The life of a rock star is something that has been highly coveted since its very inception. Many rock stars pave the way for future musicians, and create music and lyrics that are incendiary and even revolutionary. People from all over the world flock to famous bands and wish for nothing more to be on that stage themselves- or, at the very least, to be considered the friends (or lovers) of those musicians.
Millions of people long for the kind of fame and wealth that comes with being a rock star. It’s all too easy to imagine that lifestyle as nothing but glamorous and filled with parties. However, many rock stars fall into alcoholism and drug abuse. They live hard and fast lives, often neglecting to care for their bodies, and they end up paying for it dearly later in life. The rock stars who are lucky to live past their thirties frequently develop cancer as a result of frequent drinking, smoking, and drug use.
In the moment, however, being a rock star really is all it’s chalked up to be. Not only do the best rock stars have all the money they could want to live luxurious lifestyles, but they can date virtually any woman they want to. Many rock stars spend their free time at exclusive parties and mingling with people just as famous as they are. It’s no wonder so many people want to be rock stars!
In the 1960s, people found a new way to touch the untouchable. In 1965, the term “groupie” was formed. It referred to extreme fans of certain bands, and these people would follow the bands on tour in hopes of getting near the beloved musicians. Over time, however, the term “groupie” began to refer more and more to women who slept with the musicians of famous bands. While many of these groupies insisted they were there to inspire the musicians’ future songs and albums, many were simply there to sleep with someone famous.
While groupies still exist today, they were most prevalent during the 70s, when many high profile rock stars were at their peak.While the life of a groupie may sound glamorous to some, it was actually quite dangerous. Many rock stars were known for being abusive or predatory, and often engaged in illegal sexual activity with minors.
In today’s video, we’re going to take a look at one of the most famous groupies of the 1970s: Sabrina Starr. We’re going to go over her many tragic and explicit relationships with many famous rock stars, as well as the influence she made on many musicians. Make sure you stick around, because we’re also going to reveal her connection to a famous Iggy Pop song!
Becoming “Queen of the Groupies”
Sable Starr was actually born with the name Sabel Hay Shields. She was born in Los Angeles, California, into a wealthy family. However, she was dissatisfied with her home life, and in 1967, began visiting concerts with some of her older friends. In 1969, she attended a concert for the band Spirit in Topanga, California. There, she met the lead guitarist, Randy California, who was around 18 at the time. She lost her virginity to him when she was just 12 years old.
She began hanging out at strip clubs when she was fourteen, and frequented places like Whiskey A Go and the Rainbow Bar and Grill, places where many famous rock stars would visit while touring LA. There, they would often see Sable Starr vying for their attention, and they would take advantage of her young age. Sable Starr would go on to have many scandalous and illegal affairs with some of the most popular rock stars at the time. She eventually earned herself the nickname “Queen of the Groupies” because appeared at nearly every concert venue in LA, and never missed a chance to get backstage with her favorite rock stars. Later on, we’ll take a look at the long list of men she claimed to have slept with.
She Was Featured in an Iggy Pop Song
Iggy Pop, whose real name is James Newell Ostenburg Jr., was the leading man of The Stooges beginning in 1967. He was part of one of the many bands that Sable Starr frequented. While he is recognized as being a musical icon, like many other rock stars of the era, he managed to get away with some horrible and illegal activity. In the song “Look Away,” which he released in 1996, he sang some pretty telling lyrics.
One part of the song goes “I slept with Sable when she was 13/Her parents were too rich to do anything/She rocked her way around LA/Til a New York Doll carried her away.” At the time Iggy Pop supposedly slept with Sable Starr, she was only 13, and he was 23 years old. Unfortunately, so many young girls are sexualized by society that many predatory men take advantage of every opportunity. No matter how iconic Iggy Pop was as a musician, we unfortunately have to recognize that he also committed some pretty horrible acts.
Her Connection to David Bowie
When Sable Starr was 15 years old, she had yet another encounter with a legendary rock artist: David Bowie. She and her 14 year old friend, Lori Maddox, were invited into David Bowie’s hotel room. He took Maddox into his bathtub and allegedly had sex with her, and later Sable Starr. In interviews, Starr recalled the moment with reverence, but the rest of the world listened with horror as she remembered the event.
Of course, while most people are disgusted by the fact that an older man took advantage of such young girls, Sable Starr continued to claim, even late in her life, that she enjoyed every moment of her life as a groupie. Still, her lifestyle would eventually have tragic consequences. Make sure you stick around until the very end, because we’re going to reveal the tragic way Sable Starr eventually lost her life. And if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like this video, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!
Her Long List of Affairs
Iggy Pop and David Bowie are already two incredibly famous rock stars, but Sable Starr had far more illustrious musicians to add to her list of affairs. Throughout her time as a groupie, Sable Starr reportedly also had sexual encounters with artists such as Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck of The Jeff Beck Group, Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, Marc Bolan from T. Rex, and Alice Cooper. Furthermore, it is also rumored that Sable Starr may have been involved with Keith Richards of Rolling Stones. Her final relationship with a rock star, however, would end in tragedy.
Caught in an Abusive Relationship
When Sable Starr was 16, she met the lead guitarist of the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders. He was eighteen at the time. Thunders decided to send her on a plane to New York, but kept touring in California before returning to New York with her. There, however, the relationship turned sour. He was seriously addicted to drugs, and became violent, jealous, possessive, and controlling. Sable Starr suddenly realized that she was trapped in an abusive relationship.
She became pregnant with her child, but later chose to have an abortion. Finally, she managed to sum up the courage to leave her abusive partner, and she fled back home to LA. There, she officially retired from her life as a groupie, and instead moved to Las Vegas, where she worked as a card dealer. It seemed she had finally realized how dangerous the lifestyle of a groupie truly was.
Her Tragic Death and the Legacy She Left Behind
Sable Starr has been the subject of many interviews, with some speculating on whether or not all of her alleged affairs really happened. However, Sable Starr looked back fondly on her memories as a groupie until her dying days. In 2009, when she was only 1951, she succumbed to brain cancer.
Some people were in awe of Sable Starr, saying she represented the liberation of female sexuality. However, was she really free? At such a young age, it’s clear that she was being manipulated by society’s ideals for women, and was soon caught in a trap of many predatory rock stars who took advantage of her age. No matter how much Sable Starr claimed to enjoy her experiences as a groupie, there’s no denying that her relationships with men were not only very illegal, but dangerous and harmful.
Even though Sable Starr was proud of the life she led, it exposed a very dark part of the rock movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Do you believe that Sable Starr was really involved with as many men as she claimed to be, or do you think she made some of it up? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!