Definitions

Groupie

Groupie

[groo-pee]
A groupie is a person who seeks sexual and/or emotional intimacy with a celebrity. Groupies are often, but not always, fans of the celebrity they pursue.

What is a Groupie?

Groupie is derived from group in reference to a musical group, but now has more general application. The term "groupie" is often used in a derogatory fashion; however, it can also be used casually and sometimes interchangeably with another word with dual connotations; junkie. E.g., "My husband's the football junkie, but I'm a basketball groupie."

Authority figures

Those who take up positions of authority often find groupies of their own, including Ministers, Medical Doctors and Psychiatrists. Even convicted criminals sometimes have followers – see hybristophilia. A specialised sub-type was generated when the profession of astronaut came into being. Certain groupies in Houston and Cocoa Beach have bragged about seducing "all the original seven" and/or "all the moon-walkers". In the nature of things, these claims are unverifiable.

There are plenty of male-dominated professions and occupations that attract groupies. Police and Firefighters (especially after 9/11), and military servicemen are the most recent targets in the United States. Groupies of this type are sometimes referred to as "Allotment Annies", "debs", "badge bunnies", camp followers, or EIBs (Everyone In the Barracks).

Female groupies

Female groupies in particular have a long-standing reputation of being available sexually to celebrities, pop stars, rock stars and other public figures. In the book Hammer of the Gods (Stephen Davis, 1985), Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant is quoted distinguishing between fans who wanted brief sexual encounters, and "groupies" who traveled with musicians for extended periods acting as a surrogate girlfriend or mother, often taking care of the musician's valuables, drugs, wardrobe, and social life. The GTOs ("Girls Together Outrageously"), with Pamela Des Barres in particular, as de-facto spokeswoman, associated with Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention and other late 60s and 70s stars, and the Plaster Casters are probably the best known groupies of this type. They are sometimes even referred to as "road wives."

In music

Cynthia Plaster Caster inspired the song "Plaster Caster" by Kiss. Though admittedly none of the band members ever encountered her, the song written by Gene Simmons is an homage to her practice of making plaster casts of the genitalia of the musicians she herself encountered.

Michael Jackson's 1988 single Dirty Diana, which got him to the world record of five number-one hit singles from one album, from his album Bad, is about a female groupie called Diana who is pursuing him.

"The Mud Shark" by Frank Zappa was recorded live during a Fillmore East gig in June 1971. The song lyrics reference the infamous shark episode involving some of the members of Led Zeppelin and a groupie that allegedly occurred at the Edgewater Inn in Seattle, Washington on July 28, 1969.

The song Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers briefly concerns over groupies.

Led Zeppelin's Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman) is about a groupie who annoyed the band early in their career.

Pink Floyd's Young Lust from their Concept Album The Wall is about the protagonist seeking gratification from a "dirty woman", apparently a groupie, and One of My Turns describes the breakdown that follows. Summer '68 is also apparently about the experience after an encounter with a groupie.

"Superstar" is a pop song written by Leon Russell and Bonnie Bramlett. It is a love song about groupies, with the story told from the point of view of the groupie rather than from the opinion of the star. The song appears on the Joe Cocker album, Mad Dogs and Englishmen and is sung by Rita Coolidge. It was performed live by Bette Midler on The Tonight Show. In 1971, it was a #2 hit song and Grammy Award nominee for The Carpenters (some of the lyrics were changed to better fit their cleancut image). The song has also been recorded by Luther Vandross, Sonic Youth and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.

Also in 1970, Tony Joe White's "Groupy Girl" was a minor hit on the British charts and elsewhere.

The Dr. Hook song "Roland the Roadie and Gertrude the Groupie" depicts and lampoons/celebrates the groupie stereotype in a tragic romance. "Cover of the Rolling Stone" also notes that the band has "a lot of little teenage, blue-eyed groupies who do anything we say."

