Look Away: Rockstars and Their Underage Prey

In 2000, Cameron Crowe introduced millions of people to Penny Lane, the beautiful young “Band-Aid” in his semi-autobiographical tale, Almost Famous.  Penny Lane is painted as mature, sexy and demanding of attention; a muse for the male musicians she tours with; a free spirit in love with a talented man.

Pull back the tattered curtain, though, and what we actually see is a 16 year old girl being taken advantage of by a grown man.  Penny Lane tells us very early in the film that she’s 16, and not long after that we learn that she toured with Stillwater the summer before–meaning she was 15 when she had gotten involved with Russell Hammond.  Crowe has claimed that Penny Lane, played by Kate Hudson, was largely based on real-life groupie extraordinaire, Bebe Buell.  However, to me, her story sounds much more similar to the real story of LA child groupie, Lori Maddox.


Lori Maddox and Jimmy Page, 1973

In 1972, at a nightclub in LA, rockstar Jimmy Page laid eyes on Lori Maddox, a 14 year old girl.  Maddox’s personal accounts in the unauthorized biography of Led Zeppelin, Hammer of the Gods, claim that Page told his tour manager, Richard Cole, to ‘kidnap’ her and take her to the West Hollywood hotel the band was staying in.  Maddox admits to being kept under lock-and-key, presumably to keep 29-year-old Page from being imprisoned for child sexual abuse.  In Hammer of the Gods, Maddox describes having fallen in love with Page almost instantly.  Page and Maddox “dated” for months afterwards, until Page left Maddox for Bebe Buell, who was of legal age at the time.

Lori Maddox’s best friend, Sable Starr, has been linked to many of 1970’s biggest rockstars.  In Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, Ron Asheton of the Stooges remembers Starr fondly:

“We had a gig at the Whiskey A-Go-Go when we first moved out there and that’s when we met Sable Starr, who was a really nice girl.  First she was Iggy’s groupie, then with me, then would go back to Iggy, then back to me, then would go to my brother and back to me.  We would do two sets at the Whiskey and in between sets, Sable would say, ‘Can I suck your dick?’ She was real open about that stuff, that’s what I always liked about her.  So in between sets Sable would suck my dick in the upstairs men’s bathroom.”


Johnny Thunders and Sable Starr

Sable Starr was 14 at the time, and Ron Asheton was 25.  At 16, Starr left home and moved to New York City with Johnny Thunders of the New York Dolls.  Iggy Pop immortalized his own involvement with the child groupie, as well as Thunders’ relationship with Starr, in the song “Look Away“:

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…

Starr quickly became pregnant, and Thunders pressured her to have the child and marry him, but Starr refused and had an abortion.  Thunders, a drug addict, was reported to be physically abusive to Starr, and Starr soon moved back to Los Angeles.  In Please Kill Me, Starr described her relationship with Johnny Thunders: “He [Thunders] tried to destroy my personality.  After I was with him, I just wasn’t Sable Starr anymore.  He really destroyed the Sable Starr thing.”  Starr also had a sexual relationship with Richard Hell before she even turned 18.

The most famous example of a hugely famous musician entering into a “relationship” with a child began in 1959.  Priscilla Beaulieu, who would later be known as Priscilla Presley, was 14 years old when 24 year old Elvis Presley became obsessed with her.  For the next 7 years, Priscilla waited for Elvis to marry her, while he had affairs with Nancy Sinatra and Ann Margaret, and that was only the beginning.  Priscilla has since spoken about the relationship, saying “I was someone he created. I was just a kid and I was consumed by him. All I desired was not to disappoint him.”


14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu in Germany, 1959

Lori Maddox, Sable Starr and Priscilla Beaulieu are only three of the many, many examples of famous, powerful men preying upon children–and getting away with it. According to a fantastic article on XoJane.com, the list of pervy old rockstars includes Chuck Berry, Ted Nugent, Don Henley, Marvin Gaye, Charles Dickens, Bill Wyman, Sonny Bono, and Roman Polanski. All of these men either “dated” teenage girls or were involved in publicized sexual scandals with teenage victims, some of them as young as 13.

So, why is it that these real stories of child abuse are ignored and then romanticized in movies like Almost Famous? Personally, I blame Cameron Crowe for his sugar-sweet transformation of a horrible story of child abuse, but Lori Maddox was failed decades before Crowe’s film hit the box office.

Let’s consider Vladimir Nabokov’s masterpiece, Lolita. While many (far too many) people believe Lolita to be a story of passion and romance, Nabokov purposefully wrote the story entirely from Humbert Humbert’s perspective, never giving Dolores a literary voice. The story is of a narcissistic, self-absorbed man obsessed with the idea of Dolores.  Nabokov’s novel perfectly frames the twisted perspective these male predators have of their virginal prey.  Humbert Humbert knew that Lolita would not stay a virginal youth forever.  He knew that he would eventually become disinterested in her–much like the way Elvis became disinterested in women (girls), including Priscilla, after they were no longer virgins.

“I knew I had fallen in love with Lolita forever; but I also knew she would not be forever Lolita.”

