REBEL HEART by Bebe Buell


An American Rock and Roll Journey
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A name-dropping memoir (“I had a similar experience with Salvador Dalí”) by the ex-model who became lover and muse to a 30-year stretch of American glitterati.

Buell moved to New York in 1972 and began a remarkable series of affairs with rock musicians, fashion photographers, and assorted celebrities. Although she claims that she was never simply questing after sex (and that she felt hurt because “people always wanted to have sex with me, instead of wondering what I thought or felt”), she sure describes it with great gusto here. There were, for starters, Todd Rundgren (“incredible sexual energy, we had sex all the time”), David Bowie (“I don’t think I was really his cup of tea sexually. I wasn’t black and I wasn’t weird”), Jimmy Page (“When he kissed me, he loved to spew his saliva into my mouth”), Rod Stewart (“We really liked each other sexually and had a real fondness for one another”), Elvis Costello (“unbridled and mutually satisfying passion”), and Jack Nicholson (“I was having my first very cool sex-against-the-car-with-Jack Nicholson lesson”). Although she does develop a theme along the way, the author is perfectly happy simply to pursue the famous (“I got to see Keith Moon before he died”) or go gaga over John Lennon (“Oh man, if he wasn’t special, then I’m insane”). She also has some tender recollections of Mick Jagger (“the first time in my life that I had an orgasm without clitoral stimulation”). The saving grace is that Buell has a carbonated sense of humor, describing herself as a “quasi-scene-maker pseudocelebrity” and dubbing Steve Tyler (of Aerosmith) “ ‘the poor man’s Mick Jagger’ because of the remarkable resemblance in their lips.” Less lively pages are devoted to her own singing career and life with daughter Liv Tyler.

In the end, though, it all feels a little sad, and Buell has the smarts to know it: “I wanted to make others happy more than I wanted to make myself happy.”

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-312-26694-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2001


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