takes a lot of courage. But they do so totally willingly, sometimes hoping for a romance, or a one-night stand – or sometimes hoping to marry them."
Other groupies, however, broke up bands. Anita Pallenberg nearly ended The Rolling Stones twice by working her way through the group. When she left Brian Jones for his bandmate, Keith Richards, she sent him into a spiraling depression that would end with him getting kicked out of the band. And not long after, a heroin binge with her new beau, Keith Richards, would see him pleading before a court to stay out of prison.
The Predatory World Of 'Baby Groupies'
Other groupies would find themselves in even deeper trouble. At Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco in Los Angeles, rock stars would browse a selection of so-called "baby groupies" — underaged children who spent their school nights sleeping with grown men. Some of the girls were as young as 12.
This was a scene in which women over 20 were called "old." And one in which during Bingenheimer's after-party on June 3, 1973, following a show at the Forum in Inglewood, Jimmy Page entered with his 25-year-old girlfriend Pamela Des Barres — and left with a 15-year-old named Lori Maddox. Or, perhaps more accurately, Page had her kidnapped.
According to Maddox, Led Zeppelin's manager came up to her and said, "You're coming with me, young lady."
"I wound up in a limo and didn't know where I was going," she told Thrillist. "But it was to the Hyatt. I felt like I was being kidnapped. I got taken into a room and there was Jimmy Page."
Still, she said that the relationship "became so serious that Jimmy asked my mom for permission to be with me" — and then her mother went around saying, "My daughter is like Priscilla [Presley]."
Richard Creamer/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesRodney Bingenheimer, Jimmy Page, Pamela Des Barres, and Lori Maddox at Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco on the night Page will leave Des Barres for Maddox. Los Angeles, California, June 3, 1973.
But it was far from Maddox's first time with a rock star. She'd lost her virginity at 14 to David Bowie — in a threesome with her best friend Sable Starr, who introduced her to the world of rock and roll in 1972.
In fact, Sable Starr, a girl who had been sleeping with rock stars since she was 12 years old, was known as the "queen of the baby groupies." Starr's life of scandals would be immortalized in the lyrics of an Iggy Pop song Look Away:
I slept with Sable when she was 13
Her parents were too rich to do anything
She rocked her way around L.A.
'Til a New York Doll carried her away.
But these women were more than just the sex that went with the drugs and the rock and roll. They were muses. They inspired songs. They raced through the minds of famous musicians as those stars strummed out the first few notes of a future classic — and more than a few groupies were named directly in the lyrics themselves.
These groupies' names might not be well-known, but they've left their imprints all over the history of rock and roll.
After reading about some of the most influential — and infamous — rock and roll groupies, learn the history of hippies and the Mods.