204 thoughts on “Look Away: Rockstars and Their Underage Prey

  1. I didn’t read all the comments on here, although I know some of them are (rightly) in defense of the girls knowing exactly what they were doing. The age thing in this stupid F***ing country is a legal and social construct. Throughout history what we call teenagers were not children, they were adults. We coddle our teenagers until they are 18, then wonder why they can’t think for themselves. This is a manufactured, stupid puritan concept based on a backwards religion that in itself is a construct of power hungry individuals throughout history. The only thing I see is a bunch of women who are bitter that they didn’t have the chance to f*** the rockstars they liked because they were either too ugly, too immature (because of their stupid parents’ coddling), or too much of a pussy to make a go of it. Jealous haters.

    • Well put. But the gimmick these people run insists that girls and women have be victims in perpetuity, in every aspect of life, in every choice they make or don’t make. For that to be true they need an “other” to bear the burden of perpetrator. Without that their entire construct fails. There MUST be perpetual “sin” or they can’t be the people who offer perpetual redemption. And if anyone believes any of these “bitch’s” are capable of reading Lolita, or understanding ANY work of art, they’ve already been suckered.

      • Hi Ghost Story, I’m the author. I’m 29 and I have a Master’s degree. I’m confused as to why you think I’m incapable of having read/understood Lolita or any other work of art. What a bizarre comment and a completely unnecessary personal attack, I suppose you thought I didn’t read the comments on my own piece… Is my interpretation of the novel incorrect, in your opinion? Frankly, I think your attempt at profound intellectualism fell flat. You’re simply attempting to make excuses for statutory rape. Sorry.

    • Really surprised to hear that this is a serious comment… I don’t think the average 13 year old is old enough to understand the consequences of their consent, or to understand that they are being taken advantage of. This is why I support age of consent laws…

      • The average 13 year old in 2016?…agreed. The average 13 year old some 65 years ago??…I meeeaaaaan, there were A LOT of things different in the US, and indeed the world, even just a few decades ago. There is massive societal difference in what is accepted, expected, respected, communicated, neglected, etc etc from one generation to another. I mean it is for sure pretty creepy and if it happened today. forget about it. But subjectivity I think is relevant here.

    • Hi. I’m a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. When I was 15, I was coerced into showing a legal adult explicit pictures of myself because I thought he would care about me, love me, begin a good relationship with me, and think of me as a mature person. While he was no rockstar, I still allowed it to happen because I thought I couldn’t say no. I was afraid of being abandoned or hurt and so I showed him the pictures and didn’t tell anyone for years because he told me not to. He would jack off to the pictures, say thanks and then fall asleep after he came. He asked me to “help him out” in this way lots of times and through it all I was numb and cold and I felt like a mannequin on display. During this time I went through a severe depression in which I came much closer to killing myself than ever before and self-harmed because I thought that I was the manipulative one. That I deserved to be punished for someone taking advantage of my curiosity in sex (which I should have been exploring with people my own age) and my insecurities and need to be shown affection I didn’t feel I was getting anywhere else.
      My parents have never “coddled” me. My parents raised me in a way that led me to believe I was “mature for my age”, as in being taught to think for myself was an integral part of my upbringing. My mother yelled at me for wanting a new toy once and shouted about how she didn’t want me to become a spoiled little brat. As trivial as that in particular sounds, I think it perfectly expresses my mother’s views on coddling.
      Anyway, the “age thing in this F***ing country” as you so eloquently put it, isn’t just a construct meant to uphold puritanical viewpoints. It is not stunting the sexuality of free-spirited and mature young ladies who will get the best out of their sex lives if they jump into sex with someone they idolize and idealize. It’s not a tool for people to put a metaphorical purity ring around these young ladies either. I don’t know if you know this, but there are serious differences in maturity across the board between a 15 year old and an 18+ year old. Hell, you can see differences in maturity between a 15 year old and a 16 year old. These differences have to do with the growth and development of the brain and, at different life stages, the brain and its functioning can be very different as the person grows older. What I’m saying here is that teenage brains and adult brains are not the same and when you have two people with very different emotional, physical, and social needs and wants in a sexual relationship where communication is important (whether it’s a fun little fling or a long-lasting sexual relationship) and yet where communication is happening in a very poor fashion on one side or the other, you get a disaster.
      Perhaps this is a little modern for some people’s tastes, but I’ve always thought that children shouldn’t be endangered and that adults had a certain moral responsibility to not harm children. And I know how you feel about teenagers being called children but sorry, age isn’t just a number and as someone who’s only going to be turning 18 this year, I’m well aware of the fact that I’m still a kid on some level.
      Moving on, I’m sort of tired of hearing that these girls knew what they were doing and got all kinds of fame and attention from it, but I also thought I knew what I was doing and now I’m here. Responding to you about young man who took advantage of me.
      Now I know these girls seem to be ok and I’m so glad for that. I’m glad they feel positively about what happened to them but that doesn’t actually mean it was the right thing for those grown ass men to do. I’m not trying to make the girls in this article look like victims if they don’t feel that way. I came looking for information on things I have been hearing about for years that I wanted some facts on. What I found was you. Trying to tell the world that legal age of consent is bullshit and a “backward religious” attempt to further purify the body of the young girl.
      I don’t know about you, but all I see is a shitty person going onto the internet trying to tell women that they are too ugly, immature, or too much of a pussy to get fucked by someone almost twice their age while they’re still a child and that they’re bitter because the fact that the event didn’t get them fame and glory while the actions of the adults get swept under the rug so they never have to worry because “oh it was consensual”.

