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, 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

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.

Sable Starr

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."

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Lori Mattix

Lori Mattix – also known as Lori Lightning – was another baby groupie who frequented the happening Los Angeles scene in the 1970s. According to Far Out Magazine, Mattix was enthralled by her classmate Sable Starr, and the two hit the Sunset Strip nightclubs every weekend. As Mattix told Thrillist in 2015, David Bowie invited her and Starr to his hotel room when she was 15. There, she claimed, "He escorted me into the bedroom, gently took off my clothes, and de-devirginized me."

That same year, Mattix met Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page at a hotel party. He was immediately smitten with her. The band's manager later picked her up in a limousine – a situation she likened to being kidnapped – though she relaxed once she saw Page. "It was perfect," she told Thrillist, "He mesmerized me. I fell in love instantly." The two dated for some time, with Page calling every day and even asking her mother's permission. Though their relationship ended, Mattix still considers Page one of her greatest loves.

Speaking about her groupie days, Mattix told Thrillist: "That time of my life was so much fun. It was a period in which everything seemed possible. There was no AIDS and the potential consequences seemed to be light ... I saw the greatest music ever. I got to hang out with some of the most amazing, most beautiful, most charismatic men in the world. I went to concerts in limos with police escorts. Am I going to regret this? No."

Bebe Buell

Tall and stately, Bebe Buell told Cameron Crowe in a 2001 interview with Talk Magazine (via The Uncool), that she was not a groupie but rather "a patron of the arts." Indeed, Crowe's "Almost Famous" character Penny Lane was partially inspired by her. According to Buell's autobiography "Rebel Heart," she grew up in Virginia, dated Paul Cowsill of The Cowsills, and declined a limousine ride with Jimi Hendrix at 15.

After high school, she moved to New York and became a model who dabbled in the city's nightlife. "I always had fantasies of being some kind of artist. A performer, a 'somebody,'" Buell wrote in her autobiography, adding, "People always wanted to have sex with me, instead of wondering what I thought or felt. That was painful. I wanted to be taken seriously as a viable commodity, not a piece of a**." 

But sparks flew in 1972 when she met rocker Todd Rundgren. The two had an on-again-off-again relationship for years, and, when not together, Buell posed for Playboy and had dalliances with some of the biggest names in rock, including Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Jimmy Page. As she told Rolling Stone in 2018, her brief relationship with Steven Tyler resulted in the birth of her daughter, actress Liv Tyler. Buell is now a musician herself, writing songs about female empowerment. "It was the guys that made the fuss," she told Talk Magazine, adding, "I would have been perfectly happy just loving the music."

Pamela Des Barres

From an early age, Pamela Des Barres lived and breathed rock 'n' roll. According to her now-legendary 1987 memoir, "I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie," she grew up in the heart of Los Angeles, where she became infatuated with artists like Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger. This fascination soon led her to Sunset Strip, a hangout for famous musicians traveling through L.A.

Her groupie life began when she met Frank Zappa, who convinced her to join an all-girl band called The GTOs, which stood for Girls Together Only. The group released just one album in 1969, but it thrust Des Barres into the limelight. Over the years, she spent time with rock's biggest stars, including Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, Keith Moon, Waylon Jennings, and Jim Morrison.

When asked about her lifestyle, Des Barres asserted that it was liberating. "I was a proud girl," she told Get Me Giddy in 2021, adding, "I took my birth control pill out of my purse and took it in front of people on the Sunset Strip, which is feminism." She also never found being a groupie demeaning. "A groupie is someone who loves the music so much she wants to be around the people who make it," she told The Guardian in 2018, adding, "I hope that people will see my life as the choice for freedom. The choice for allowing sex to be a gorgeous, exquisite part of your life as opposed to something scary."

Cynthia 'Plaster Caster' Albritton

Even in the groupie world, Cynthia Albritton is considered something of an enigma. As Rolling Stone notes, the Chicago native's fascination with rock music began at a young age. She discovered bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones and later became infatuated with the alluring men who made the music she loved. But when she was 19, her mother discovered her revealing diary and threatened religious and psychiatric intervention. So Albritton moved out.

According to In Music We Trust, she got the idea to make plaster casts of rock star genitalia in her college art class when her teacher suggested making a mold of a solid object. It provided the perfect in for Albritton, who desperately wanted to sleep with famous musicians but was too timid to approach them. "What I was looking for was an excuse to talk about it," she told Rock Confidential in 2004, "You know when the subject would arise then maybe something else would rise! That would be responsible for the seduction because I just wasn't capable of it. I was too shy and dorky."

Her plan worked. Operating alongside a second girl who assisted with the casting process, Albritton's artistic endeavor set her apart from other groupies. As All That's Interesting notes, Jimi Hendrix was her first high-profile rock star cast. She then went on to produce around 50 such sculptures and, per Rock Confidential, later cast breasts as well. Her creations have been displayed at multiple art museums.

Roxana Shirazi

According to her no-holds-barred memoir, "The Last Living S***," Roxana Shirazi was born in Iran during a time of political unrest, spent time in prison with her mother at six months old, and moved to England to start a new life in 1984. There, she endured racism, culture shock, and physical abuse at the hand of her stepfather before finding solace in rock music at age 11.

