Looking back at the concerts of iconic bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, their enthusiastic fans really stand out. But there are a group of fans that stand out above all the rest – fans who are so dedicated to the musicians that they call themselves groupies.
Some groupies would follow bands and musicians around on tour, while others would religiously visit places like the Sunset Strip in hopes of coming across these rockstars. The groupies that followed famous rock bands often had a big impact on them, whether they were muses for songs or were even romantically involved with the musicians. These are seven of the most memorable groupies in rock ‘n roll history.
Pamela Des Barres
Pamela might be one of the most famous of all the rock ‘n roll groupies. She lived in LA, putting herself in the paths of many popular bands. She had relations with Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, and Waylon Jennings, just to name a few. Pamela saw her role as a groupie as much more than just keeping them company at night. She also took care of the rock stars when they were in town by taking them out shopping, mending their shirts, and just watching TV with them.
She was eventually part of her own band called the Girls Together Outrageously (GTOs), made up of other groupies and organized by Frank Zappa, whose kids Pamela used to babysit. Pamela was supposedly the inspiration for the character Penny Lane, played by Kate Hudson in the movie Almost Famous.
Lori Maddox was called a “baby groupie” for both her age and her lack of experience in the rock ‘n roll scene. Its believed that Lori was even part of the inspiration for Led Zeppelin’s song Sick Again. She was good friends with Sable Starr, another well-known groupie, and the two of them would go to nightclubs on the Sunset Strip to try and find the rockstars who often went to the same venues.
Although Lori was underage, she crossed paths with people like David Bowie, and Jimmy Page, eventually having a long-term relationship with the latter. He apparently tried to keep their relationship a secret, having Lori travel separately from him while on tour, but it eventually came out that he was dating an underage woman. This sparked an FBI investigation, though he was never charged for anything.
Anita Pallenberg was heavily involved with the Rolling Stones, so much so that she is considered by many as one of their muses. Although she is best known for her marriage to Keith Richards, she first dated Brian Jones. She got him involved with LSD, which eventually landed him in the hospital. While he was there, she allegedly cheated on him with her future husband.
Once Anita and Keith got together, she heavily influenced his style. In fact, some of his most iconic looks were clothes he borrowed from Anita. She is also attributed with helping him create the rock persona that he is so famous for. The couple had had three children together, but one of them tragically died in infancy. Their relationship didn’t work out, but they maintained a deep affection for each other until Anita’s 2017 death.
Cathy Smith was a groupie who partied with many different bands, including the Rolling Stones, Gordon Lightfoot, and The Band. She traveled through Canada with The Band, getting pregnant by one of its members. Not knowing who the father was, she referred to the child as “The Band baby.” By the 1970s, she started using her groupie status to sell drugs to various rock stars, while also using them herself.
Although she partied with many famous rockstars, that isn’t what she is remembered for. She is remembered for killing John Belushi. After receiving a call from him one night wanting her to pick up drugs, Cathy met him and administered the drugs. Soon after, he overdosed and she fled the scene before later being connected to his death. She was charged with second-degree murder.
Annette Walter-Lax is best known for her relationship with The Who drummer Keith Moon, and for being the last person to see him alive. Annette was working as a model when she was invited to a party where she met Keith. The two became romantically involved, first living together in Los Angeles and then moving to England.
The pair had a tumultuous relationship as Keith was often aggressive and abusive towards Annette. He also forced her to give up her modeling career. The night he died, they got into a fight and she was too angry to sleep in a bed with him. Annette didn’t find him until the morning after he had died from an overdose.
Sable Starr was called the Queen of Groupies for a reason. Like her friend Lori Maddox, she was also a “baby groupie,” getting involved with rockstars while she was still underage. She spent her nights at clubs on the Sunset Strip like the Rainbow Bar and Grill, Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco, and Whiskey A Go Go. Her fame as a groupie reached a point that rockstars started seeking her out when they came to Los Angeles as they wanted to meet her.
Sable left behind her life as a groupie when she got pregnant by her then-boyfriend, Johnny Thunders of The New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers. He was known to abuse her and was addicted to drugs, but he proposed when she found out she was pregnant. Instead of accepting his proposal, she moved back to be with her family and dropped out of the groupie scene entirely by the 1980s. She felt that after their relationship, “I just wasn’t Sable Starr anymore. He really destroyed the Sable Starr thing.”
Cynthia ‘Plaster Caster’ Albritton
Born Cynthia Albritton in 1947, Cynthia earned her nickname “Plaster Caster” for making plaster molds of famous rock stars’ private areas. The idea started after she was given an assignment in art school to cast “something solid that could retain its shape.” As a longtime rock ‘n roll fan, she decided to use rock stars as her inspiration, while also giving herself something to set her apart from their other groupies.
Word of her unique project spread quickly, and the first rockstar to be cast was Jimi Hendrix. After first starting her collection in 1968, she made casts of over 48 famous rockers, including Wayne Kramer of MC5, Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks, and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys.
Her work has been displayed at two different art exhibitions in New York City, and she also sold replicas of the original pieces. Cynthia Albritton passed away in 2022.