"Apple Scruffs" (All Things Must Pass, 1970) by George Harrison was recorded in tribute to a highly dedicated group of teenaged girls who staked out the Beatles' Apple Corps at 3 Savile Row, Abbey Road Studios, and Paul McCartney's home on Cavendish Avenue. The girls often slept outside in rough weather, waiting for a glimpse of a Beatle. The Beatles' song "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window" (Abbey Road, 1969) refers to the day that some of the Apple Scruffs climbed into Paul McCartney's house via an upstairs bathroom window and raided his closet for a pair of pants which they took turns wearing. They also took a framed photograph, which they later returned at Paul's request. A complete description is available in Carol Bedford's "Waiting For The Beatles: An Apple Scruff's Story" (1985).

Paul McCartney and Wings 1978 Album, London Town, has a song entitled "Famous Groupies."

Ian Hunter's "Once Bitten, Twice Shy", (later a hit for the band Great White) is about groupies and musicians. Sample lyric: "You didn't know how rock-n-roll looked/Until you saw your sister with a guy from the group/Halfway home in the parking lot/From the look in her eyes she was giving what she got".

In the 1973 rock song by Grand Funk Railroad, We're an American Band, the band sings about the groupies they encountered while touring. In one verse, the women were referred to as "chiquitas". In another part of the lyrics one famous groupie, Connie Hamzy, was mentioned by her nickname. "Sweet sweet Connie/was doing her act/she had the whole show/and that's a natural fact."

"What's Your Name" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, about a one night stand with a nameless groupie, reached #13 on the single airplay charts in January 1978.

The AC/DC song "The Jack" describes the aftermath of one of Bon Scott's many sexual encounters, this time with one of the band's groupies -- through playing-card metaphors, the song attempts to portray Scott's gonorrhea the following morning. Later, a much more direct version was released, with the metaphors replaced by contemporary English and Australian colloquialisms.

The AC/DC song "Whole Lotta Rosie" celebrates a large groupie that singer Bon Scott encountered. "Never had a woman like you / Doing all the things / Doing all the things you do".

The Guns N' Roses song "It's So Easy", from their debut album Appetite for Destruction, is largely about groupies and the fact that getting signed suddenly increased the band's appeal to them.

The Japanese pop group Pizzicato Five paid homage to the groupie lifestyle in 1994 on a track from their Japan-only album Overdose called "If I Were A Groupie". The song originally featured vocalist Maki Nomiya singing in Japanese over a documentary recording of an American groupie recounting her exploits with glee ("The Groupies", c.1969, produced by Alan Lorber), while a serious Japanese voice delivered a simultaneous translation. The following year the song was re-recorded (presumably for copyright reasons) for the band's second U.S. album release The Sound of Music by Pizzicato Five, with one of the band's U.S. management team providing the "groupie's" spoken words.

Mark Knopfler sings "Well, them groupie girls ain't what they're cracked up to be..." on the song "There'll Be Some Changes Made" from the album Neck & Neck with Chet Atkins.

Alternative metal band System of a Down have a song about groupies in their second album Toxicity. The song is called "Psycho" and here is a characteristic part of the lyrics: "Psycho, groupie, cocaine, crazy/So you want to see the show/You really don't have to be a ho"

Rick James 1981 hit song Superfreak describes encounters with groupies whom he described as the "kind you don't take home to mother."

In 1992, Juliana Hatfield released the album I See You, which included the track "Rider" with the lyrics: "She has no brain at all/Her head's about to fall/People always laughing/In her face and behind her back...You stupid groupie/You stupid slut/By the time you're bruised and bloody/Have you had enough?/Or is there any blood left in you/Or are you really just a whore?/Do you think about what you've been doing/Or don't you wanna know?"

In 1971, King Crimson released the album Islands, which included the track "Ladies of the Road", which is supposedly about groupies, although fans have suggested that the song might be a joke.

