Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

Groupie Girl  /  I Am A Groupie

Groupie Girl

Opening titles and song
How many adult claims of "You're all the same, you long-haired layabouts" fuelled teenage rebellion in the Sixties? The same piece of dialogue is uttered in this rather sleazy, exploitation film, made in 1969, released in 1970 and typical of the state of British movies in what were dubbed 'the saucy Seventies': lots of low-budget soft-porn in contrast to the big-budget American-financed British films of the Sixties and the Hammer and James Bond epics of the previous decade. The film was directed by Derek Ford (director of sexploitation films such as 'The Wife Swappers'), who co-wrote the screenplay with former groupie Suzanne Mercer, who'd been involved with the band Juicy Lucy. The producer was another sexploitation hand, Stanley Long, whose other films included 'Take Off Your Clothes And Live' and 'Secrets Of A Windmill Girl'. Ford, obviously more used to soft-porn movies than rock films, commented, "We were shooting in a discotheque one Saturday night and my ears rang right through to Monday morning. I was sick - physically sick - on Sunday from the noise level we suffered".

The film featured Esme Johns as Sally, the groupie; Donald Sumpter as Steve; James Beck as Brian: Paul Bacon as Alfred and Madeleine and Mary Collinson as twin groupies. Bored suburbanite Sally was played by a stripper called Esme Johns. It was her only movie appearance. Producer Long commented, "I don't know what happened to her. We just pulled her out of a strip club and made her an actress. She tried extremely hard and I thought she wasn't bad at all considering".

Opal Butterfly was a real London band which comprised Simon King, drums; Robert C. Milne, guitar; Allan Love, vocals; Richard Bardey, bass and Tommy Doherty, guitar. They played the band 'Sweaty Betty' in the film. Lemmy (later of Hawkwind / Motorhead) had previously been a member of the band but had already left by the time of this movie.

It is a cautionary tale of the seedier side of the life of young girls who slept with rock musicians and earned the name 'groupie'. From a conservative upbringing, Sally had been secretly attending rock concerts and decided to stow away in the back of the roadie's transit van to London and become a groupie, sleeping with a succession of musicians, who treat her and the other groupies with a great deal of disrespect. She hooks up with Steve, leader of an up-and-coming band, but when the two are accidentally locked in a hotel room with two sex-crazed groupies, their relationship comes to an end. When the group's speeding van comes alongside that of another band, Sweaty Betty, Steve, fed up of Sally, decides to give her to the other group and while still speeding on the motorway they pass Sally over to the other van, but doing so results in their own van crashing and Steve is killed. Sally stays with Sweaty Betty on their estate where, during one of their parties, the police arrive to search for drugs and investigate Steve's death.

Sally tries to hide the evidence by swallowing a vast amount of the drugs and completely blows her mind. Later she falls in love with the folk artist Billy Boyle, but the relationship ends in tears for her. There are scenes of a lengthy cat fight with torn bras and exposed breasts, groupies swapping partners, the smoking of marijuana and the usual clichés. The film was released in America by American International in 1971 under the title 'I Am A Groupie'. The film had cost £16,000 to make and Long commented, "It was extremely evocative of the period and was very much of its time. I'm very proud of the way it looks because the Americans kept asking me what studio we'd shot it at. They just couldn't believe we'd done it all on location. They ended up buying it for £50,000 for distribution in the US, so we made a huge profit".

Additional sex scenes were added for the French version, released in 1973 under the title 'Le demi-sels de la pervesion' (The Pimps of Perversion). It was re-released in France the following year with hard-core sex scenes under the title 'Le affamees du male' (Man-Hungry Women). The soundtrack album was issued on Polydor 2374164 in 1970: Side One: 'You're A Groupie Girl', Opal Butterfly; 'To Jackie', English Rose; 'Four Wheel Drive', The Salon Band; 'Got A Lot Of Life', Virgin Stigma; 'I Wonder Did You', Billy Boyle; 'Gigging Song', Opal Butterfly; 'Disco 2', The Salon Band; 'Now You're Gone, I'm A Man', Virgin Stigma. Side Two: 'Yesterday's Hero', English Rose; 'Love Me, Give A Little', Virgin Stigma; 'Looking For Love', Billy Boyle; 'Sweet Motion', The Salon Band; 'Love's A Word Away', English Rose; 'True Blue', The Salon Band; 'Groupie Girl (It Doesn't Matter What You Do)', Virgin Stigma. The film was re-released on DVD in January 2007 as part of a 'Saucy Seventies' series by Slam Dunk Media.

Groupie Girl  /  I Am A Groupie

Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Article Text Bill Harry               Original Graphics SixtiesCity     Other individual owner copyrights may apply to Photographic Images

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