Connie Hamzy, Famed Rock Groupie, Dead at 66
Connie Hamzy, one of the most famous groupies in rock history, has died at the age of 66.
Hamzy had her first groupie experience when she was 15 years old, after her mother dropped her off at a Steppenwolf concert.
“She didn't like to deal with parking. She didn't like to deal with traffic. So, she'd take me out to the fairground early in the afternoon before the traffic got bad,” Hamzy explained to Little Rock, Ark. TV station KTHV. “We'd go out there and then we'd wander around the backstage area, and one thing would lead to another.”
Two years later, Hamzy was immortalized in the lyrics to Grand Funk Railroad’s 1973 hit “We’re an American Band.”
The song’s opening lines went: “Out on the road for forty days / Last night in Little Rock put me in a haze / Sweet, sweet Connie, doin' her act / She had the whole show and that's a natural fact.”
Listen to Grand Funk Railroad's 'We're An American Band'
The band’s manager had reportedly alerted Hamzy of the line, but she initially didn’t believe it. A few months later, she happened to hear the song on the radio.
“Right after I graduated high school, me and some gals were laying out by lake number one in North Little Rock in Lakewood,” Hamzy recalled. “I was on the beach tanning and they were on floats swimming and I had my transistor radio on.”
As the radio DJ began to speak, Hamzy’s ears perked up. “Folks, you're not going to believe what we just got into the studio,” she recalled the announcer saying. “It's the new release from Grand Funk Railroad. And you know that dark headed girl we see backstage a lot? Listen to the first few lyrics.”
Though Grand Funk Railroad may have given Hamzy her biggest spotlight, they were far from her most notable rock conquest. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss, the Who's Keith Moon, Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, Huey Lewis, Frank Zappa, Rush's Geddy Lee, Peter Frampton, Eddie Money, Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond and all three members of ZZ Top were all among the rockers Sweet Connie claimed to have had relations with.
Also on her list, Rick Neilsen of Cheap Trick. The band was allegedly inspired by the groupie when writing the following lyric to their 1985 song “Standing on the Edge”: “Connie likes candy, every bite / All day sucker, Connie might / Swallow that thing 'cause she does it right.”
Listen to Cheap Trick's 'Standing on the Edge'
Hamzy became famous in her own right thanks to her well-established place among rock’s most renowned groupies. During an appearance on The Joan Rivers Show in the early ‘90s, Hamzy explained how this lifestyle got started.
“Not everybody can be a cheerleader or on the drill team or in the honor society, so I found my niche going to concerts,” the groupie explained. Asked if she ever considered relationships with the musicians, Hamzy responded, “I do have relationships with them, really. I’ve known most of them for so long that we’re old friends.”
Watch Connie Hamzy on 'The Joan Rivers Show'
In a 2010 interview with Howard Stern, Hamzy -- who openly admitted she was always “determined to become a famous groupie” -- detailed some of her most famous exploits. Among them, a plane flight with the Eagles in which she performed oral sex on “Don Henley and the pilot. They put the plane on autopilot.” She also claimed to have bedded almost all of the members of Van Halen, describing drummer Alex Van Halen as a “very warm and affectionate” lover.
When Stern asked Hamzy about being passed between rockers “like you’re a plate of potatoes,” the groupie shrugged it off. “Well, a plate of good potatoes,” she responded.
In 1995, Hamzy released the book Rock Groupie: The Intimate Adventures of "Sweet Connie" from Little Rock. She also appeared in an episode of the Dave Attell Comedy Central series Insomniac and the 2011 documentary Let's Spend The Night Together: Confessions of Rock's Greatest Groupies.
No cause of cause of death was given for Hamzy, who reportedly went into hospice care on Thursday, Aug. 19. Reached for comment, Grand Funk Railroad drummer Don Brewer -- who wrote "We're an American Band" -- told UCR: "So sorry to hear of Connie’s death. My memory of her is of a very outgoing ‘Sweet’ girl that wanted to be famous. That was her goal in life. May she Rest In Peace!”
Watch a News Report on Connie Hamzy