Snoop Dogg has recorded a song "Groupie Love" 213 with Nate Dogg and Warren G.

Chamillionaire has recorded the track "Industry Groupie" which features in his second album "Ultimate Victory".

Tech N9ne recorded a song off of his EverReady album from 2007 entitled "Groupie" about on the road touring travels about groupies.

In film

  • Perhaps the best-known work dealing with groupies is the 2000 Cameron Crowe movie, Almost Famous. The film's groupie character, Penny Lane (played by Kate Hudson), is modeled after two women that Crowe knew, one of whom was the model/singer turned super-groupie Bebe Buell and the other a West Coast-based groupie who actually called herself Pennie Lane. The Penny Lane character denies that she is a groupie, saying that "Groupies sleep with rock stars because they want to be near somebody famous". She refers to herself and her friends as "Band Aides", young women who love and inspire rock music. Penny Lane also states that the Band Aides do not have sexual intercourse with musicians, but rather "only blowjobs". In another scene, a groupie called Sapphire (played by Fairuza Balk) looks at rival groupies backstage and observes "They don't even know what it is to be a fan. You know, to truly love some silly little piece of music or some band so much that it hurts."
  • Groupie Girl (US-title: "I am a Groupie") is a 1970 film by Derek Ford.
  • In Pink Floyd The Wall (the Young Lust and One of My Turns pieces), a team of groupies led by Jenny Wright's character infiltrates Pink's backstage. Jenny's character succeeds in getting to Pink's hotel room only to be driven out by his rage-filled breakdown.
  • In the movie Bull Durham, Susan Sarandon played a character named after groupies called Baseball Annies.
  • In the 2002 comedy movie, The Banger Sisters, Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn both play middle-aged women who were groupies on the Sunset Strip in the 1970s. Hawn's character, Suzette, is an unemployed bartender, still wild as ever and somewhat delusional about her importance as a groupie. Sarandon's character, Lavinia, had re-invented herself by marrying a wealthy lawyer with political ambitions. She's become a suburban housewife who doesn't want her family to know that she was a groupie as a youth. They meet up 30 years later in Phoenix, Arizona and the encounter forces them both to come to grips with their past. The Banger Sisters was originally slated for release around the same time as Almost Famous but held back. Interestingly, Kate Hudson, who plays groupie Penny Lane in Almost Famous, is Hawn's daughter.
  • In School of Rock, Summer adamantly refuses to be given the role of 'groupie' as she says: "I researched groupies on the Internet. They're sluts! They sleep with the band!" To which all she gets in reply from Dewey Finn: "No....they're like cheerleaders."
  • In the biopic Sid and Nancy, Chloe Webb portrays Nancy Spungen, a punk and rock band groupie prior to becoming the girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious.
  • Nell Campbell played a groupie in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In the opening titles, she is credited as "Columbia: A Groupie", and fawns over the main character, a mad scientist.
  • Shelley Plimpton' (mother of Martha Plimpton and former wife of Keith Carradine) played a sad little groupie hoping for sex with Arlo Guthrie in Alice's Restaurant.
  • Throughout Still Crazy, the middle-aged drummer of fictitious British rock band Strange Fruit is pursued by a business-suited groupie whom he erroneously believes to represent the Inland Revenue Service.

In print

Carol Bedford wrote a book about her experiences as one of the Apple scruffs, an unusually dedicated group of fans who waited for the Beatles outside Abbey Road studio for several years during the late 60s and early 70s. These "groupies" did not seek a physical relationship with the Beatles; they just wished to be near them whenever possible, and to assist them in any way they could. Her book, "Waiting For The Beatles: An Apple Scruff's Story" (1985) is now somewhat hard to find. George Harrison wrote a song for them, "Apple Scruffs", on his album, "All Things Must Pass", and some of the "scruffs" were even recruited to sing backup on Beatles songs such as "Across the Universe."

