Being a die-hard music fan, I enjoy memoirs and autobiographies by groupies and WAGS (wives and girlfriends)–the lovely ladies who inspired many of the songs we love. What about those who work in the music industry or became part of the band’s inner-circle? They’re included, too, because these gals kicked some serious ass.
Have a peek at some of the books I’ve read over the years in case you’re interested in purchasing what kept me awake while I should have been sleeping.
No list would be complete without I’m with the Band by Pamela Des Barres. Her book gets a place at the top because her memoir comes across like a Cinderella story. She craves music. She craves the boys in the band. She dreams about them and plasters their posters all over her bedroom walls. She wants to make her wish a reality, and she does by pursuing Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger, and many others. Her book is still in print, so go download yourself a copy.
Also by Pamela Des Barres is Take Another Little Piece of My Heart. In this book Pamela has made her dream come true and she marries glam rocker Michael Des Barres, but she doesn’t get a fairytale ending. I won’t give up any secrets, so you’ll have to read the book.
In Let’s Spend the Night Together, Ms. Des Barres turns the tables and coaxes other groupies to spill their backstage stories. She interviews old-skool ladies such as Elvira, Cynthia Plaster Caster, “Sweet” Connie Hamzy, and many more. She also introduces the reader to current groupies Lexa Vonn and Miss B.
Now that I’ve said enough about Miss Pamela, next up is a model-turned rocker Bebe Buell in Rebel Heart. She talks about her modelling days and the loves of her life: Todd Rudgen, Steven Tyler, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Page, and a host of other lucky men. I really enjoyed BeBe’s memoir. She had a lot of spunk and let me have a peek into the New York scene of the 70s. I’m not sure if her book is still in print or digitally available. I got my copy through an amazon.ca bookseller.
Miss O’Dell by Chris O’Dell is another book at the top of my list. Being a part of the Beatles’ inner-circle, she witnessed many secrets working for the band. She drops names of people who became close friends of hers. As a matter of fact, men and even a woman wrote songs about this classy lady. I’d put Miss O’Dell in the “good friend” category instead of “groupie” because she was knee-deep in the music biz. Check out her book. You won’t regret it.
Susan Masino was a journalist based out of Michigan. During the start of her career in the 70s, she encountered many rock stars, from a fresh-faced (if they ever were fresh-faced!) Van Halen to AC/DC. Many a randy rocker chased her about the hotel room, but Susan kept her relationships strictly platonic, although she had her share of crushes. Who wouldn’t find a young Robin Zander of Cheap Trick swoon-worthy? Because she maintained a certain distance from the rockers, while being a good friend, it was refreshing to read a book from a woman’s POV of the music scene as she observed the crazy shenanigans those bad boys got up to. I’m still not sure how Susan managed resist the charm of Alex Van Halen (one of my fave rockers). As for Rock N Roll Fantasy still being in print, you’ll have to take a run over to one of the online bookstores and see for yourself. If it’s available, grab it. It’s worth the read.
Let’s move on to the 80s when heavy metal was at its peak. Enter Lorelei Shellist, the lady who would claim Def Leppad’s Steve Clark’s heart in Runway Runaway. She takes us all over the globe because Lorelei was a model. Not only does she bring us into her Def Leppard world, she also provides stories about other rockers who pursued her. The book is for sale at amazon in print and digital.
If I’m in the 80s, I can’t forget the Cherry Pie girl aka Bobbie Brown. Her memoir is full of some crazy stories about a decadent time in L.A. when hair metal was in full steam. She starts out in Louisiana as a beauty pageant contestant and heads for the West Coast to become a model and actress. I enjoyed her story and highly recommend Dirty Rocker Boys.
Peggy Trentini also moved to L.A. with big dreams. Born in Southern California, somewhere close to Hollywood, she left her hometown to become a model and actress. Her memoir, Once Upon a Star, is aptly named, because she’s another beautiful woman who became side-tracked by the famous men who vied for her company. Through her journey, she wishes for a love that seems unattainable. But she does make her dream come true at the end of the book.
I’m still in the 80s. My oh my, those women were busy! LOL. Instead of L.A., Rita Rae Roxx called Omaha home. At her first concert, she finagles an invite backstage at a Billy Squier concert. He, in turn, introduces her to groupiedom. As she pursues rocker after rocker, Rita runs into heartbreak and letdowns that made me feel for her. In her writings, she becomes the young Rita from her youth while sharing her exploits. She does have a penchant for saying “we rocked it,” and her stories don’t run deep, but if you want to hear about 80s glam rockers in their prime, Once Upon a Rock Star is the book for you.
Roxana Shirazi claims to be The Last Living Slut. So be warned: this memoir doesn’t hold back on anything, and I mean anything. The book starts in Iran where she was born and raised until her family sets off for England. Roxana is more into indie bands, and her groupie journey starts around the early 2000s and ends in 2010 (when the book was published). It’s an intense read, so be sure to peruse the reviews on the ‘net–if you are a person who goes by reviews. As I said, anything goes in this book, so you’ve been warned. As for me? I enjoyed what she had to say. It’s why I included her memoir on this list.
Here are some other books I read. It’s only a list since I ran out of blogging time, so be sure to hit a few sights to scroll through the reviews so you can see if it’s your cup of tea.
Nerd Girl Rocks Paradise City: A True Story of Faking it in Hair Metal L.A. by Anne Thomas Soffee
Electric Ladyland: Women and Rock Culture by Lisa Rene Rhodes
Dandelion: Memoir of a Free Spirit by Catherine James
Into the Void…with Ace Frehley by Wendy Moore
We’ve Got Tonight: The Life and Times of Notorious Groupie Alycen Rowse by Alycen Rowse
Storms: My Life with Lindsey Buckingham and Fleetwood Mac by Victoria Balfour
Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd
Edie: American Girl by Jean Stein
You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again by Lois Lee
And I Don’t Want to Live This Life by Deborah Spungen
Books I wouldn’t mind reading, but I can’t seem to find the time (my TBR is huge):
Faithful by Marianne Faithful
Elvis and Me by Priscilla Presley
Dream On by Cyrinda Foxe-Tyler
Lick Me by Cherry Vanilla
Ladies who I wish would write their memoirs:
Patti D’Arbanville: She was the Miss Pamela of NYC. She dated lots of famous rockers and had an acting career of her own, but music fans remember her best as the woman who inspired Cat Stevens to write My Lady D’Arbanville and Wild World.
Tawny Kitaen: She was part of the hair metal 80s and was the girlfriend of Robbin Crosby before he became famous in Ratt. She also snagged hair rocker David Coverdale.
Lori Maddox: Jimmy Page left poor Miss Pamela at the curb for Lori. She dated a lot of rockers but was smart enough to get out of the scene when John Bonham told her he hoped the next time he came back to L.A. he wouldn’t see her still hanging at the Rainbow.
How about you? Are there any books I’ve forgotten that you enjoyed and would recommend?