Wednesday, December 20, 2017

An all too brief history of Groupies

The term groupie has its etymology in (musical) group and describes a person (usually a female) who seeks sexual and or emotional intimacy with a celebrity (or other authority figure). Attraction to celebrity is immense and has a long history and was no less apparent during the 50s and 60s when groupies themselves available sexually to pop stars. During the 1960s the decadent lifestyle of many stars became publicly known, aided by the growth of the underground rock press which documented these excesses in an exploitative fashion. The distinction has been made between fans wanting a brief sexual encounter and groupies or road wives who traveled with musicians for extended periods sharing the object of their desire’s social life. In the case of the former the Grade A Groupie would submit only to their object of desire i.e. lead singer whereas a group follower was much more promiscuous. One particular attraction groupies had was they often came with supplies of illicit substances. This circumvented the need for the performers carrying illegal drugs across borders. Groupies would use drugs as an incentive to get to the objects of their desire and by the seventies the favoured groupies had the best drugs. Access to band members was not always easy and many groupies would work their way from favouring the road crew, then the band management before eventually pleasuring group members themselves. Competition was fierce and many girls became career groupies pandering to every possible sexual whim in order to court the world’s top musicians.

The majority were status seekers hoping to be seen in the blaze of the Paparazzi on the arm of a well known musician. US groupies seemed to enjoy greatest notoriety with Miss Pamela (aka Pamela Des Barres born Pamela Ann Miller); Cynthia Albritton aka Cynthia Plaster Caster; and Penny Laine and The Flying Garter Girls the best known.

Miss Pamela had alleged fidelities with Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet), Frank Zappa Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, The Byrds, Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Nick St. Nicholas, Noel Redding, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, and many others.

Cynthia Albritton is an artist and started collecting plaster of paris casts of penises belonging to rock stars. It was a gimic which started with Paul Revere and the Radiers and by the time they perfected the technique Jimi Hendrix had his “Hampton Wicks” captured in gypsum and the rest is as they say history. The usual routine was the sitter got a blow job and whilst in full erection Cynthia would cast their member. Notables to be immortalised include Jeff Beck, Led Zepplin’s John Bonham, Richard Cole and Robert Plant, Noel Redding, Chris Connolly, Keith Moon, Jello Biafra and Ritchie Blackmore. Later Frank Zappa became Cynthia’s patron as an artist and her celebrity grew. The Flying Garter Girls (Marvelous Meg, Sex Sandy, The Real Camille, Caroline Can-Can and Penny Laine) were from Portland Oregan and started in 1972 and soon became the “Ultimate in Entertainment for Entertainers.” Over the years there have been many songs dedicated to groupies. Cynthia Albritton alone has inspired four songs, two from KISS i.e. "Plaster Caster" and "Love Gun"; with 10CC (The Hospital Song) and Jim Croce (Five Short Minutes) also in her honour.

"She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" is reference to the day a few “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. The "Apple Scruffs" were a group of teenage girls who stocked the Beatles' outside Apple Corps offices.

In George Harrison’s All things must pass reference is also made to the Apple Scruffs.

Despite the debauchery which went on behind the scenes there was little reference to sexual proclivities in the lyrics of most pop and rock songs but all that seemed to change with the new order of hip hop and rap. As the old rockers cleaned up their act the young fry got down and dirty.

Worth a listen
Rolling Stones
Ruby Tuesday (1967)
Stray Cat Blues (1968)
Star Star (1973)
Some Girls (1978)
Little T and A (1981)

Led Zeppelin
Livin' Lovin' Maid (she's just a woman) (1969)
Sick Again (1975)

Mott the Hoople
Rock And Roll Queen (1969)

King Crimson
Cadence and Cascade (1970)
Ladies Of The Road (1971)

Wishbone Ash
Queen Of Torture (1970)
Jailbait (1971)

Tony Joe White
Groupy Girl (1970)

Al Stewart
Carol (1975)

The Allman Brothers Band
Little Martha (1972)

Pink Floyd
Stay (1972)
Summer '68 (1972)

Jim Croce
Five Short Minutes (1973)

Dr Hook
Rolland the Roadie and Gertrude the Groupie (1973)

Grand Funk Railroad
We are an American Band (1973)

Neil Sedaka
The Queen of 64 (1975)

Ian Hunter
Once Bitten Twice Shy (1975)

Barclay James Harvest
Sip Of Wine (1978)

Go Down (1977)

Famous Groupies (1978)

Barclay James Harvest
Sip Of Wine (1978)

All Night Long (1979)

Michael Jackson
Billie Jean (1982)
Dirty Diana (1988)

I Go Crazy (1984)

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