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Rebel Heart: An American Rock 'n' Roll Journey

3.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  320 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Buell's account of her life at the center of the rock world in the '70s and '80s plunges readers back into a time when rock stars were royalty and when the culture of celebrity for celebrity's sake was just taking off. One of Eileen Ford's most promising new faces, Buell hit New York hard, spending her nights listening to the era's best music and cavorting with the genre's ...more
Hardcover, 388 pages
Published August 13th 2001 by St. Martin's Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 682)
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Andy
Jul 23, 2008 Andy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rock strumpets
Shelves: rock-sleaze
This is my 3rd book written by a Playboy Playmate, the first was "Star" by Pamela Anderson, the second was "Sleeping With Bad Boys" by Alice Whoever, and now this. All three books have the following in common:

a) They all pretty much live through men, but don't forget, they're feminists too, y'nkow.

b) All three women are proud of the fact that they're drop dead gorgeous and will be happy to remind you of that fact every five pages, but they're feminists too, y'know.

c) None of the three books have
...more
Carol Storm
Liv Tyler must be a saint!

I enjoyed this book, but the more I read the more I was in awe of lovely Liv Tyler. Bebe Buell comes acoss as basically a nice person, but incredibly silly, shallow, scatterbrained, disorganized, needy, child-like . . . basically all the things you don't want in a mother!

How Liv Tyler could grow up to be a great actress, successful model, sensible businesswoman, and a devoted single mother, is really one of the great triumphs of the human spirit.

Liv honey, we're all wa
...more
Alisa
Bebe Buell could be called the Pamela Des Barres of the East Coast, but she lacks much of Miss Pamela's charm and likeability. Best known now as the mother of actress Liv Tyler, she famously raised Liv to believe that she was Todd Rundgren's daughter, until Liv figured it out herself that Steven Tyler was in fact her daddy. Some of Buell's claims of how she influenced popular music (and musicians) sound far-fetched. (She says that Elvis Costello was singing about her when he used the word "baby" ...more
Maria Potts
I love a good, juicy tell all from a groupie. I wasn't necessarily let down with the goods in the book, she delivers some good groupie get down.
The stuff about her and Elvis Costello was unbelievably tender and heartbreaking.

However, I just DIDN'T like Bebe at ALL. She fawns and preens over her daughter when she is born....but constantly sends her off to live with grandma and an aunt for LONG periods of time. I know each child is raised differently and traditional parenting may have been a long
...more
Rachel
Feb 11, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
It's a (mostly)fun look at the rock and roll scene of the 1970s and 1980s. Buell dated quite a few high profile people and was part of the NYC scene. It is striking to me in this book and other groupie memoirs that these women are in some ways far from liberated-they may be promiscuous (not always) but they really are just looking for a boyfriend. It seems kind of provincial and odd considering their social scene.

The book goes downhill fast after Buell has her daughter (Liv Tyler). She leaves h
...more
Lisa
Oct 09, 2011 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book certainly has more exclamation points than any book I recall reading. Reviewing the content and style of this book fairly is difficult because the author is so distasteful. The level of self absorption Bebe Buell displays is astonishing. She leaves her infant daughter with her mother and cousin so she can run after rock musicians, and then repeatedly gets pregnant and miscarries, which, I guess, is a blessing since she was incapable of caring for even one infant.

On the other hand, Bue
...more
Wileyacez
Okay--can't deny that I read through this like greased lightning, but it left me with the same feeling that the Patti Boyd memoir did--at the end of the day, these women were in the center of some amazing cultural moments. However, they were simply bystanders; nothing they did themselves is worth much. All of their glory is by association. It leaves a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. It also drives me a lot crazier in my mature years to hear about the money that went into just drugs alone f ...more
Amanda
May 15, 2009 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I pretty much enjoyed this book. The first two thirds of the book are the best... when she is young and should be out partying. After that point it's kind of odd that she can't give up her groupie ways. The reason I liked this book as much as I did was because it is just another point of view of a time I am jealous to not have grown up in.

Bebe has a tendency to be a completely conceited woman which is really off-putting. It even seems like she is jealous when her Daughter Liv whom she conceived
...more
Susie
Horrible! I couldn't even finish because it was so bad. Badly written by someone who's only interesting qualities are the people they've slept with.
Alice
Jun 07, 2010 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
Compelling for the stories but this woman has an appallingly over-developed sense of self-worth.
Ed Mckeon
So, I've been listening to a lot of Elvis Costello circa "Get Happy," and was stuck on "Black and White World" (one of my favorites), when I thought, "this must be about Bebe Buell." I only knew the slightest bit about her relationship and obsession with Costello, so I hunted this bio down. But this kiss-and-tell autobiography is one of the saddest things I've ever read. While one could dismiss this as TMZ-level titillation, I couldn't help sense the ongoing squandering of a life misspent in one ...more
Rebecca
Mar 12, 2008 Rebecca rated it liked it
Recommends it for: aspiring groupies
Shelves: rock-bios

I lived for Rock Scene Magazine. Everyone looked interesting doing interesting things, like hanging out at Max's Kansas City or the lower east side.
Bebe Buell was a regular. Looking wholesome glamorous hanging off the arm of a drugged out rocker. I wanted to know more.


