Miss Marianne Faithfull:

Miss Marianne Faithfull:
(Born December 29, 1946) Songs she inspired: She Smiled Sweetly, Let's Spend The Night Together, She's Like A Rainbow, You Can't Always Get What You Want, Wild Horses, I Got The Blues, 100 Years Ago, Winter

Miss Anita Pallenberg:

Miss Anita Pallenberg:
(Born April 6, 1942) Songs she inspired: You Got The Silver, Sister Morphine (words by Marianne), Wild Horses, Coming Down Again, Angie, Beast Of Burden, All About You

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bebe Buell

Update (January 2018): 
I haven’t posted a blog in 6 years due to people stealing all my scans of pics I had spent time on and money on acquiring, but it needs to be said that my 2009 review of this book (when I was a dumbass 22-year-old) was, while what I felt at the time without knowing her, couldn’t have been more incorrect. Now that I know her and we are—amazingly!—friends, I can personally attest that she is absolutely *nothing* like the way I thought she came off in the book. This is undoubtedly due to the misogynist gaze of co-author Victor Bockris. When Bebe writes her second book, which I hope to be a part of, her true voice and beautiful personality will come through. She’s not at all conceited. She’s one of the most inside-and-outside beautiful people I have ever met in my life.
So, I finally got around to starting Bebe Buell's autobiography (with Victor Bockris) the other day, 2001's Rebel Heart.  I haven't finished it, so I suppose I can't give a thorough "review" of sorts, but I thought I'd scan the photos from it and make an entry anyway.  Bebe, of course, was a legendary "groupie" (she agrees with the legendary part, but not the groupie bit) of the mid-1970's, bedding everyone from boyfriend Todd Rundgren to childhood crush Mick Jagger, to Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, Steven Tyler, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Stiv Bators... I'm probably forgetting some.  She was a staple at Max's Kansas City, a model with a wild side and a deep love of rock n' roll and the men who made it (a sentiment I can surely agree with).  When she was growing up in Portsmouth, Virginia, she idolized Anita Pallenberg and Marianne Faithfull, was awed by their beauty and the sheer amazingness they must have had to have been with their Rolling Stones boyfriends.  She wanted to be just like them.  "Hmm," I thought when I read that, "I'm probably going to like this woman."  Eh, not so much.  I certainly think that many of the best muses of the 60's and 70's were unfairly labeled groupies (since groupie has a somewhat negative connotation), but Bebe's constant reiterating throughout the book of how wonderful she was gets unbelievably tiresome.  That is my main complaint.  It's obvious to all who read this book that many rock stars desired her company, which in and of itself is a testament to her appeal; nonetheless, we are constantly reminded of how beautiful and important Bebe was.  I find something about writing, "I was the most beautiful girl in New York City", or "After Playboy came out, I was the most desirable girl in rock n' roll" (and there are dozens of examples of this) just a bit... odd.  Of course she was beautiful; there's no denying that.  But I appreciate her beauty less and less by reading such statements countless times.  Vanity I don't take issue with; I like looking in the mirror more than most people I'd say, but conceit is another matter, and Bebe definitely is armed with both, at least that's how she comes off in this book.  Part of me thinks, "OK, so what if she brags about her relationships with these guys? It is pretty impressive, if you're into that sort of thing, and why shouldn't she be proud of it?  Mick, Steven, Rod -- they were sex symbols, the cream of the crop.  Good for her." And of course, when one grows old and is no longer 21, I'm sure it's glorious to re-live those memories of when life was grander, so maybe she's just taking a trip down memory lane and making sure everyone knows, "Hey, I was THIS AMAZING".  But it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.  Bebe has no great talent for writing, although throughout the book she also mentions how smart and witty she is.  Maybe this simply doesn't translate on the page, but is evident in real life.  I've never met her, so I can't say.  The few times I've seen her interviewed on TV, she comes off likeable enough, so who knows?  Her stories are often entertaining, especially the bits about Mick and Keith, as they came off very much like I imagine they would be.  It was interesting to read of her affair with Jimmy Page, and how into him she was.  However, her relationship with Todd seemed to be plauged by infidelity from the very beginning, and quite possibly, it was her infidelities more than his.  Yet she still seems to act like the only reason she went off and dated or fucked other guys was because he was having affairs with other women.  So far, I've only read of his being with two other girls (that I can recall), whereas she's been with four or five other men.  I know the 70's were a different time with a more casual attitude towards sex, and maybe it's just me, but even if Todd cheated first, the fact that she did it over and over again doesn't condone it.  She talks of how she'd cry endlessly over his affairs, which made me wonder, "Uhh... did you give a shit about how he was feeling when you did the same thing?"  So I don't really feel sorry for her, and I think I'd emphasize more if she just said, "It was a cruel thing to do, childish and stupid, and I regret it".  In Marianne's autobiography, for example, she was always quick to point out errors in her judgement and cruelty in her behavior.  Here, I don't feel that as much.  She also seemed to have issues with many other women on the New York / Max's Kansas City scene - rock writer Lisa Robinson, Cyrinda Foxe (ex of both Steven Tyler and formerly of David Johansen of the Dolls), and Elissa Perry (thus far in the book - and I should say, I didn't care for Cyrinda's autobiography much either).  To this she simply attributes jealousy on their parts.  Perhaps farther along in the book she becomes more compelling to the reader (I hope so), but for now, the self-centeredness of her overall tone and the quality of the writing serve as major detractors.  Have you all read it?  What do you think?