      • G.D. yours is the voice of experience, not assumptions and accusations. Thanks for telling your story. Wanting attention, and to experience all that comes from involvement with an older lover does not make an underage person suddenly good decision maker (i.e. they knew what they were doing). A younger persons attention, also does not forgive the adults decision to be involved with an underage person (i.e. statutory rape). However, the truth is not every such relationship is predatory, AND not every such relationship is NOT predatory, some people have bad intent. Its far safer to stay in your age lane as G.D. points out (until your 18 at least).

      • G.D., you are brave for telling your story and for surviving everything that has happened to you. Thank you for shutting down ignorance and telling it like it is.

      • You are totally right ! These men had an obligation to say no ! They are the adults & are supposed to be responsible to act as so !

      • Speaking as someone who was once taken advantage of in a similar manner I just wanted to say I hope you are able to love and appreciate yourself as much as you can. You are worth your own love and respect as well as the same from others. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that couldn’t have been easy to do.

      • G.D., thank you so much for sharing your experience with us and I’m so sorry that it happened to you. No one deserves to be manipulated in that way.

      • G. D. Thanks for opening up a painful part of your past. Your story is too common. I’m very sorry no one was able to prevent your abuse.

      • well said. I agree, i don’t think it was right, but I do dislike the “child rape” term being bandied about. I luckily have never had anything like that happen to me but I am sorry that you had that experience. No disrespect meant.

      • Love your insight, G.D.. You are an extremely self aware young woman-18 years old and you sound like someone who is 3x your age. I am 53 and was never as emotionally mature as you are. I had lack of parenting and mental illness adding to the mix of just normal teenage emotions.

        While as a teen I thought it might be cool to meet and marry a rock musician, I have the years to thank fate for that not happening. When I look at pictures of these baby groupies, all see are naive girls who were being taken advantage of, when they thought it was they themselves who made the rules.

        Like the person who thinks she’s in on the joke-while the joke is really on her.

    • Hm, why do you feel the need to defend the rockstars though? They seem pretty messed up in the head to want to go after a girl who just had her period. A year before 13 that adult was probably playing with dolls and watching cartoons. Seems like the musicians have a level of immaturity in them as well. But let’s not criticize them, they are artists. Their parents didn’t seem to raise them right either yet you have zero criticism towards them.

    • this was an incredibly dumb comment. The only folks who say this shit are the ones who want to fuck kids without repercussions, or those thinking they’re being super cool and progressive by calling people with a healthy idea of boundaries “puritan.” It’s a bratty attitude and people who have outgrown high school behavior and thinking are sick as hell of hearing it from kids trying to be “edgy.”

    • this was an incredibly dumb comment. The only folks who say this shit are the ones who want to fuck kids without repercussions, or those thinking they’re being super cool and progressive by calling people with a healthy idea of boundaries “puritan.” It’s a bratty attitude and people who have outgrown high school behavior and thinking are sick as hell of hearing it from kids trying to be “edgy.”

    • Nope, nope nope. No to this, no to the comments below supporting your argument. There is scientific evidence on brain and body development that prove that age IS a thing. A child is a child, and whatever the gender of that child, whatever the nature of the exploitation, we pretty much universally (and internationally) recognize that children inherently CANNOT consent in a variety of situations with adults, particularly sexual situations, because of their neurological difference in that they cannot assess situations in the same way older people can, and because of the inherent power imbalance between an adult and a child. It’s NOT a gendered thing. I wholeheartedly agree with you on the coddling thing, don’t even get me started on helicopter parenting in this country, but you’re conflating two very different things.

      I’m also really dying to know where all your wild and crazy assumptions come from. Anyone who takes issue with this child groupie dynamic is an ugly, bitter washed up hag who can’t get a man? Is this what Third Wave Feminism is all about, because I sure as s*&* didn’t get the memo. Last time I checked female empowerment did NOT equate: tearing other women down, making judgements and assumptions about them, and insulting them based on their appearance and/or ability to get laid. Try again, honey.

      Where is your basis for comparison to age considerations in this country as opposed to all the rest of the world? Have you lived in other countries? Have you studied international law? Because I have, and I can tell you that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      Same goes for everyone supporting this BS. Child exploitation is not feminism, ladies (and gents and whatever you want)

    • Nope, nope nope. No to this, no to any comments below supporting your argument. There is scientific evidence on brain and body development that prove that age IS a thing. A child is a child, and whatever the gender of that child, whatever the nature of the exploitation, we pretty much universally (and internationally) recognize that children inherently CANNOT consent in a variety of situations with adults, particularly sexual situations, because of their neurological difference in that they cannot assess situations in the same way older people can, and because of the inherent power imbalance between an adult and a child. It’s NOT a gendered thing. I wholeheartedly agree with you on the coddling of teens and children, (don’t even get me started on helicopter parenting in this country), but you’re conflating two very different things.

      I’m also really dying to know where all your wild and crazy assumptions come from. Anyone who takes issue with this child groupie dynamic is an ugly, bitter washed up hag who can’t get a man? Is this what Third Wave Feminism is all about, because I sure as s*&* didn’t get the memo. Last time I checked female empowerment did NOT equate: tearing other women down, making judgements and assumptions about them, and insulting them based on their appearance and/or ability to get laid. Try again, honey.