A dancer, feminist, writer, actress, and intellectual, Shirazi made a name for herself as both a journalist and groupie, accompanying bands like Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe on tour. She thoroughly embraces her sexuality and resents the sexist culture of s***-shaming, which celebrates male promiscuity while punishing the same behavior in women. "A female's pursuit of sexual pleasure and sexual adventure is still seen as a negative characteristic, somehow making her a bad human being," she wrote in the forward of her memoir, adding, "A female is not defined in terms of her humanity, but in terms of her sex life."

As she explained to hosts Chanty and Lynx on their podcast "Muses" in 2019, she was drawn to the spirit of rock 'n' roll in her 20s but found the fame-related power imbalances and misogyny disconcerting. "I want to let go and be free and be wild," she explained, adding, "I want to be rock 'n' roll. But sometimes I can't; I'm not allowed to be."

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Morgana Welch

Morgana Welch embraced the more mystical aspects of 1970s groupiedom. According to Please Kill Me, she was born in Phoenix, Arizona to a single mother who worked as a model. The family found their way to Los Angeles, where 16-year-old Welch ditched high school to hang out with her best friend, Tyla, on Sunset Strip. As she explained in an interview with Punk Globe, Tyla lived right down the street from the famous Hyatt House – also known as the Riot House – where many popular musicians stayed when they traveled through town.

Both girls soon joined forces with the now-legendary pack of baby groupies known as the L.A. Queens and spent many nights partying with the members of Led Zeppelin and other bands (per Please Kill Me). Welch was all about the music and claimed to connect with the artists by dancing at their shows. "They loved it when we would dance," she told Please Kill Me in a 2018 interview, adding, "It was that deep identification with their music."

In addition to physical intimacy, Welch also dabbled in astrology and spirituality, played guitar, cooked for the bands, and cultivated her trademark earthy aesthetic. She was a hippie spirit who enjoyed the free love aspect of mingling with musicians. "It was magical, like being on drugs," she told Please Kill Me when asked to describe her life as an L.A. Queen, adding, "We just enveloped in this world, it was their world, but you were part of it."

Connie Hamzy

Also known as Sweet Connie, Connie Hamzy was an outgoing girl from Arkansas who dreamed of becoming a famous groupie. Per Ultimate Classic Rock, she got her wish in 1973 when Grand Funk Railroad immortalized her in their song "We're an American Band," which featured the line: "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."

According to her interview with CBS THV11, Hamzy's groupie adventures began when her mother dropped her off early for a Steppenwolf show to avoid traffic and parking hassles. Bored, 15-year-old Hamzy found her way backstage, where, as she explained, "one thing led to another." In an interview with Joan Rivers 21 years into her groupie career, Hamzy claimed that she had slept with around 500 rock musicians — all while working as a substitute teacher.

When a confused Rivers asked her why she chose this life, Hamzy explained: "This is what I want to do, this is what I've always wanted to do. Because they're [the musicians and their crews] my dearest friends, they're basically my family." Over the years, Hamzy spent time with many bands, including Queen, KISS, and The Eagles. Van Halen even took her on tour in 1988. And, according to a 2010 interview with Howard Stern, she almost hooked up with Bill Clinton at one point.

Chris O'Dell

Chris O'Dell's autobiography, "Miss O'Dell," opens with the words: "I wasn't famous. I wasn't even almost famous. But I was there." And indeed, she was. According to, O'Dell's legendary rock 'n' roll journey began when she left her quiet hometown of Tucson, Arizona for the excitement of Los Angeles in 1966. Two years into her new California life, she was offered a job at Apple Records, The Beatles' record company.

The 20-year-old O'Dell sold everything she owned to buy a plane ticket to England for what would become the adventure of a lifetime. She spent two years at Apple Records and became familiar with all the members of The Beatles, sitting in on many key moments of the band's now-iconic career. She sang in the chorus of "Hey Jude" and was even commemorated in George Harrison's song "Miss O'Dell." She then worked as a tour manager for groups including The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Queen, and Led Zeppelin.

O'Dell maintains that she was not a true groupie as she always had a job to do while on the road. But history remembers it differently. "Where there is rock music and drugs the sex just follows automatically," she told The Daily Mail in 2009. Over the years, she slept with Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, and Mick Jagger among others. Regarding her dalliances with Jagger while serving as The Rolling Stones' tour manager, she explained, "I guess it was part of the job."

Tura Satana

"Groupie" was just one of the many hats the legendary Tura Satana wore throughout her storied life. According to The Guardian, her childhood was marked by tragedy. She was born in Japan to two artistically-inclined parents: a silent film actor and a circus performer. Upon moving to the United States in 1942, Satana and her father were imprisoned at a Japanese internment camp for several years. Then, at age 9, she was the victim of a horrific sex crime while living in Chicago. When justice wasn't served, she allegedly took matters into her own hands by visiting revenge on each attacker.

