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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Connie Hamzy, a rock ’n’ roll groupie from Arkansas who was immortalized as “sweet, sweet Connie” in the 1973 Grand Funk Railroad hit “We’re an American Band,” has died. She was 66.
“I was determined to become a famous groupie,” Hamzy, who lived in Little Rock, told KTHV in 2019. “I really was.”
An obituary posted by Griffin Leggett Healey & Roth Funeral Home in Little Rock said she died Saturday. The Pulaski County Coroner had a report on her death but did not immediately release any details.
Hamzy told KTHV that she was finishing her senior year of high school when the manager of Grand Funk Railroad called to tell her that her name would be in one of the band’s new songs. “I said, ‘Yeah I’ll have to see it to believe it,”’ she said.
But that summer while she was at the lake with friends she heard an announcer on her transistor radio introduce the new song, and note that a local girl was in the first few lines, she said.
The song that’s about the band touring and partying along the way begins: “Out on the road for forty days. 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.”
Grand Funk Railroad’s Don Brewer, who wrote and sang lead vocals on “We’re An American Band,“ told The Associated Press: “So sorry to hear of Connie’s death. My memory of her is of a very outgoing ‘sweet’ girl that wanted to be famous. That was her goal in life. May she rest in peace!”
Hamzy told the television station that she first got backstage at the age of 15 after her mother, who didn’t want to deal with traffic, dropped her off early to see Steppenwolf at Barton Coliseum.
“We’d go out there and then we’d wander around the backstage area, and one thing would lead to another,” she told KTHV.
Hamzy, who worked for a time as a substitute teacher, hung out with groups that included Queen, the Eagles and Kiss, KTHV reported. Hamzy told the television station though that Van Halen was a particular favorite.
Michael Hibblen, the news director at KUAR, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that he used to run into her sometimes at a Little Rock bar.
“She would sit there at the bar at The Town Pump and openly share her escapades with rock stars,” said Hibblen.
“She still had fun telling those stories,“ he said. KARK-TV, which first reported Hamzy’s death, reported that in June she signed autographs and posed for pictures at a reception for an exhibit titled “Play It Loud: Concerts at Barton Coliseum“ at the Old State House.
Hamzy’s cousin, Rita Lawrence, said Hamzy, an only child, never married.
“She was just a wild child, and she was really of that era, of the bands and all of that, that was her life, and she loved it,” Lawrence told the AP.