      Where is your basis for comparison regarding age considerations in this country as opposed to all the rest of the world? Have you lived in other countries? Have you studied international law? I’ve done both, and I can tell you that you have no idea what you’re talking about. There may be variance in cultural norms and the exact age of consent, but the world pretty much universally recognizes children as having a different status vis-a-vis their human rights and ability to consent in potentially exploitative situations.

      Child exploitation is not feminism, nor does it represent female sexual empowerment. And before you attempt to tear a bunch of women/strangers a new a***ole again, you might want to first pick up a book, read a newspaper, or have some actual basis of knowledge to support your verbal diarrhea.

    • i agree with this. I cannot STAND this equating post-pubescent girls with children, consensual sex as child abuse-and even worse, pedophilia. It absolutely weakens the moral disgust we should feel for these things- because like it or not Sable Starr sucking cock at 14 is a galaxy different from a 10 year old girl being raped by her stepfather. Its a fucking insult to those children who have been TRULY molested. These girls were not children. They didn’t WANT to be children. They WERE preyed upon, to a degree, but they also preyed upon stars. It was a mutually exploitive thing, and I think equating that with rape is ridiculous. Iam having none of it.

    • Hahaha-hardly jealous of a bunch of brainless sluts sucking any dick they think will get them closer to ‘fame’. I went to school with Sable “Starr”, whose real name is Sable Shields,and used to do the bar scene with her until she became a groupie joke.

  2. Pingback: On Jackie Fuchs’ rape and ‘the bystander effect’ | Feminist Current

  3. I completely agree with Kristin. And seriously..::::If these girls didn’t want to have sex and other types of relationships with rockstars when they were so young then why were they hanging out with the bands of older men and going to parties like that and doing drugs and hanging out in hotel rooms with them?? That was a different time, women grew up so much quicker and these girls self proclaimed themselves as groupies and were openly down to suck the rockstars dicks and be their girlfriends and play things. We are the creepy ones who are degrading these sexual and beautiful women as victims and children when even these women themselves knew what they were doing and don’t regret it.

    • But the adult men should have known better! That’s the whole point!

      Yes 13 year old girls are going to be seduced by the lifestyle. Same with boys. You’re utterly ignoring puberty and the mess of hormones that ALL children go through. THAT is why we say children cannot consent. The hormones that course through all of our bodies at that age make us very messed up. There’s a reason some people count middle school and high school as the worst period of their lives (it was for me).

      Adults, who’ve been through that and have had those experiences are ostensibly grown up and mature should KNOW BETTER. ADULTS should be able to say “no. I’m sorry, but you’re too young.”

      And that’s the whole damn point.

    • you realize that you’re calling a 15 year old girl a “woman”? and the “sexual and beautiful” part is just plain creepy.

  4. After reading a lot of stories of women who had sex with men when their 13 or 12 it seems they realize that it wasnt really them consenting.
    A qoute pretty much summed it up

    “Because I was a child, I was missing large pieces of the perspective required to understand adult situations. Children can be sexual. Children can pursue. Girl children in particular may have already learned how to manipulate and bargain with their sexuality at a very young age. They are still children. Like all children, they test boundaries, boundaries that adults must set and maintain.” scandal-whipped on Tumblr

    Its the culture and everyone suffers from it

    • Seriously. Everyone wants to believe that children have no sexuality and once they show they have one or have interest in one they’re not a child or they’re some perverse child and it’s their fault adults don’t maintain those boundaries.

    • EXACTLY! Thank you! This idea of “oh those 13-year-olds know what they’re doing” is so fucking frustrating.

      No they don’t. They simply don’t. It’s up to the adults, who DO know what they’re doing, to know better.

      • Not to mention the sheer stupidity and cognitive dissonance required to hold pre-adults accountable for their actions, but not the ACTUAL ADULTS involved, for their actions.

        No, seriously, why on earth are the roles being reversed (grown musicians being treated like niave children vs. actual niave minors being treated like adults)?

  5. Kristin your comment is absolutely disgusting and hurtful. Listen to the women and young girls themselves and they are saying they were abused, dominated and groomed. If you don’t know what they’ve been through and have no evidence then why are you trying to counter that? All you have are hurtful statements that defend their statutory rape.

    This was a really sad read and casts an uglier, truer light on the Rock of the 60s 70s and 80s. Especially The Stooges what the absolute hell?

  6. CSA and DV survivor here. What’s with this trope I’ve been seeing lately where bloggers have to “uncover” the horrible, hidden truth behind everybody’s favorite books/films/music/etc? First Rebecca Solnit thinks she’s blowing everybody’s mind by writing that Lolita’s about child abuse – this isn’t even news to people who can’t read. Now, you’re berating Crowe for his “sugar-sweet transformation of a horrible story of child abuse” – that’s the point of the entire film, the thing the story hinges upon. ?!

  7. These girls were children, they looked up to these men. In what world do you let a 13 year old girl have sex with a grown man because she wants to? There are laws against it for a reason.

  8. I didn’t expect to read such an extensive archive of apparently broken/enabling women and transparently creepy men in the comment section, but okay, noted for posterity.

    But we all know how these same folks would respond if we were talking about their own 13 year old daughters “consenting to sex and loving it” with rock stars.

    But hoping they haven’t reproduced, and never will to begin with.

