An ode to Anita Pallenberg and music’s most iconic muses
We all know the phrase "behind every man...", so here, Noelle Faulkner plays tribute to some of the women who have inspired rock n roll's most iconic songs.
First of all, big shout out to all the women who have ever been in a longterm relationship with a musician, even more so if they toured often or were remotely famous. If you ever want to test your self-esteem, self-assurance, patience and well, to be honest, worth, date a touring musician.
Unfortunately, dating musicians comes with a nasty label, that, no matter how many times it is glamourised by Cameron Crowe, is downright offensive: groupie. And with the tragic passing of Anita Pallenberg (73), it's a word we've heard a lot of lately.
Thing is, the Rolling Stones would not be the band they were without this blond bombshell on Keith Richard's arm (and before that, a violent relationship with Brian Jones', who used to allegedly beat her up, and an affair with Mick Jagger, thrown in). The German-Italian model/actress has been credited with inspiring the songs "Gimme Shelter" and "You Got the Silver" and sang backing vocals in "Sympathy for the Devil".
Well-connected Pallenberg moved and shook with Andy Warhol and the artists of New York, has been credited with singlehandedly influencing and cementing the style of the Rolling Stones and was famously as wild as any rockstar of the time. "How Anita came to be with Brian is really the story of how the Stones became the Stones," wrote Marianne Faithful in her biography. "She almost single-handedly engineered a cultural revolution in London by bringing together the Stones and the jeunesse dorée [gilded youth]... This transformed the Stones from pop stars into cultural icons."
With a reported drug addiction and a black magic obsession, Pallenberg was said to be the one that "kept things crazy", according to the Stones' ex-personal assistant, Jo Bergman, Her strong-willed, devil may care attitude meant she was as much of the band as any of the other members. Of course, it's no surprise that we're talking about the woman who Richards once said "scared the pants of him" and who gave birth to three of his children.
But even then, Pallenberg, whose style continues to inspire today, and who went on to earn a degree in textiles at Central St Martins, will forever be compared to her teenage/20-something self, as will many women on this list, she'll forever be this "groupie", with the role she played in pop culture history, reduced to the man who probably broke her heart and stole her youth.
I guess what I'm saying is, behind every "groupie" tag is a woman who has probably offered more inspiration, suffered more heartbreak and given way too much of her time, energy and tears to just be slut-shamed. So her, we salute some of the most iconic, and I invite you to dig into their stories deeper.
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