In a 2008 interview with Zuri Zone, Satana revealed that she began working as an exotic dancer at age 15. Her moves caught the attention of rock 'n' roll's king, Elvis Presley. "Elvis and I dated for a little while when he was starting out," she told Zuri Zone, adding, "He used to love to watch my dance routine, just so that he could copy some of my moves for his routine on stage. When he wanted to get married, that's when we stopped seeing each other."

As The Guardian notes, Satana also dated the famous crooner Frank Sinatra. She then went on to star as the iconic go-go dancer Varla in 1965's sexually-charged cult classic "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" – a role that allowed her to channel her inner rage and cemented her place in pop culture.

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Nancy Spungen

According to Nancy Spungen's mother, Deborah Spungen, in her memoir "And I Don't Want to Live This Life," Nancy was always a handful. Deborah claims her daughter was volatile and impossible to control, once attacked her with a hammer, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 11. She sent Nancy to both a mental facility and a boarding school, but neither seemed to help. "It seemed as if every week she got wilder," Deborah wrote. "Our morality meant zero to her. She would simply step over the line, draw a new one, and then step over that ... It was ugly and distasteful and we hated to see such a bright child throw her life away – trash it, really. But we were powerless to stop her."

According to New York Magazine, Nancy left home at 17 and made her way to New York City where she found a place in the 1970s punk scene. She befriended musicians through drug dealing and sex work. Before long, she began dating the Sex Pistols' bassist Sid Vicious. The two were deeply in love, but both were misusing drugs. Shortly after moving in together, 20-year-old Nancy was found stabbed to death. Vicious was blamed, but, as he soon died of a heroin overdose, the exact circumstances of her death remain a mystery.

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Uschi Obermaier

Uschi Obermaier was a free spirit with her own agenda. According to Rocks Off Magazine, she grew up in Munich, Germany. Her beauty was discovered at a young age and she became a famous model practically overnight. This was good news for Obermaier. As she told The Independent in 2007, she was bored with her sleepy hometown and mundane childhood and craved excitement, usually finding it through drugs and rock music. Her good looks and love of partying soon won her favor with famous musicians, and she became one of Germany's most in-demand groupies.

One of Obermaier's most memorable suitors was legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix. "He was the most beautiful of all my men," she told The Independent, adding, "Making love with Jimi was one of the most profound experiences for me." As Rocks Off Magazine notes, she also joined The Rolling Stones on their 1975 tour and, per The Independent, bedded both Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Oddly enough, Obermaier is most famous for her later relationship with political activist Rainer Langhans, who convinced her to join him at a minimalist leftist free-sex youth collective called Commune 1. The two posed semi-nude in a magazine, bringing public awareness to the commune. The political group later disbanded following a fatal shooting at another group's demonstration.

Cathy Smith

According to All That's Interesting, Cathy Smith became the designated groupie of The Band in the 1960s and toured Canada with them. By age 17, she was pregnant. Unsure which group member was the father, she referred to her unborn child as "the Band baby." As The Globe and Mail notes, she later gave the baby up for adoption.

When Smith met singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, the two had an on-again-off-again relationship for years that involved cheating, jealousy, and at least one instance of physical abuse. It's rumored that Lightfoot's big hit "Sundown" was inspired by his time with her. "Cathy was a great lady," he told The Globe and Mail, adding, "Men were drawn to her, and she used to make me jealous. But I don't have a bad thing to say about her."

Things took a dark turn when Smith got into drugs. According to All That's Interesting, she worked as both a groupie and drug dealer for The Rolling Stones in the 1970s. She then started dealing – and using – drugs full-time. One of her clients was comedian John Belushi. In 1982, Smith sold him a speedball – a dangerous mix of cocaine and heroin – and injected it for him as he was too afraid to do it himself. Belushi overdosed and she was blamed for his death. Smith served 15 months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

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. If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Cherry Vanilla

Cherry Vanilla spent so much time with rock stars that she decided she wanted to be one. According to her autobiography, "Lick Me," she was born Kathleen Anne Dorritie in New York City. As she explained in a 2018 interview with Please Kill Me, her mother worked at several Manhattan hotels – including the one that housed the famous Copacabana Nightclub – and young Dorritie became entranced by all the glitz and glam of showbiz.

Soon, she sought her own way into the business. She worked as a DJ, invented her Cherry Vanilla alias, became David Bowie's publicist, and starred in an Andy Warhol play. A true feminist at heart, Cherry Vanilla saw no problem with being sexually liberated even if it meant people called her a groupie. "I didn't even know what a feminist was when I started living my life the way I lived it," she told Please Kill Me, adding, "I didn't see the barriers. I didn't mind using my sexuality, my looks, or even sex, sometimes."

In a 1983 interview with Rian Keating, Cherry Vanilla stated that she loved every aspect of show business. Naturally, this eventually extended to becoming a performer herself. As Please Kill Me notes, she fronted her own punk band alongside Sting and Stuart Copeland, who would go on to form The Police. "Sex is something everybody can have," she told Please Kill Me, adding, "But having your own band ... not many people can do that ... So those moments are maybe better than sex."