      • Except statutory rape and age of consent laws EXISTED 40-50 years ago, too.

        You are clearly old enough to [supposed to] already know that, so let’s just go with “too stupid” to explain *your* lack of realization.

      • That is not a legitimate excuse. 200 years ago “things were different” and white people owned black slaves. But just because shit was different doesn’t mean it was right.

        Society can be wrong, and it’s about fucking time we recognize that. It’s about fucking time we recognize that the groupie society of the 60’s and 70’s was wrong. Not “different”, but wrong.

        And to be clear, I’m not talking about simply being open about sex. I’m all about that. Consenting adults are free to have whatever sex they enthusiastically consent to. Let ’em have it all. I don’t sex shame people.

        But ADULTS should not be having sex with CHILDREN. I don’t care if it’s the 60’s, the 20’s, the 1800s, the 1700s, or the 1st century BC. Adults should not be having sex with children.

        This is not hard.

      • Susan, do you think that we’ve never interacted with people who grew up in the 70’s? My mother agrees that most people of that time would frown upon this and statutory rape laws already existed. Your excuse is invalid.

  9. This will unpopular. I was there. I was a groupie in the 60s, and I was a teenager. Perhaps we didn’t know what we were doing, but we were having fun. We were predators too. We didn’t look up to these men per se, to us they were not men, they were just experienced sexy boys with long hair and tight pants with a rock and roll energy that cannot be described. We objectified them, we compared notes, we racked up scores, to make it with the band or to become someone’s girlfriend was the highest– we knew it wouldn’t last, but that wasn’t the point. Stop calling it pedophilia, the guys were no more mature than we were. And misguided or not, we knew what we wanted and what we were doing.

    • Thanks for filling in the missing perspective of someone who had been there and done that…the idea that you had to be protected from yourselves and that 21-22 year old men are any more ‘adult’ than 14-16 year old girls slightly boggles the mind.

      • Hi Annie, I see you moved the goalposts to 14-16 and 21-22 age frame to make this issue a little less gross in your mind, but do remember we were talking about a barely pubescent girl and a man well into his twenties. And for every girl who thought she was totally the shit and impressed her friends and had fun or whatever, there are as many girls who went through that who regret it.

    • well, Dafne, it seems like you still haven’t learned– about the difference between 13 year old kids who haven’t yet come to understand what it really means to objectify someone, and adults that know better and do it anyway. (and yes, a 22 year old is more mature, whether they care to act like it or not.) Or, the fact that YOU thought it was totally awesome means the behavior should be acceptable across the board. Or the shallowness of “if I could only get him to like me then I’ll be a valid human being!” attitude that is sad yet understandable in adolescents, but really pathetic in adults. In fact, it sounds like you haven’t grown up very much at all beyond “it’s all about me and what I want.” So sure, I’ll accept that you knew you wanted your shallow “goals” and you knew how to get them. But your trying to make it out like it’s cool? Is laughable.

      • Again I must ask, where were these girls/groupies parents/guardians? How were they able to hang out in hotel lobbies in the first place to be accessible to the musicians?

    • I’m sorry, but decades upon decades of psychology, psychiatry, and brain science says that no, you did not know what you were doing, because you were CHILDREN; it’s called puberty. But those ADULT MEN absolutely knew what they were doing… taking advantage of CHILDREN.

      I know you like to think you knew what you were doing, but that’s why we have age of consent laws for a reason. This link is to a post written by Stephanie Zvan. In it, she gives a basic breakdown of much of the science behind the minds of teenagers, behind puberty, and all of it, accurate up to December of 2011.

      Before you get mad at me for telling you that you didn’t know what you were doing, read the link and the links Stephanie provides, then think again about what you were like as a kid.

      Yes, I’m a d00d, but I also know what I was like from the ages of 12-16. I liked to think I was immortal. I liked to think I was an adult who could do whatever I wanted, and I hated my parents for controlling me and giving me rules I had to abide by. But now, I’m 28, and I look back on that time, and I sure as hell didn’t know better.

      I’m grateful for every time my Mom and Dad said no. I’m grateful for every time they kept me from making a very childish, immature decision that could have hurt me. And it saddens me that there are so many who either didn’t listen to their parents or didn’t have parents.

      There is no such thing as a 13-year-old adult and there never will be. I’m sorry, but scientifically, that is a fact.

  10. A 13 year old cannot legally consent to sex with an adult, so these men committed a crime. Who cares about how long ago it was, the laws were still in place and these men should still be pursued by the people who are supposed to withhold the law.

    • Another idiot “feminist” who is an embarrassment to feminism. First of all, Priscilla Presley did not have sex with Elvis until they were married, and that is from the source. You cannot shoehorn what happened decades ago into modern sensibilities and feign outrage. You just show yourself to be stupid.

      • Susan, it says a lot that you really think being married (or something happening less than a century ago) somehow validates predators. What this is about is how we’ve corrected really hideous behavior in the years since. It was hideous then, even the predators knew that. As was clearly pointed out to you, the laws said so even then. Perhaps you should take a time out from your little tantrum and see if a little rationality sets in. I doubt it, but do try.

      • Gosh, thanks honey. I don’t need your approval of my feminism. Not having sex doesn’t mean that a power disparity occurred. You read my article, right? You read the direct quote from Priscilla that said that she felt controlled by Presley? I’m so sorry that your idol is a flawed human and not a god.

