Rockin Romance
Not all love was made to last. When Michelle Phillips and Dennis Hopper took their everlasting vows on 31st October 1970, just eight days of marital bliss followed.
“Seven of those days were pretty good. The eighth day was the bad one.” (Hopper)
Founding member of the Mamas and Papas, Phillips had recently divorced her bandmate John after a string of hedonistic affairs. Perhaps finding a kindred soul in Hopper, a man who dedicated his life to art, sex and drugs, the pair met after Phillips secured the female lead in Hopper’s latest film The Last Movie. Fresh from the success of Easy Rider, a film that became the anthem for anti-establishment rebellion, he set up home in Taos, New Mexico. Los Gallos had been an artist colony for a stream of bohemian creatives from the 1920s to the 1950s, and Hopper aimed to create his own counterculture world. He married Phillips in the Mud Palace; an experimental, communal living space swathed in Navajo rugs and Venetian silks.
Phillips embodied the hippy aesthetic of free love and psychedelia but her ‘girl next door’ looks portrayed an innocence that was irresistible to many. After her divorce from Hopper, she went on to date Hollywood stars including Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty, and married a further three times. While the true reason behind the pair’s divorce was never known, it is rumoured the marriage ended due to Hopper’s unnatural sexual demands. Whether these claims have any truth in them, Hopper was proud to embody the macho bravado image he portrayed in Easy Rider and became an icon for free living and counter culture.
“The cocaine problem in the US is really because of me. There was no cocaine before Easy Rider on the street. After Easy Rider, it was everywhere.” (Hopper)
Two unlikely worlds collided when a Hollywood star married a Boston rockstar on 7th August 1974. Faye Dunaway, an Academy Award winner met Peter Wolf, of The J. Geils Band backstage in San Francisco in 1972 and the pair married one day after their engagement.
Dunaway rose to fame after her performance in Bonnie & Clyde, and unlike many high profile Hollywood stars who found romance with their fellow actors, she enjoyed a five year marriage to Wolf; a pairing that was uncommon in the 1970s.
“With Peter I never had to worry if he loved me. He simply did.” (Dunaway)
While Dunaway was the image of starlet glamour, Wolf fronted a blues rock band; although The J. Geils Band evaded chart success they enjoyed a successful live following. The pair’s career paths couldn’t have been more different; Dunaway flourished in Hollywood while Wolf kept up a gruelling tour schedule, standing at the centre of the 1970s rock scene.
The unlikely couple divorced in 1979 with Dunaway writing in her autobiography; “time, life and the world kept wearing away at our relationship”. Although Wolf has vehemently denied taking inspiration from his former relationship, in 1980 The J. Geils band enjoyed their biggest chart success with a song entitled Love Stinks; Happy Valentines from Rockins!