Pamela Des Barres wrote two books detailing her experiences as a groupie, I'm With The Band (1987) and Take Another Little Piece of My Heart: A Groupie Grows Up (1993), as well as another non-fiction book, Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon. Her most recent book, Let's Spend the Night Together (2007), is a collection of wildly varied interviews with classic "old school" groupies including Catherine James, Connie Hamzy, Cherry Vanilla, Dee Dee Keel, Margaret Moser, and Patti Johnsen as well as modern groupies like Lexa Vonn and the Plastics. Des Barres, who married rock star-actor Michael Des Barres, scored a coup for the book when she got cult actress Tura Satana, rock muse Bebe Buell, actress Patti D'Arbanville, and Cassandra Peterson (better known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark) to talk about their relationships with musicians.

Bebe Buell wrote a book about her experiences entitled Rebel Heart. Buell has gone on record as saying she does not consider herself a groupie. However, she is still labelled as such and often associated with them in books like Pamela Des Barres' Let's Spend the Night Together. Buell prefers to be called a muse, a fair term given her serious relationships with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, Todd Rundgren, and Elvis Costello and her musical pursuits. Her daughter with Steven Tyler is actress Liv Tyler.

Karrine Steffans authored Diary of a Video Vixen. The book detailed her liaisons with famous hip-hop stars and athletes as well as the time she spent as a video girl and groupie. Steffans is the voice of a new breed of groupies, those that work within the industry and enjoy its perks with gusto.

Morgana Welch, an attractive privileged Los Angeles teen, had relationships with Randy California, Led Zeppelin, Roy Harper, and other artists in the early 1970s. Her exploits at the Whiskey A Go-Go and other L.A. hotspots during the Strip's glam glory days of the Seventies are recounted in Michael Walker's book Laurel Canyon and on her website Hollywood Diaries, as well as her upcoming book of the same name.

Margaret Moser, veteran rock journalist for the Austin Chronicle, has written extensively about her groupie experiences. The leader of a GTO's-like gaggle called the Texas Blondes, Moser was inspired by critic Ann Powers' 1993 New York Times story to initiate an acclaimed Groupies panel in 1993 at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, and repeated it at Carla DiSantis' Rockrgirl Conference in Seattle, Washington in 2000. She is the author of three books including Rock Stars Do The Dumbest Things.

Catherine James, actress and model, writes about her life as a throwaway teen who found adventure as a groupie in the upcoming Sixties memoir Dandelion. James was not only celebrated in life and song by such musicians as Jimi Hendrix and John Mayall, she and Moody Blues/Wings' Denny Laine had a son. After a career modeling with Wilhelmina agency in New York, James relocated to Los Angeles, sometimes working as stand-in for Diane Keaton.

Connie Hamzy, the Little Rock, Arkansas groupie immortalized in Grand Funk's "We're An American Band", unexpectedly found the spotlight back on her when it was revealed former President Bill Clinton dallied with her. Long known for her wild exploits with the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and other bands, Hamzy still resides in Little Rock, keeping a reasonably low profile until the next group rolls into town. Hamzy's book Confessions of Rock Groups, co-written with Bob Andrews, is out of print but rumored to be available again soon.

Francie Schwartz's book Body Count describes her brief romance with Paul McCartney during the making of The Beatles ("White Album") in 1968.

Germaine Greer, the feminist writer and academic, told the New York Times in an 1971 interview that she had been a supergroupie. "Supergroupies don't have to hang around hotel corridors", she said. "When you are one, as I have been, you get invited backstage. I think groupies are important because they demystify sex; they accept it as physical, and they aren't possessive about their conquests.

Chris Brown has spoken about groupies in the outtakes of the October issue of Vibe, stating: "I don't talk to groupies. I don't like groupies. Groupies have an agenda. I don't like a girl with an agenda- a negative agenda. Groupies have a tendency to either want something from you, your pockets, your money, or they want you to put them on in some way. They don't think about you as a person."

References

External links

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