      • Care to also bring up jay walking vs. drinking/driving while you’re on this kick of painfully absurd legal comparisons?

      • I know Annie! Because buggery and predation of adolescents is TOTALLY THE SAME THING!!!! Isn’t it great to oversimplify the world? It must make it so you don’t have to think very deeply about anything!

    • Frankly I’ve drawn the same conclusion more than once since publishing this piece…it seems the strongest defenders of the rock stars in question are either over 40 ex-groupies feeling defensive of their pasts, or current teenagers who perceive themselves as mature enough to sleep with adult men. Trying to reason with either group is a lost cause.

      • I’m not a Strong defender of of the rock stars, but I try to look at everything & since I wasn’t there and don’t know exactly everything that happened, I try to not be Too critical of others opinions. (as posted in my first comment ever here.)
        Added note….I am over 40, am not or have ever been a groupie, nor jealous of not being there myself.
        (p.s. being new here though, I enjoy all the different avenues of thoughts & opinions)

    • yeah. I’m the author and I’ve gotten 51 notifications of comments on this post since yesterday, lol. I’m glad people are engaging in this conversation, at least.

      • Hey, I’m one of the Bowie-mourners having this discussion with friends, can I get your opinion on the cachet that some of these girls experienced as a by-product of their statutory rape? I’m wording it carefully, because I’m totally not looking to defend grown men having sex with minors.

        These girls were celebrities in their own right and I find it disingenuous to dismiss that aspect entirely. They used their bodies as resources to gain social status and, as fucked up as that is, are we supposed to ignore the zeitgeist of what the music scene was back then and insist on victimizing the girls? And if yes, what to make of the self-reports (Lori’s, specifically) that the experience was positive for her?

      • Hi! Thanks for your comment. Frankly, I wrote this article two years ago and my opinion on the issue has evolved a little bit since then. Though, I don’t think that the argument that these girls were trying to gain social status necessarily excuses the actions of the musicians–that’s the issue here and that’s basically what the law says. It doesn’t matter if a 15 year old enthusiastic consents to the sex, it doesn’t matter why she wanted it, etc. Legally, she cannot consent. And child development professionals would agree that developmentally, a 15 year old might believe that she is just as mature as a 25 year old dude (and actually I can’t completely disagree, because dudes are dumb lol), but experiences have a much more profound and lasting impact on a young brain than they do on an adult brain that has finished developing (doesn’t happen until early to mid 20’s). While many children are extremely resilient and may not seem “hurt” by this kind of relationship, it can have deep-seeded consequences on emotional development. Sooooo, all that being said. I ALSO believe that it’s not okay to ignore and infantilize the words of a perceived “victim”. Lori Maddox has said many times that she did not feel victimized by Bowie. I think the issue is really complicated and there is a lot of grey–it’s definitely not black and white! Also, her relationship with Jimmy Page was far worse than one night with Bowie, IMO. Hope that makes sense.

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  12. Please these “men” were in their 20’s….I’m 50 now….have you ever been round a 20 year old….especially “men”…they seem as I’m sure 100% i was…pretty immature for whatever 20 is suppose to look like…here we are in a country that worships sex….yet were so shame based about our sexuality….

    • So you believe that 15 year olds and 29 year olds (Page was 29 at the time of this relationship) have the same maturity level? I’m currently 29. I own a car, a condo, a earned a Master’s degree. Many of my friends are married with children. A 15 year old can’t even legally drive in this country, let alone fight for their country, buy cigarettes, porn, alcohol…you say that you believe that 20-something men are “immature”, but developmentally, the effects of their actions have less of an impact than they do on 15 year old teenagers. Which is why we don’t ask 15 year olds to go into battle and kill people. My parents live in Europe, I agree that our country has a twisted double-standard when it comes to sexuality, but that does NOT include accepting the idea of 15 year olds sleeping with 29 year olds. How do you jump from blurring out nipples on cable television all the way to just being cool with EVERYTHING, including adult men fucking children who can’t even legally drive. I mean, COME ON.

      • midwestmonster…. “Also, her relationship with Jimmy Page was far worse than one night with Bowie, IMO. Hope that makes sense.”
        I may not be seeing it, how is a so-called relationship with Jimmy worse than a one-night stand with Bowie? They both had sex with her ,or she with them, whichever.

  13. I’m a woman who grew up in the 70s. It was not normal or in any way acceptable for adult men (including musicians) to have sex with teenagers back then. So please take these comments that claim otherwise with a grain of salt.

    As for my personal experience, one of my friends was a groupie. She was “throwing herself” at rock stars by the time we were 14 years old (in 1975).

    She viewed her sexual escapades as meaning she was more mature than the rest of us, but in reality she was an emotionally troubled child. The grown men who had sex with her should have recognized that she had emotional issues, so I’ve always viewed them as predators regardless of how talented they may have been. (And regardless of the fact that she was enthusiastically “consenting”.)

    Anyway, count me as one older woman who applauds you.