All photos = my scans from Rebel Heart


Lovely Leti said...

That was a woman who knew how to party and keep her men happy! ;) Bebe was one of a kind, one hell of a groupie. I liked the pics with Steven and Rod, there are only a few on the net and the one with Marianne, wow! Let´s talk about icons! ;) I like Bebe but Pamela is my fav after Marianne and Anita. These days, i´m reading "I´m with the Band, Confessions of a groupie", AGAIN! I truly love that book! Peace! Have a happy new year, girl!


Anonymous said...

I find her to be captivating and not at all stuck on herself. The book was written with someone so I don't completely blame Bebe for any poor editing or lack of proper editing.
Her remarks about her "beauty" were always in reference to someone elses observations- she doesn't just blurt out "I'm so beautiful!". The truth is SHE WAS the first Playboy Centerfold with a rock star BF and I do believe she was hounded by the rock boys.
Marianne Faithfull's book talks about her beauty even more if you ask me. She comes out and says it several times- Bebe and Marianne's books have that similar tone.
Bebe Buell's book made me cry in a couple of spots. She is honest and is not afraid to discuss her faults or mistakes.
She is not just a groupie so I can see why it is or was important for her to get that across. I don't blame her for not wanting to be stuck in the same catogory as some of these groupie chicks.
The Bebe's and Marianne's are rare and special.
Try to read the book with a less eye on her youth and more on what she learned.
The Elvis Costello parts are heartbreaking and I cried.
She tells a good story.
I love the woman and her new album is amazing. Its called SUGAR and I downloaded it from iTunes. It is on Amazon too.
The songs on that are like a bio.
She is this generations Marianne Faithfull.

Leith said...

Thanks for your comment. I've only gotten half way, like I said, so maybe I'll feel differently the more I read, and I hope so, because I've always liked her and thought she was one of the prettiest rock star girlfriends ever. I'm always happy to hear people who have a difference of opinion!

Anonymous said...

The book doesn't end any better, we still see the "rock stars" etc and to that end, where is she now? Almost a sad story... John

Anonymous said...

First of all,Rebel Heart is not a new book. It came out in 2001 and was a New York Times Best Seller by the time the paperback was released in 2002.
In 2002 Bebe Buell married her long time boyfriend and they are still together.
She has returned to making music and that is exciting to me because she is very talented.
I agree with the person who said her new album is really good. It is better than good. It is GREAT!
I live in the New York area so I am going to see her play the new album SUGAR live on Jan. 13th at The Hiro Ballroom.Like Marianne Faithfull she will probably just continue making her music and doing her thing- touring, etc...
Bebe Buell is a legend and she did not get as far as she did in her life by just being pretty.
In my opinion she wasn't the prettiest of all the girls on the scene- she was one of the most intelligent. Beauty and brains but she also had some rough times which I believe has led to her current state of success and happiness.
Before you attack her or write her off for things that happened decades ago, why not do your research first?
Visit bebebuell.org
Buy her album on either iTunes or Amazon MP3. Go see her live.
Another thing that sets her apart is her daughter Liv. Liv turned out fantastic and their relationship is solid and strong. Liv is often at her mother's performances and they do lots of charity work together.
I respect that Bebe gave up her music for several years to make sure Liv was set in her own life and career. She did what a mother is supposed to do.
Now she is back and I want to support her.
She has many fans like me and we will all be there screaming in the front at her shows in New York.
If you are too lazy or cheap to download her record for $8.99 then go listen to the snippets that are upon My Space. I think that link is myspace.com/bebebuellband
??? Hope that's it.
Before you trash her, judge her or punish her for things that happened in the 1970s or 1980's educate yourself and be fair.
She has never become a drug addict and she looks healthy and beautiful.
Good for her.
Viva la Bebe!!

