15-year-old Lori Maddix was locked in a closet by Robert Plant lead singer of Led Zeppelin because he treasured her so much that he didn’t want any other musician using her as a muse. At 15 I wasn’t even allowed to go to concerts by myself.
music in the 70s was creative risky and different from anything anyone had heard before. Of course, you needed Mick Jagger, Robert plant, and Jimi Hendrix, but who made them into rock stars causing mad hysteria? The fans.
I have listened to countless interviews, read articles, researched the music and analyzed the lyrics. I have heard from bystanders, the groupies themselves, and their love interests… the rock stars. I want to share the information of groupie’s stories and teach the overlooked history of rock n roll.
So, let’s set the scene for this time period of sex drugs and rock n roll.
It was a time of oppression, activism, and change. Women, African Americans, native Americans, gays lesbians, disabled fighting for equality. Antiwar movements, Watergate scandal.
This was a very different time. No car seats, rubbed whiskey on sore gums, and didn’t make kids wear helmets. It would probably make every modern-day parenting book author vomit. Kids were allowed a lot more freedom with no cell phones and curfew of “come home when its dark”. This freedom prepared them pretty well for being agents of change. The start of change? Music. Parents burning records because people on the television told them to, but kids hearing their idols to question authority. It was a constant battle between conservative tradition and progressive movements for change.
On the interview “life of a groupie” they asked Lori how her parents would have reacted to her stories. Her were so wide and her hands were all frantic “They would have died.” And here is why…
Groupies were just as known as the stars in the 70s. They had stories that if you pictured happening to you gives you chills. Tana was a heroine in her own show. He was on the beach after shooting she saw some guy walking towards her and said, “You shouldn’t be walking alone on the beach.” and she replied “I’m not alone anymore.” That was Elvis. She was 17 he was early 20s. One night they were sitting in Grant Park and he proposed. She said she’d think about it and took the ring he gave her. She explained she couldn’t accept because it would be hard on his career. She said with all the people that were around him he was the loneliest man shed ever met, but her loss was rock n roll’s gain.
Cassandra on the other hand was less settled down and usually unnoticed until one night she made her aunt take her to the hotel they found out Led Zeppelin was staying in. Her and a friend went to every floor and every door listening to see which one they’d hear music in. They found one and knocked Jimmy Page opened the door looking moody. She was on the music scene ever since.
Pamela des barres sitting between Robert and jimmy page watching Elvis is a story she talks about as “indescribable. being a part of something so big and knowing how huge it is”
Michelle Oterman was with Steven Tyler and Robert plant – Steven Tyler went to the same high school with Michelle. He was 18 and she was 16. She left him saying she was too young, too many people, too many drugs. Michelle was friends with Pamela Des Barres another groupie having had met through the band. Michelle was starting a relationship with a very married Robert Plant and Pamela was with jimmy at the time. Michelle met Robert the day after she turned 18 and that night began a long-time affair, but they never ended up together.
Catherine James had a child and Mick Jagger fell in love with them both. She met Mick Jagger at a party and they were instantly attracted. She said the music they were playing in the living room filled the old house making it full. She became his girlfriend and moved in with him, which is a line groupies usually didn’t cross. He went on tour and called less frequently. She saw he was with a new girl. Catherine called his house and Bianca answered. She hung up without saying a word. She said she wanted to leave it as an amazing memory, no hard feelings. He kissed her goodbye and she left.
These love stories, wild parties, and even creation of families all began with rock n roll. These groupies were reasons songs and art were created. The idea of freedom and living for music was their reality. Imagine living out any of this with your heart throb today. It is kind of crazy to think about. These women weren’t side chicks they were muses. For that reason and the incredible legacies of rock n roll they left behind I believe they will always have an important place in history.