      • I’m on the fence here. Yes, any man having sex with a child (even at 13 or on) is very disturbing….But, now this is just my own opinion so no hating please, not giving these musicians any defense but they were very much coddled by the handlers around them by being in an environment of drugs-sex-and rock & roll (excuse the pun). But yes they were still in their 20’s, immature 20’s and with a feeling of entitlement being enabled by the people becoming rich off of them, but still in their 20’s.
        Now to the groupies, lori maddox in particular. Watching a few of her you tube videos she contradicts herself a few times. First she says she was kidnapped & taken to another hotel for Jimmy, was there No One around from where she was to outside in the limo to the hotel lobby, for her to scream she was being kidnapped? If she felt kidnapped, was there No time at all that she could’ve left? Being with the other ‘groupies’ waiting for a musician to pick them, well that was Not against her will in my opinion. She states they were in love & together for at least 4 yrs in one interview, did she travel with him the whole time they were together ‘in love’? If not, didn’t she ever have a chance to ‘escape’? Did he take her on all their travels, especially back to England? Why was he still with Charlotte (whom he himself always called his ‘lady’) and with a baby girl, Scarlett if he was so in love with her as she claims? And finally, since it’s been said that Jimmy was Not her first musician (David Bowie, Mick Jagger, etc.), where were her parents/guardians? Who let a 13 yo (when it was first known of her escapades) be out on her own mingling with these horny rock musicians in the first place? She talks of it in these videos as almost a badge of honor with no regrets or mention of doing anything different.
        I dunno, like I said, there is no excuse for anyone to have sex with children, but some of these stories have a lot more questions that weren’t answered.
        And since none of us were there with them, we really don’t know what went on or not. That’s why I’m on the fence about these girls & musicians.
        JMOP mind you.
        Thank You for letting me add my small 2 cents.

      • Patti Tray…

        So… about Jimmy Page…

        The darkest version of the Maddox/Page story we have actually comes from Richard Cole, who has a reputation in the music world for being the least trustworthy narrator of anything that happened during that period (hell… if it weren’t for the Frank Zappa song, the Mudshark incident would likely be considered a myth, because that’s how little people trust Cole, and if Zappa hadn’t written about it, Cole would have been the originator). He contributed to a book called “Hammer of the Gods” and wrote his own book called “Stairway to Heaven: Led Zeppelin Uncensored”. The latter publication is considered by most to largely be a fictional account, and that’s where the darkest version of the Maddox/Page story comes from.

        As for Lori Maddox herself… you are right that her account is contradictory. I remember reading an interview with her once where she insisted that, in fact, she knew people were coming to get her because Page himself had contacted her ahead of time, gotten permission from her parents, and she was already packed and ready to go.

        Now, they’re relationship only lasted for a year… or that’s generally accepted. It was considered “open”, in that they both saw so many others while they were together (and she knew of Charlotte and didn’t care… I have no clue if Charlotte knew about any of it, although they did get divorced). And Lori Maddox was well known in the LA groupie scene, frequently seen with entourages regardless of whether or not Led Zeppelin was in town. Whether or not Jimmy Page actually locked Lori in his hotel room when he was in town is not as well known as some think, as, again, the account from Richard Cole is untrustworthy, and Lori has contradicted herself on this matter, as well (sometimes he locked her up, sometimes she had free reign, sometimes she chose to stay in the room herself to keep Jimmy out of trouble).

        But I say all that to say this:

        The fact is, regardless of the details that led to it, that Jimmy Page was in a sexual relationship with this girl for a good year. That is a well-established fact; it’s not a lie. Jimmy Page himself confirmed it while they were dating. Even if Jimmy Page did not have her kidnapped… even if he did contact her ahead of time and told her that he wanted to meet her… it doesn’t matter. He’s still guilty of statutory rape… for a whole fucking year.

        So even if the details are not as dark as Richard Cole makes out, it’s still utterly terrible.

        And keep in mind… Jimmy Page is why I play guitar. He is my guitar hero. Led Zeppelin’s music is my all-time favorite music. I listen to them every day. I even listen to Ramble On Radio, which is the only Led Zeppelin podcast in existence. I belong to multiple Led Zeppelin forums. I collect unofficial Led Zeppelin releases. Outside of certain forums (For Badgeholders Only, Royal Orleans, etc), you’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger Led Zeppelin/Jimmy Page fan than me.

        Yet I can still recognize how fucking horrible and disgusting this is.

  14. A list of things to consider

    1. Parents, cops, bouncers. Where were they ? ( I mention cops due to curfew laws that get enforced in most locales. I mention bouncers who check IDs at the door. And parents are mentioned for the obvious reasons)
    2. Some girls look older than their age. ( see makeup, high heels/platforms, extravagant attire). They really do look older. ( I get a funny feeling i’m gonna catch hell for this one). Do Lori and Sable look old enough ? To you , maybe no. But remember the law too. Do they look 18 ? Do they look 17 ? Some did and some didn’t. Young folks want to look older just like old folks want to look younger. Makes it a tough call in my opinion..
    3. Most recent sex abuse cases start with reports from the victims themselves. We are formulating opinions here on what happened based on “stories” from so-called participants. And most of these victims ARE TODAY denying what happened was criminal, and they are old enough NOW to know what were crimes. We have pictures of girls hanging out on the Sunset Strip. Many girls who hung out there have to admit, nothing happened to them, because it didn’t. See any pictures of illegal activities ? If these girls and guys were so proud of what they did, why not pics. Just innocent pics of girls hanging out and “stories”.
    4. If crimes occurred , i’m all for punishment. I’m all for making an example to try and deter others from criminal behavior. But lets tread lightly. Take for example the Cosby case. He’s guilty. Agreed. In my opinion. ( still, you have to prove it in court before handing out punishments) But his family, friends, and co-workers aren’t. Consider The Cosby Show cast that now receives no royalties from cancelled syndicated broadcasts of that show. Make sure you HAVE victims and criminals. Make very sure. (and no, I didn’t just say we need to protect someones royalties at the expense of young victims. I said don’t jump to conclusions because we feel intellectually and morally superior to the victims who STILL deny that any crimes occurred. What they might be saying is we had fun (wink wink) . In other words, “we like playing pretend adult stuff to impress our high school friends, but how much was for reals ? ” Well let’s just say “we don’t want to get our musician companions in trouble because what really happened was quite boring and way too safe”. Naïve of me to think this way ? No. Just as in court, prove your case or go home empty handed.)