Anonymous said...

I have something to add to this pie. I am so not in agreement with your dis of Bebe and other women. Her love of Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry is explored in the book. She does not come off like a non supportive person of other women. The opposite actually. She even helped manage Debbie Harry's film career.
Maybe the parts about that Foxe woman or the one that was married to Joe Perry are true. Chicks in the Aerosmith camp are legendary for being troublemakers and Bebe had to be at the brunt of that. If she didn't have the nicest things to say about them, she is probably right- didn't they conribute to breaking up Aerosmith at one point and didn't one of them lie to Steven about who Bebe's baby was? I watched that Behind The Music and Steven Tyler himself said he had ben lied to by Joe's then wife- Ellissa?? Perry.
Look, to me Bebe has achieved her iconic status. Justifiably.
You just can't get it fully or capture it in the written word until you've seen her performance- seen her onstage. That's when it all clicked for me.
Regards, Mickey...

Leith said...

I don't feel like I'm dissing Bebe "and other women"... what other women? I said that I think women back then were UNfairly labeled groupies. I hope people haven't mistook my criticism of a few aspects of the book as my hating on Bebe. All I said was that the writing wasn't stellar and that it seems (to me, just my opinion here) that she goes on and on about her looks. But perhaps that's just how I've interpreted it. I don't doubt that Elissa and Cyrinda were bitchy and hard to deal with (Elissa was for sure, from the accounts I've read), and I prefer Bebe's book already to Cyrinda's. Maybe I just expected this book to be different than it is (so far). I also enjoyed her talking about Patti (I'm a fan of hers as well). And it's wonderful that she never became an addict after watching so many people suffer that fate (her and my heroines Marianne and Anita, for example).

Michelle said...

First of all, Leith darling, I enjoyed your commentary. I got the book from the library eons ago, and yes, she comes off as sufficiently self-centered. As you've showcased, she did a magnificent job of compiling endless photographs, which make the book intriguing. But I happen to not think that there is anything legendary or iconic about going to bed with a few musicians. I can say that the book only grows more narcissistic in nature as it carries on. The names get smaller, and then you're left with her mental instability and deep longing for fame. But alas, this is just my opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own! I just think its a little funny that all of these pro- Bebe comments seem to have an ounce of promotion in them. Anyway, do let us know what you think! xo.

Anonymous said...

Let me make one thing very clear. I am one of her fans. I adore her. It really comes from more than a book.
Her positive energy and attitude is what I love. I hated the book.
I hated that she was silenced and editors and a poor co writer choice destroyed an amazing life. An amazing story.
I feel bad for Bebe that all that is focused on is these men. It is HER that I think is special.
If all she wanted was fame she'd jump on the Pamela Des Barres bandwagon and not lay herself out to get kicked in the teeth with this new record.
So you smell promotion? Well rightly so. She deserves it. She made a brilliant record.
I understand some of the negative stuff. Who's perfect? No one. It is how she survived, how her daughter turned out so well, how she is not afraid to make her mark and do what SHE wants. Not what all y'all think.
I love her for how BRAVE she is.
I love her because she is not perfect.
Flawed and brilliant.
That's how I like my stars.
I like this blog- I think your opinion has some legs. But I don't care.
Bebe is fabulous and imperfect. Just like me, lol.
I think a lot of us queens like Bebe.

Anonymous said...

Oh and may I also add that what I think Mickey meant about the dis factor was that you made it sound like she says nothing but negative things about women, when in my opinion her friendships with some of her female friends is yet another thing I like about Bebe.
I think you wrote a good blog but honey it was exaggerated and slanted to the neg. The book is not great but it is not that horrible.There are lots of great stories and times when she is hard on herself. She admits faults.

You aren't dising other women.
Bebe is going to get the haters and the ones who love her and never miss a performance like me.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

If thats what you think or are hoping for, sorry. If I know one thing about Bebe Buell, I know she has zero computer skills and most likely will never see any of this dribble.
I however will defend her with my big gay heart forever.