She made a lot of strange choices. Chasing emotionally unavailable men, ruining her contract with Eileen ford, getting involved with Elvis Costello while he was married. Never learning anything just dating more bottom feeder musici
...more
Steph Sutherland
Oct 16, 2011 Steph Sutherland rated it did not like it
I had been looking forward to reading this for a while but it turned out to be very disappointing. Unlike similar books chronicling the time (Pamela Debarres et al) there was a distinct lack of any social comentary and the whole book seemed to be an endless round of name dropping and anecdotes which didnt really seem to have any direction. For me, the book lacked flow and purpose and I didnt feel that the author came across terribly well. The continual claims of influencing almost every piece of ...more
Sara
Jul 26, 2007 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: groupie-lovers
Out of all the many groupie books I've read and loved, this was actually my favorite. I liked it much better than Pamela Des Barres, "I'm With the Band." Ms. Buell isn't always particularly likable, but her stories are juicy and delicious -- a true crazy groupie during rock's most decadent years.
Barbara
Mar 05, 2009 Barbara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have never read anything my anyone so vain. "Everyone said how beautiful, talented,smart I was." "Everyone asked me for style advice because I..........." On and on and on. We only know who she is because she happened to have a child by a famous man. Period.
Tabbee
Jan 12, 2014 Tabbee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wow this woman sure is narcissistic!

If you want to read about some serious name dropping, this may be the book for you !

However, I found it kinda hard to read as it shifted from story to story.

I had no idea that she sang- let alone she was in more then one band ( never heard of any of them )

She really thought it was all about her always ( some of the songs she "claimed" were written about her were disputed by the artists when I looked them up )

Yes, back in the day she was very pretty - she p
...more
Manda
Feb 29, 2016 Manda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Rumor has it that the character of Penny Lane in Almost Famous is based loosely off of Bebe Buell. Since I’ve spent most of my life since the release of Almost Famous idolizing Penny Lane, I obviously had to read this book. Plus, she’s Liv Tyler’s mom, and who is my other music movie idol? That’s right, Faye Dolan from That Thing You Do! played by none other than miss Liv Tyler! I basically went into this book thinking I was going to love it and ...more
Megan
Jul 18, 2007 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
sort of fascinating, in a terribly-written way.
Julie Barrett
I debated how to rate this book but settled on 3 stars since the first half was so entertaining. The tide turned when she started writing about her affair with Elvis Costello. OMG she comes across as a total loon. Elvis dodged a big bullet there. I feel like there has to be a lot more to the story than she is telling the reader. For the most part she stays friends with all her lovers but not Elvis. He literally runs away when he sees her. I guess I'll have to wait for his memoir.

The first half o
...more
Heather
Oct 14, 2008 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew Bebe Buell as a kick ass female rocker first, not Liv Tyler's Mom, not lover of everyone from Mick Jagger to Iggy Pop. And somehow reading of her never ending heart ache about Elvis Costello or the parade of men she played her role of "muse" for really pissed me off. I'm like "Bebe, just rock!" Because sadly, as with most women I know, this hits home hard. Like Bebe, I gave up my goals to assist men with theirs, to be what supports their dreams. My anger with her was probably anger with m ...more
Jessica
This was a very readable memoir. Some things were irritating, but it's a good light read. I didn't like how flippant Buell was about rock stars dating teenagers. It was annoying how she kept saying she was a muse and it was the best thing in the world. Luckily, in the eighties, she realized that being a muse doesn't really do anything for the muse. Most of the book is about her relationships with famous men, which got repetitive after a while. I was more interested in her talking about her work, ...more
Kristin
Dec 18, 2008 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristin by: Michelle Radman
Holy Cow. This girl got around!

But not in a such a slutty way, amazingly enough. She was so young and had this sweetness about her that somehow balanced out the fact that she was with so many rock and roll gods. Well, that and the fact that much of her motivation seemed to come from a sense of trying to "even the score" with her main boyfriend who was going out on her every time she turned her back.

The real heart breaker of the book is the story about Elvis Costello. Wow. I won't spoil anything
...more
Megan
Dec 07, 2015 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book isn't great but all the insight into Elvis Costello is priceless.
Heather
I can't believe I am admitting to having read this book but it was a great guilty pleasure. It is proof that there is such a thing as being too beautiful. Thankfully I never had that problem :) Facisinating for anyone into the rock n roll memoir genre.
Ruth
Oct 10, 2011 Ruth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am currently on a rock-and-roll memoir kick, and I found this one quite interesting. Knowing you have to take everything Bebe says with a grain of salt, the hardest part to overcome might be her constantly reminding you of her beauty. All in all, I found it fascinating. You know she wasn't the first young woman to run from the arms of one man to the next in search of love ... hers just happened to be on the cutting edge of rock and roll history.
Jayne Lamb
Jul 27, 2011 Jayne Lamb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slightly lesser cousin to 'Im With the Band' by Pamela Des Barres, it's still got the dirt about Liv Tyler thinking her dad's Todd Rungdren and all the hell Elvis Costello put her through (Costello fans will not like this book, though he appears on and off all the way through it. It's a little more eightie's - and I'm not convinced that Prince is actually singing 'Bebe, you're much too fast' on LRC.
Tiffany Newman
i really didn't like this book because she thought she the one who got into everyone famous. what she did to liv tyler was really wrong and he was everyone girlfriend but still with a guy saying that she cheating on him with may rock stars
Laura
Feb 16, 2007 Laura rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Groupies
I should be embarassed that I read this but I like groupie/rocknroll/sex/drug books. She's ditzy and has an inflated sense of self, but she did have sex with a lot of interesting people and she gave the world Liv Tyler.
Dawn
Aug 29, 2008 Dawn rated it liked it
Bebe is prone to making some grand statements that I don't quite buy, but the book is juicy and fascinating if you are interested in the 70s rock scene. She's surprisingly endearing. Great beach read.
Carisa
Jul 23, 2007 Carisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
extremely entertaining. bio on liv tyler's mom who was a total groupie. she's pretty full of herself and i never would have chosen to read this if it weren't for a book club. a light, fluffy read.
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