A Review: Chris O’ Dell: Famous Groupies Of The Sixties Series

October 17, 2009

A Review

Chris O’ Dell

Miss O’ Dell:

My Hard Days And Long Nights With The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton

And The Women They Loved

by

R.E. Prindle

Miss O’ Dell

     As Chris says, she wasn’t famous but she was in the thick  of things.  Worth a lot.  She disapproves of being called a groupie but I would say that she was the most successful of all.  All the groupies would have snapped up Chris’ life without a dare.

     Chris did have somewhat of an advantage in being twenty when she went to work for the Apple.  She had some skills and maturity rather than being underaged jail bait.  Boy, the Federales could have had these guys anytime: drugs and teenage girls.

     Chris soon fell into the booze and drug trap.  The most tedious part of the book is that of booze and drugs.  Of course her co-author, heavy on the co-, Kathleen Ketchum’s previous writings have been about drug rehabilitation so she flogs the drug issue into oblivion.  Hard to believe any one took drugs back in those happy uncomplicated days.  Alright!  Surprise, surprise, the middle name of Rock n’ Roll is Drugs- Sex, Drugs, Rock n’ Roll.  Yes, it is also true that Chris engaged in some hanky panky too.  Gosh, she bedded down with a couple Beatles, Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan.  I suspect those revelations are more for the groupies than the general public.  Eat your hearts out, kids.  Clapton wouldn’t have anything to do with her by the way.

     For me the real story that unfolded slowly and inconspicuously was the changing relationships between the Beatles and their women with Chris in the middle.  Chris was friends with Harrison and Ringo Starr having little to do with John and Paul.

      The first 100 pages are the most interesting of the book.  They detail her actual working activies at Apple from the bright days of  total indulgence to the takeover of Apple by Allan Klein.  After Klein the fun stopped as Klein set about plundering Apple.  Not before Chris had established a sterling relationship with George Harrison himself.  As time and drugs wore on the youthful relationships came apart.  These people were so into booze and drugs that their subconsciouses overwhelmed the conscious- I’m sure that at some point they wandered into a drug and alcohol induced haze.  The good thing was that they didn’t have to worry about money although they sure went through it.

     Chris’ description of the evolutions and transitions of the relationships of these key people of the musical era then forms the most interesting part of what is, frankly, a fairly boring story.  The background story of Harrison, Boyd, Clapton didn’t exactly happen as it looked to us on the outside.  We thought at the time that Clapton recorded Layla and Boyd came running but such was not the case.  As Chris tells it Harrison, if he didn’t drive Boyd away neglected her and allowed her to drift away.

 

Eric Clapton

    Clapton, says Chris, was a total junkie although he’s still hanging in there today.  His records had no appeal to me so I could care less.

     Uncertain of her precarious standing as either an employee or freeloader Chris drifted back and forth from LA to London while still apprently being part of the gang.  The breaking point was when she was visiting Ringo’s ex-wife Maureen and took a tongue lashing from Ringo.  Moving away she took up with a German promoter she knew through a large part of the eighties.

     Part of her concern was hitting bottom, the rebound point when you know you have to change your life.  From my observation point that happened in two stages.  the first was when her German boy friend’s promotion company could no longer stand the ravages of drug and alcohol induced incompetence and Chris violated all the rules of  friendship with Harrison.  Something she thought she’d never do.

     Her boy friend’s company bankrupt she asked for money from Harrison.  George was a brick and handed over six thousand pounds without a murmur.  The money of course went down the drug drain.

     Now, Chris had developed sterling credentials as a tour organizer for various groups.  She was with Dylan and the Rolling Thunder tour for instance.  That is what she was doing with this German fellow.  After the Beatles, Stones and Dylan the crowning indignity was when she was assigned to tour Echo And The Bunnymen.  These guys are still going so what can you say.  But, you know, time had rolled along under the bridge and Rock was becoming a shadow of its former glory.  Who really cared anymore?  I mean, you know, I’ve never listened to Echo And The Bunnymen and you can be sure I’m not going to buy their latest effort which is out now. 

     She then married an English aristocrat, had a baby and a divorce and went back home to Tucson.

     End of story.  Oh yeah, she’s now a rehab counselor.

     The main interest is the level of rock society she moved in.  The hand of Ketchum is too obvious.  One had the feeling one was reading a novel of O’ Dell’s life rather than a living memoir.  Wrong voice.  Probably a must for the cast of characters and inside information but the drug and alcohol stuff is too, too boring.  For Christ’s sake, who didn’t do drugs?  Everybody’s got a million drug stories.  Let it be.

George Harrison, Patti Boyd, Sixties Style

 

2 Responses to “A Review: Chris O’ Dell: Famous Groupies Of The Sixties Series”

  1. chuck thielman Says:

    I think most people who read the book were interested in these rock stars and O’Dell’s drug problems. From the tone of the review, R.E.isn’t really interested in the whole rock & roll thing, so why did R.E. even bother to read this book? A book report was due?

  2. reprindle Says:

    Chuck: I was in the record business from 1967 to 1981. I was very interested at the time but looking back on the period I am somewhat appalled at how we lived our lives. I think you find that many people find it difficult to even discuss the period although it was, of course, a spectacular period.

    I read the books in an attempt to fully understand what was going on and what I missed. May I suggest Eric Burdon’s Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood? You might enjoy it. It’s what Eric saw, for instance, from the inside but from the outside perspective it was somewhat different. So with Chris. Patti Boyd gives a perspective from her point of view of Chris in her auto that is a little different from that of Chris. Of course, I’m on the outside looking in so my perspective is different too. But there you have it. An indication of why I read the book.

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