    Not part of the list, but what I find very odd and troubling is the loyalty many have for their “heroes” ( Bowie pun intended ). They don’t want to hear any of this and they will let you know in as many rude ways as they can. That is wrong. Nobody is above prosecution for criminal acts, if criminal acts occurred.
    Doesn’t matter how good the music was/is . Or the movies, or whatever. Your genius talent is separate from your character and your criminal culpability.

  15. First, Cameron Crowe has said the inspiration for Penny was NOT Bebe, though Bebe in her infinite narcissism, wants to believe it, and will tell anyone who will listen. Second, Lori has stated both that Bowie took her virginity, and Page. When interviewed for “Hammer of the Gods”, she said she was a virgin when she hooked up with Page.
    Then there is the multitudinous psychological and sociological implications. At 13, 14, etc, we’re beginning to attempt to find out who we are, want to be adults, make adult decisions. WE think we’re capable, but as science has shown, the frontal lobe is not fully matured, and this is responsible for making good decisions. And males mature slower than females, so even at 25, many of these men aren’t quite mature, either, plus add in the sociological issues caused by being thrust into the spotlight, being fawned and coddled by everyone around you, told anything you want is yours. Managers, mature enough to know better (such as Peter Grant, who told Page and Maddox they had to hide or he’d be arrested and deported), want to keep their job, because if THEY don’t do it, someone else is willing to.

    Notice MOST of them, as they got older, as they matured and were able to make those mature decisions, starting choosing age-appropriate women.

    These girls ‘knew’ what they wanted, and went for it. They wanted the prize of sleeping with a famous rock star. The guys wanted the prize of a young girl, inexperienced for the most part. They all played off each other for what they wanted. Problem is, the legality is, that regardless, they as age of majority person, should have known better.

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  19. I stopped readiing when I saw “Hammer of the Gods” mentioned as a source. That book is commonly regarded as 100% lies, myths and hearsay.

  20. Lori Maddox described her time with the (various) rockstars as a great period where anything could happen, she hardly seems like a victim – in fact, the way she described it all, she actually seems quite lucky.

  21. Okay, I’m a guy, if that makes any difference. As a pre-teen, I wanted to fuck. Undoubtedly I had no conception of how, if I had (and I still think of it as ‘if I’d been lucky enough!’), it would have changed my life, affected my development. At 14 or 15 the girl in my class I had a crush on had a boyfriend who must have been at least 17, with a big motorbike. The only thing that seemed wrong with that was my unrequited love.
    When I was 43 I dated a 26-year old; man she was hot, drove me wild – but ultimately we didn’t last, because I felt like a cradle-robber!
    It’s confusing. We are not necessarily consistent. I suspect it means (about me) that for girls like Sable Star and Lori Maddox, it’s fine; but for the guys they were with – the more so, like 29-year old Page – the further they grow from their own pre-age-of-consent, the less ‘fine’ it is.
    ‘Life begins at 40′, they say. I figure that is because you reach the point (possibly at which Evolution has no more use for you) at which you’re not afraid any more. Although ’40’ would be developmentally approximate; ’40’ is a useful waypoint on the map of life; and because we all hear that ‘life begins at 40’, when we reach it we introspect, so we realize we’ve changed; but this may have happened earlier, we just didn’t register the fact; or maybe it would have happened later but for being prompted to take stock. Perhaps the average age at which we finally discover we are free, is 40; and undoubtedly the average age at which we are competent to give consent, is 16. Rather like the age at which we are competent to vote; or to drive.
    We don’t all hit puberty at the same age. Some of us are sexually precocious. However, for practical purposes – not least of which is to protect the majority of early-to-mid-teens who are emotionally immature, if not physically – there has to be an age of consent, which in Western societies seems about right at 16.
    Now in my mid-fifties, looking back I feel like actually I was still a kid at 40. We just keep on growing, keep on learning – senility aside, until the day we die; and I have long believed that most of us will only figure out what really matters on our death bed. Certainly there is no point – no age – at which suddenly we are wise. Age of consent is arbitrary – the best guess, perhaps. Law, too, is arbitrary; Ethics is what counts, and the two do not always agree. Law is what we follow to make Civilisation work, but not Right and Wrong. What should set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is a lifetime attempt to figure out right from wrong (and which is neither). Some underage kids are coerced, others are not: saying they were all raped can be mistaking Law for Ethics – allowing one’s own morality to be decided by committee. Not everyone is you.

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