A Field Guide to Music’s Wildest Fan Bases

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The phenomenon of groupies became prominent and well publicized in the 1960s and '70s, but musicians have been inspiring rabid, obsessive fans since well before then. In the 1800s, Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt was maybe the first musician to have such devoted fans that a movement was named after him, with "Lisztomania" (you may recognize the term from the Phoenix song of the same name) sweeping across Europe from 1842 onwards. Apparently, "women fought over his silk handkerchiefs and velvet gloves, which they ripped to shreds as souvenirs," while his concerts were described with almost mythical reverence.

With social media and the internet, fans can feel closer to their artists than ever before, and can more easily connect with others who feel the same way, and that means today's musicians have some of the wildest fan-bases which even rival Beatlemania in its heyday. For anyone looking to head out into the wild and spot a Belieber, Little Monster, Phan, or Task Force member, here is our field-guide to music's wildest fan bases, including such useful information as their preferred habitat, defining features, and threat level.

Stay safe, and happy hunting!

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