Remember ‘Sweet Sweet Connie,’ Groupie Name-Checked in Grand Funk Hit?

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Connie Hamzy via KARK

Connie Hamzy was a 17-year-old senior in high school when Grand Funk’s manager told her about a song lyric. “He called me and said, ‘You’re never going to believe this,” Hamzy told Little Rock, Arkansas’ KTHV-TV. “But Grand Funk’s written a song called ‘We’re an American Band,’ and your name is in the first lyrics.”

Hamzy, best known to classic rock fans as “Sweet Sweet Connie,” the groupie immortalized in Grand Funk’s 1973 hit, “We’re an American Band,” died August 21, 2021. The death of the Arkansas native at age 66 was first reported by Little Rock news outlet KARK, noting that she passed after a brief illness.

Hamzy, born January 9, 1955, in Little Rock, Ark., was a teenager when she earned a reputation for having sexual relations with rock bands that performed in the area.

Grand Funk’s drummer-singer, Don Brewer, told Best Classic Bands how he came to write the song. “I wrote [it] while on tour in 1972 based on my observations and the thought in my head ‘we’re comin’ to your town will help you party it down.’ The rest of the song I put together from things going on on the road. Up all night playing poker with Freddy King and his band. Four young Chickitas in Omaha. Sweet Sweet Connie in Little Rock. And the tag ‘We’re An American Band’ just because it sounded great when I sang it to myself.”

Brewer’s lyric about “Sweet Sweet Connie” is: 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.

Related: The “We’re an American Band” backstory

The single, produced by Todd Rundgren, was released on July 2, 1973. It reached #1 on Sept. 29.

KARK noted that Hamzy had entered CHI St. Vincent hospice care on Aug. 19, just two days before she died.

Related: Listings for 100s of classic rock tours

Best Classic Bands Staff

4 Comments so far

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  1. Da Mick
    #1 Da Mick 23 August, 2021, 11:39

    There have been hundreds (or maybe thousands) of young women, just like Connie, all over the country, and all over the world probably since music was started playing publicly. They love music, and they love musicians — thank God. You can look down your nose at them if you like, but they are a huge part of the alchemy that makes the whole thing work, and makes so many musicians want to play in the first place. Sex is a big part of it, as sex is a big part of rock n’ roll, and always has been. But these women, derogatorily termed “groupies,” offer so much more than that. The “Connies” of the world offer musicians friendship, comfort, encouragement, enthusiasm and support, things all musicians, touring or not, really need, whether they’re famous, and on tours, or whether they’re just in garage bands, pursuing dreams. Not to overstate it, but these women are the ones who help to “fertilize” those dreams, and that alternate cultural reality. Just imagine if you played music, and no one cared. That is more and more becoming the reality on a local level, and without the “Connies” of the world, playing Rock N’ Roll, becomes a lonely, somewhat boring place, that doesn’t hold quite the same allure.

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      SHE WHO DANCES 22 August, 2022, 05:02

      been hanging around with bands since i was 14..only slept with my husband..tell anyone you are hangin’ with a band and they give you..”this look”…

      Reply this comment
  2. ferryman
    #2 ferryman 26 August, 2021, 12:55

    Wasn’t she mentioned in a Guess Who song Road food ?

    Reply this comment
    • BMac
      BMac 22 August, 2023, 09:34

      Yes, Ferryman, the song was “Pleasin’ for Reason”, and I think it was co-writer and second guitarist Don McDougal who wrote the Connie reference.

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