Lori, on the left, modeling for Creem magazine, August 1974.
Several months ago I wrote a long post about Sable Starr, the unofficial queen of the LA scene in the early 70s. Her style and story were both so intriguing to me, and I have long meant to write a similar post on her best friend, Lori Maddox. Lori’s story will be well known to any Zeppelin aficionado, but it bears repeating here as a powerful example of the drawbacks of dating a rock god.
Lori and Sable.
"THE GIRL WHO READ STAR.
Her look is wild
She's young but never shows it
She loves to live and lives to love
The ones know she's the One
THE GIRL WHO READ STAR IS YOU"
Lori was born in Los Angeles in 1958, and when she was around 13 made her entry into the rock n roll scene with Sable. They were regulars at the Rainbow Bar & Grill, Rodney's English Disco, the Continental Hyatt House (the notorious “Riot House"), and the Whisky A Go Go. She became a teen model and was included in several editorials in Creem and in Star magazine, the local bible of the scene. Her petite frame, large brown eyes and masses of chestnut curls drew her many admirers, and it has been reported that she lost her virginity to David and Angie Bowie at thirteen. Around the same time a photo of her was shown to Jimmy Page, who quickly became infatuated with her. He was still dating Miss Pamela of the GTO’s (later Pamela Des Barres) but when he was in LA in 1972 on the Zeppelin tour he went after Lori.
Lori and Queenie Glam at Rodney's English Disco, 1973.
Sable and Lori with Iggy Pop.
Lori avoided his advances several times, later stating that she was frightened of him; finally Led Zeppelin’s tour manager “kidnapped” her and brought her to the Hyatt and to Jimmy’s room. Interviewed in Hammer of the Gods, a biography of Led Zeppelin, Lori said that the room “was dimly lit by candles... and Jimmy was just sitting there in a corner, wearing this hat slouched over his eyes and holding a cane. It was really mysterious and weird... He looked just like a gangster. It was magnificent." They started an affair that night, which was kept secret since she was only 14 and he was still dating Pamela. His relationship with Pamela ended dramatically when he took her to a party for the band but left with Lori.
Jimmy and Lori, 1973/74.
By all accounts, Jimmy and Lori were very in love and for the next year and a half she traveled often with the band. When she was 16 he left her for Bebe Buell, the Playmate who had recently been living with Todd Rundgren. Bebe was Jimmy’s date for the Swan Song soiree, which Lori found incredibly upsetting since she was still in love with him. Out of her mind on Quaaludes, she stumbled around the party, bloodying her nose and soaking her white gown in blood. When Bebe and Jimmy were leaving the party, she cornered them, screaming at Jimmy, “Why are you doing this to me?” but he ignored her and went to the Rainbow Room where he had a huge fight with Bebe over his cruelty to Lori.
Lori and Jimmy arriving at John Bonham's 24th birthday at The Rainbow Bar & Grill, 31 May 1972.
Lori with Jimmy Page, John Bonham, Rodney Bingenheimer, Sable Starr, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, Pamela des Barres, Morgana Welch, Peter Grant and other friends at John Bonham's birthday.
The next day Lori went to the Hyatt where she found Jimmy and Bebe in bed together. She fled but came back later and knocked on the door. When Bebe opened the door with the chain on it, Lori reached through, grabbing Bebe’s hair and trying to drag her out. Jimmy watched his former and current girlfriends fight it out from the safety of his room, laughing hysterically. Lori drifted out of the groupie scene and briefly got back together with Jimmy in the early 80s; she supposedly never got over the pain of their first breakup but has gone on to a stable career as a buyer in LA and has a son.
Lori with Rodney Bingenheimer and a friend.
Lori Maddox and Shray Mecham partying at Rodney's 'English Disco', from Star Magazine's last published issue, June 1973.
Just like Sable, Lori’s style was an amalgamation of trash and full-on glamour. Often wearing hot pants with halter tops made from long, thin scarves that barely covered her pre-pubescent breasts, Lori was just as likely to wear a vintage 40s satin gown with a mink stole. Even in her trashiest outfits, her huge smile lights up the snapshots and she never appears as cheap as Sable sometimes did. More openly romantic than her good friend, it isn’t hard to see how she was so deeply affected by the events of her teenage years.
Lori Maddox and Shray Mecham from Star Magazine, June 1973.
Lori with Keith Moon on his birthday, date unknown.
Lori and Keith Moon.
Lori, Leee Black Childers, Sable and friends.
Lori Maddox, around 1973.
Lori, laying on the ground, with the New York Dolls in Creem magazine, August 1974.
Lori with Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls upstairs at the Whisky A Go Go, August 1973.