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Rebel Heart: An American Rock 'n' Roll Journey Hardcover – August 13, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
High-spirited teenager Bebe Buell didn't want to stay home in Virginia in the early 1970s; she knew she was destined for a faster paced life. After graduating from high school, she ran away to Virginia Beach to escape her father's strict military discipline. She returned home, but, with her mother's support, soon moved to New York and became a moderately successful Eileen Ford model. However, even more appealing to Bebe was the world of rock music. She became a groupie of sorts hanging out with Todd Rundgren, Andy Warhol and Iggy Pop. (She's said to have provided some of the inspiration for Kate Hudson's character in Almost Famous.) In addition to Bebe's sexual exploits with celebrities (the list is long; highlights include David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart), she served as a muse and actual wordsmith, recording with the Cars in 1980: "I was never on a quest for sex itself. In fact, to me, it's the hardest part of a relationship. I was always on a quest for rock 'n' roll." From the 1970s to the 1990s, she drifted from man to man and drugs of various sorts, with the one stable force being her daughter, Liv Tyler, by Aerosmith's Steven Tyler. While some aging boomers may relish another account of the good old, bad old days of rock and roll, this memoir is disappointing. Bebe's raucous life amid glam rockers and glitterati sure sounds fun, but her story adds little to what has already been documented about these times. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When rock took its first giant steps in the mid-1960s, there was Pamela Des Barres (I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie. o.p.); when it blew its wad in the late 1970s, there was Bebe Buell, ex-Ford model and Playboy centerfold. The former proudly calls herself a groupie, the latter insists on muse. Buell's garrulous account/defense of her rock'n'roll lifestyle, which produced actress Liv Tyler (her illegitimate daughter by Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler), lacks a sense of humor; looking back on that much excess has to be somewhat funny. Charges of pretentiousness are beside the point, though. One must judge a memoir of this type by its juiciness, and this rates an eight. Todd Rundgren, Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, David Bowie, and Jimmy Page aside, Buell dishes on the great unrequited love of her life, Elvis Costello, who was married to his first wife when Buell conceived a child (she later aborted it and regrets it to this day). Writes Buell, "I can very proudly say that when I was involved with Elvis, he made some of the greatest records of his career." Recommended for celebrity sickos, 1970s rock fans, and larger public library music collections. (Photographs not seen.) Heather McCormack, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first half of the book was a pretty quick read. I have read the other reviews, and I'm not sure what people were expecting from a model writing a biography..... Anyhow...... The earlier part of the book captured a little bit of the feel of that time period, which I wish there were more of. There was some fun tidbits and some shocking revelations about people I have been rocking out to all my life. Bebe seemed to think she was extra special with all these rock gods, and perhaps she was for a second or two, but the sad part is, she was just one of hundreds of girls shuffled around in this scene.
The second half of the book was a bit tedious and depressing. The "Little Red Corvette" ownership was a turning point for me that pretty much wiped the board clean of authenticity of the 'facts' being told in this book. Her marriage made me cringe, as I bought the book to read about 'real' rock stars, not some freeloading douchbag wanna be who was obviously using Bebe and Liv for their music connections. I really felt like I was wasting my time reading about him.
Overall the story never really seemed to have an apex, it just seemed to go down hill chapter after chapter.
I guess it's some of the uglier sides of rock and roll, and things could have been much worse for Bebe had she become a junkie or such, but it didn't seem like much of a happy life.