LEITH~~ sorry this turned into a crazy zone and I would have registered but it is people like the last person to post that makes me afraid to share my personal info. The stalker types are so crazy.
Your blog is really good and I think you have every right in the world to have an opinion. Just because I don't agree does not mean anything. I've been into this woman for a LONG time so I always jump in and go a bit nuts, lol. No hard feelings. The pictures are what people are really going to focus on.

As for the haters- you have a valid place as well and the more you hate the more I LOVE! The more you hate the more I KNOW that Miss Bebe is a controversial babe. If you really didn't care and dismissed her so much you would not bother to comment.

As for Miss Debbie Harry- she and Bebe are dear great friends for decades so I'm sure they have heard it all before. Good and bad.

So Leith have a good new year and keep the love for Bebe and Pam, etc..., going. They are great women. In Bebe's case I'm a bit partial but I love all the rock chicks galore.
Us queens in New Jersey love our Jersey girls- Debbie Harry is a true Jersey gal.

Peace on ya for the New Year.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Yizmo said...

I can't agree with you more. I haven't finished the book either and it's been weeks since I've gotten myself to read more. I got sick of the narcissism. I sped through the first chapters and as I read more and more of her excessive self worth, I couldn't help but see someone just desperate for affirmation of her "coolness" rather than just BEING cool.

Again, not dismissing her entirely as a person or a musician. But as a writer, yes.

Anonymous said...

Twas once a magical time when one could write "Bebe Buell's biggest accomplishment this year will be to 'Get Stoned and Run Around'. From a mid-70's Creem, referred to her then-Single. At the time, I thought she was humbly aware of her limitations as an artist And a writer - titling a song like that. Live and learn. God doesn't make better mothers, tho. Alas, next year's model will be Bebe Gunn. Changing of the Guard. I'm glad you're writing. Peace.

Leith said...

miss you, thanks for the comment

SBG said...

Pamela Des Barres' book is infinitely better-written, juicier and more interesting. Bebe's book is a tedious and somewhat delusional ode to herself. Sure, she screwed some rockers. And... so what? She was one of thousands. Her legacy as "legend" exists mostly in her head and those of the many pseudonyms she creates for herself to post praises about herself. Just check out the Amazon "reviews" for her book. Bebe is well-known for Googling herself obsessively and posting multiple anonymous messages about herself posing as a "fan." Want to correspond with her? Just mention her name in a blog or something. She'll be around within 2 hours.

Anonymous said...

Just saw Bebe live with her band and I had the time of my life.
I don't know if the bad things being said about her by some of you is true or not. What I do know is Bebe Buell put on one hell of a show for us.
I googled her because I loved the show and came across this blog.
Seems sort of strange to put so many photos of someone up on your blog and then it turns out to not be so real.
She did not suck onstage. She was very comfortable up there and mighty good at it too.
This last comment by SBG is the nuttiest thing I ever read, lol
Why do you even bother to drum this up then?
I'm on team Bebe.
She rocks.

Anonymous said...

OMG SBG- can I just say that it seems more like YOU obsessively google Bebe and when you see anything written about her you swoop in and slag her off.
You are obviously the same person who's doing this everywhere. I can tell by your tone and the things you say over and over.
YOU ARE OBSESSED with Bebe and have been for years.
Bringing up Amazon and her book. News flash- Bebe's book is 10 yeas old! Get over it!
I often use Amazon and I know for a fact you cannot review a book unless you have purchased something there and have an account and registered credit card.
Bebe has gotten some great reviews, some bad reviews and some so so reviews.
There will be those who like, even love, the book.
Just give it a rest- I noticed that your other comments on here were removed. That is probably due to your obsessive rants.

Anonymous said...

ONE review per customer per product.
Get a life SBG

Anonymous said...

Bebe, of all the names you could have concocted, "Anonymous" is probably the funniest -- and least self-aware.

I'm sure you'll post at least 4 responses to this, posing as that curiously rabid nameless fan of Bebe, a delusional rockstar wannabe, legend in her own mind, overweight menopausal onetime groupie who (like zillions of much more interesting and iconic girls) glommed on to a bunch of rockers who ultimately dumped her. If you were as cool as you claim to be, you'd just let it go. But you can't. Sad, sad, sad (but quite funny). Now post more about the great Bebe show you saw (but don't forget, you pretended you didn't even really know who she was).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is the only tag available for those who wish to remain nameless. I'm certainly not BB but I am anonymous.

