Shelsea Suazo, Editor in Chief
In the 1970s, at the height of rock and roll, America turned their heads away from the exploitation many underage groupies faced. Baby groupies, as they were called, were young fanatics between the ages of 12-16 who followed bands around while touring and attended several shows. Over time, the term “groupie” gained a negative connotation. Groupies were known to be the girls who slept with rock stars and provided them with drugs. Many were brutally beaten, raped, sexually degraded, and emotionally abused. Rock stars were idolized and glamorized with no regard to the consequences of their illegal activities. Among these stars was Led Zeppelin, the greatest rock band at that time.
John Bonham, better known as Bonzo, was one of the most influential drummers to ever exist. However, like many rock stars, he had a drinking problem. According to some, Bonzo was the sweetest person when sober, but when he was drunk, he could go on a rampage of destruction, earning him the nick- name, “The Beast”. The Beast was known for raping groupies. One of Bonzo’s most terrifying episodes happened on a flight during Led Zeppelin’s 1973 tour. After finishing a bottle of whiskey, Bonzo grabbed a stewardess from behind and held her in chokehold while trying to force himself on her. His bandmates, Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones struggled to drag him off.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which way you see it, Bonzo died during his sleep due to the inhalation of vomit after a night of heavy drinking. He wasn’t the only one in the band to do some questionable things.
Jimmy Page, the band’s bassist, is infamously known for dating the young Lori Lightning. At the age of 14, Lori, a prominent former child model, began a relationship with Jimmy Page. Page, who was 28 at the time, was infatuated with Lightning after seeing several photos of her. At first, Lightning rejected his advances, but Page ordered his manager to ‘kidnap’ and take her to his hotel room at the Hyatt. She reportedly admits that the second she laid eyes on him, she fell in love. Their love affair lasted for two more years. Page kept their relationship quiet as to not cause any commotion with the media or law enforcement by keeping her isolated. At the age of 16, Page left Lightning for Bebe Buell, another groupie, leaving her devastated and heartbroken. She wasn’t the first underage girl he had been with, and she sure was not the last. Page and Boham were not the only artists to degrade underage underage girls.
This was only a fraction of the problem.