My first love was the boy next door. Literally. His name was Kirk, but I called him "Kirkee." And for the life of me, I can’t remember his last name. He was the youngest son of the family living in the house next to our tiny suburban Dallas cottage. I was 4 and he was 5. It turns out, he was a drummer. We got caught playing doctor in the bushes and that’s one of my very first memories as a child. I was in competition for his affections with the neighborhood girl, Patty Sue. She was his age and size and I was that annoying little kid that tagged along. I had no chance. My family moved away soon after so we were parted. Star-crossed lovers, or just a crush. But, wherever he ended up, I can say I was his first groupie. Forget about Patty Sue, she didn’t rank.
I fell in love with many men as a young woman. Most were musicians and each has his special place in my heart. The wall posters and my subscriptions to 16 and Tiger Beat, along with various other music fan mags of the 70s are long gone, but I poured through them in my bedroom back then, reading every article, savoring every gem I could unearth.
My second love was Jim Croce. I spent my hard-earned babysitting money to buy every LP he made, knew every song. His lazy guitar and strong storytelling style had me dancing recklessly in my room most afternoons. Jim was an exquisite songwriter and guitarist, one of the best of his time. His ability to create meaningful, touching songs was unmatched. Using only an acoustic guitar and a microphone, no amps, he made magic happen. I believe that was what made his music so remarkable - no electric effects or distortions, just a simple, good ol’ acoustic guitar. My teenaged heart was crushed that he died so suddenly and so early in his career but I never stopped loving him.
Then came Dan Fogelberg. Pulsing with adolescent hormonal lust, I was his when I first saw his face. He was a poet, the son of a musician. He was wild and untamed, loved the outdoors and eventually found his way to a cabin in the mountains. For years, I dreamed of living there with him, his faithful wife and lover. I believed that if he could only meet me, he would know the truth. We were made for each other. I was one of “those fans.” Not only did I have every album, knew every song, but I was an “official” member of his fan club. My best friend and college roommate, Beverly, and I kept up with his life, knew the slivers of intimate details that this very private man allowed to be made public. Back then, the term “stalking” hadn’t been invented yet. I saw it as helping the Universe. And I set out to think of ways to meet him.
I never did. I saw him in concert countless times, sometimes from far away in massive arenas and in later years sat very close in intimate venues as he sang his ballads and told his tales. I felt I knew him better than most, but we never met.
He fell in love, married, had his heart broken, and married twice again. While he bared his soul in his songs, I watched from afar. His name was never in the tabloids.
40 years ago he released his first album, Home Free. 40 years. I’ve loved him for most of those years. His songs brought me to sweet places, kindled visions that were kind, natural, and decent. His guitar was delicious and I would listen over and over to my favorite tunes. Those same songs often became “elevator music,” but I love it, even now.
And as we aged, his handsome self grew more distinguished. He’d long since cut his hair and shaved his face when I last saw him. The frosty flecks of gray in his hair were bold and sexy. He died of testicular cancer on my brother’s birthday, December 16, 2007. I grieved from afar. And I’ve never stopped loving him, either.
I’ve always had a “thing” for musicians. Many crushes, many loves. Always the muse and the groupie, it’s just been my calling. You won’t find me up on a stage these days, but music saved me and it always will. It’s the constant in my checkered life, the one thing I’ve always held onto. I believe that the Heavens are filled with song and musicians are “Captured Angels” that bring the breath of Heaven to us mere mortals. I, for one, am always grateful for a song.
Recently, I’ve been absorbing Keith Richards’ autobiography and he pays us a high compliment. He explains that good groupies provide mothering and care. They do it from their hearts and without much expectation of anything in return. Oh, I know they have a “reputation” and their sexual exploits are well documented, but aside from that, there are other needs that they fulfill. Mostly, a good groupie doubles as a muse, providing inspiration and support, helping to keep these artists on track and give them much needed TLC. This business takes its toll. It’s no wonder so many go down dark roads, some never to return.
They've made movies about us. Songs and stories have been written. Groupies even have their own Wikipedia page. I guess that means we’ve made it. We’re the stuff of legends, we are. I never thought I’d aspire to be one, and now I’m honored to have borne the moniker.
These days I spend my time with the great love of my life; he’s a musician, of course. Not only was he born in the same town as Dan, but he plays a kick ass guitar and has recently followed his life long dream to launch a recording and rehearsal studio. There must be something about Peoria that captivates me, though I’ve never been there. In our wedding vows, I pledged to be his #1 Fan, and I am. I’m also a groupie and his favorite muse. I don’t love him because he’s a musician, but it helps.