Not cool for you to bash people posting. You can have your theory but you don't need to bash. Groupie bashing is just ugly and I don't think that is where Leith wanted this to go.

If you have some personal psycho hang up with BB, then take it somewhere else.

I don't even want to write the woman's name because your attack is not normal when it appears.
It is disturbing actually.

I've seen other posts by you in other places. Your style is extremely transparent.
And you have issues, sweetheart.
Not healthy stuff you post.
Groupie bashing should be not acceptable on a blog that celebrates the style of these women.

You taking the time to bash her so hard just shows your problems run deep.

Anonymous said...

I have known Bebe for quite some time and it is very difficult to spend time with her because all she does it talk about herself and is not interested in you at all. She has a very kind side but her negative aspects get in the way most of the time. That's why I chose not to associate with her anymore. As much as I agree that she is completely obsessed with herself and has an unhealthy desire to be famous, she is also just a human being. Who in this society doesn't want to be beautiful and famous? It is just unfortunate that she is in her 50's and is so delusional and self centered and she still thinks she needs to prove to everyone how important she is. It's weird because nobody cares. I don't see how she could be a very happy person based on what I've encountered. And knowing her, I have no doubt whatsoever that she is the one commenting on here and promoting herself. I wish her well.

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Anonymous said...

In Bebe's case her age is far from an obstacle- it is part of what makes her so cool.
And what entertainer is not self absorbed? Part of the deal.
I think this recent review of her show in Hollywood this month kind of blows your theory to hell.

What I dislike a lot more than an overly confident rock chick, is a jealous woman slamming the overly confident rock chick.

Hey Bebe- you keep right on keeping on. You kicked some major doubting butt in Los Angeles. People are still taking about it!
I bought the vinyl of your record. Great packaging.
E1 did a good job.

Anonymous said...

You got me googling to see if there are more new reviews and interviews and there are. I especially liked this one.

I'll post more when I find them- she's ON FIRE! No wonder the haters are coming out of the woodwork, lol.

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Anonymous said...

I don't think Bebe was /the prettiest/ chick outta the bunch. Nevertheless, she'd been acting in a rather smart way (not being particularly witty or literate) and she did know how to adapt to the era she lived in. She did exactly what society taught her. She had to be "someone" so she went after those men. I honestly don't think that Bebe would have achieved musically as much as she has, having not been pretty or dating those guys. Her book is rather fun to read, however totally unreliable as majority of groupies' memoirs had been (Cyrinda Foxe, Catherine James etc etc). It's always interesting to see how one decides to write down and narrate his own story, but it's almost inevitable for the harsh truth to be omitted. Having been given the chance to talk to her, I'd say she's real polite. Based on people's opinons on Bebe (people who'd been around her and got to know her well), she is not the archetypal of what we'd call a "nice person" but then again who are we or they to judge. xx

FunSized said...

After reading many excerpts of the book, these comments and watching some Bebe performance videos, I would say that these comments don't just smack of promotion, they smack of shill. Many of them cover the same talking points and happen to be "Anonymous".

Anonymous said...

I recently met someone who knows Bebe. She cautioned me that though Bebe is a kind person with a good heart, she is also highly self-important and that some or more of the accounts in her book are fictional, and that the book as a whole is exaggerated. I bought it because I've recently become more interested in rock'n roll, so I was in it for the stories about the musicians. She provides but also comes off as delusional and includes as many references to her beauty as possible. I suspect that Bebe made sure she included every compliment (perceived or no), that she received on her looks from another famous person. Bebe is an important 'groupie' of the era, but I suspect her of milking her glory days for a legendary image, that she perhaps doesn't deserve. I agree with your analysis, and I too had the feeling of liking her less and less as I read further in. I think that she is considered legendary primarily because of the paternity of her daughter, and her contributions to the music of her time are minimal and contested at best.

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Sam Davis said...

I've seen people say Bebe is mentally ill all over the internet- did Bebe herself ever come out and say it? People say she's on medication. I can't tell if they're trying to insult her (which is awful because I am mentally ill and still am very capable of being a functioning human being) or they're serious. I'm replying to a comment, not the original post. But I've seen this language on the depths of the internet before.