Bebe Buell

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Bebe Buell
Bebe Buell at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Buell at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival
Born Beverle Lorence Buell
(1953-07-14) July 14, 1953 (age 62)
Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.
Residence Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.[1]
Nationality American
Ethnicity German
Occupation Model, singer
Spouse(s) Coyote Shivers (m. 1992–99)
Jim Wallerstein (m. 2002)
Children Liv Tyler
Playboy centerfold appearance
November 1974
Preceded by Ester Cordet
Succeeded by Janice Raymond
Personal details
Measurements Bust: 35 in / 89 cm
Waist: 24 in / 61 cm
Hips: 35 in / 89 cm
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[2]
Weight 120 lb (54 kg; 8.6 st)

Beverle Lorence "Bebe" Buell (born July 14, 1953) is an American singer and former fashion model, and Playboy magazine's November 1974 Playmate of the Month. Buell moved to New York in 1971 after signing a modeling contract with Eileen Ford, and garnered public notoriety after her publicized relationship with musician Todd Rundgren from 1972 until 1979, as well as with several rock musicians over the following four decades. She is the mother of actress Liv Tyler, whom she had with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler in 1977.

In 2001, Buell wrote an autobiography (with Victor Bockris) titled Rebel Heart: An American Rock and Roll Journey. The book was a New York Times bestseller. The paperback was issued in 2002.

Early life[edit]

Buell was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, the daughter of Dorothea (Brown) Johnson, who founded the Protocol School of Washington, and Harold Lloyd Buell.[3][4] As her father was not at home at the time of Buell's birth, her mother waited until he got back before naming her daughter. The nurses in the hospital took to calling her "Baby Buell," which is where her nickname of "Bebe" originated. [5] She is of German descent.[6][7]



Buell was discovered by modeling agency executive Eileen Ford after high school graduation at age 17,[8] and relocated to New York City at age 18.[1] She was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month for the November 1974 issue; her centerfold was photographed by Richard Fegley. In describing her early years and modeling career, Buell stated: "[I wanted] to be a professional singer [which was why] I came to New York— yes, I was a pretty young girl, so I fell into the modeling thing, and [then] I did Playboy, so then the rock stars came-a-hunting, as I like to say."[9]


In 1981, Buell recorded a four song EP on Rhino Records, produced by Rick Derringer and Ric Ocasek, with the Cars serving as her band on two tracks.[2] The rock band the Power Station began in 1984 when her then-boyfriend John Taylor (of Duran Duran fame) pulled some famous friends together to provide backing for another of Buell's musical efforts. She also formed the band the B-Sides in 1980 but they disbanded in 1985.

She founded another band called the Gargoyles in 1985, and released a couple of singles. A few large record companies were showing interest, but they disbanded when the paternity of her daughter Liv became publicly known in 1991. She withdrew from performing for six years in the 1990s. Buell managed her daughter Liv, helping to launch her career as a successful international model and actress. She also represented actress Charis Michelsen.

After Buell's daughter left home in 1997, Buell returned to music to record a solo effort with producer Don Fleming, released in 2000. She also performed around New York with the Bebe Buell Band and, later, with Boston musicians the Rudds and the Neighborhoods' drummer Johnny Lynch to form a new band for a few shows which also included husband Jim Wallerstein.

She released her first recording in ten years with a single "Air Kisses for the Masses" in May 2009 and completed recording of a full-length 12-song album, set for late Fall 2009. It can be downloaded on iTunes or Amazon MP3. Buell is playing a series of live shows in the New York City area to promote the single.

In September 2011, Buell released Hard Love, an aggressive rock album influenced by grunge and glam rock.[10] The album was produced by Bebe's husband James Wallerstein of the critically acclaimed proto-grunge band Das Damen, and Stephen DeAcutis. The 11-track record features original songs alongside covers of Gang of Four's "I Love a Man in Uniform" and "Baby Baby" by the English punk rock band the Vibrators.

Personal life[edit]

Buell has dated people including musicians beginning with Paul Cowsill of the Cowsills when she was 16.[11] She dated rock musicians including Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Todd Rundgren, Jimmy Page, and Steven Tyler, but she rejects the label "groupie".[12][13]

From 1972 to 1979, Bebe Buell had a longterm, on and off, relationship with Todd Rundgren. In 1976, Buell became unexpectedly pregnant from her brief relationship with Steven Tyler. On July 1, 1977, Buell gave birth to future actress/model Liv Tyler, but Buell initially named the daughter Liv Rundgren and claimed that Todd Rundgren was the biological father to protect the child from Tyler's drug addiction. Rundgren and Buell ended their romantic relationship shortly after Liv's birth, but Rundgren put his heart and soul into the "white lie". At age nine, Liv found out that she was Steven Tyler's biological daughter.[14][15][16]

In 1992, Buell married for the first time. She wed sometime-musician and actor Coyote Shivers.[2] They divorced in 1999 after a year-long separation.[17] In 2002, she married musician Jim Wallerstein[12] (aka Jim Walters) of Das Damen and Vacationland fame.

For his film Almost Famous, music journalist and filmmaker Cameron Crowe developed the groupie character Penny Lane as a composite of a handful of girls he saw backstage in the late 1960s and early 1970s at concerts calling themselves the "Flying Garter Girls". One girl who went by the nickname Pennie Lane is real-life Pennie Trumbull, born in Portland, Oregon, in 1954.[18] Though they were not in the Flying Garter Girls group, various other women have been described as Crowe's inspiration, for instance Pamela Des Barres[19] and Buell. Buell partially inspired Crowe; he named a lead singer character Jeff Bebe.[20]

Buell lived in New York and New Jersey[9] before relocating to Nashville, Tennessee in 2014.[21]



  • Covers Girl (1981), 12" 4 song EP produced by Ric Ocasek & Rick Derringer
  1. "My Little Red Book"
  2. "Wild One Forever"
  3. "The Little Black Egg"
  4. "Funtime"
  • "Hard Love (2011), 11-track album produced by James Wallerstein and Stephen DeAcutis.
  1. "Mother of Rock'n'Roll"
  2. "Devil You Know"
  3. "Heartbeat"
  4. "Got It All Wrong"
  5. "Baby Baby"
  6. "Black Angel"
  7. "Sugar"
  8. "I Love a Man in Uniform"
  9. "Timeline"
  10. "Normal Girl"
  11. "I Will Wait"
  • "Air Kisses For The Masses" (2009) single iTunes, Amazon MP3, produced by Twinomatick
  • Free To Rock (2000) produced by Don Fleming with the Bebe Buell Band
  • Retrosexual, (1994, reissued 2004) for Sky Dog Records France
  • Little Black Egg (1982), 7" Single/UK for Moonlight Records

with the B-Sides

  • A Side of the B-Sides (1984), 3 song 12" EP Picture Disc produced by Todd Rundgren
  1. "Mr. Never Forever"
  2. "Windy Words"
  3. "Battle Cry"

with the Gargoyles

Two 45 releases:

  • "Gargoyle"/"Bored Baby" (1993), 7" Single/Cave Creek Records/Ultra Under
  • "Jacuzzi Jungle"/"Thirteen Wrong Turns" (1987), 7" Single/Route One Records

Cassette EP, "Bebe Buell and the Gargoyles": "Vibrator"/"Lick it and Stick it"/"Take Me to Your Leader"/"Luv Reaction" (1988), FISHTRAKS


  1. ^ a b White, Abby (2014-05-08). "Bebe Buell, rock 'n' roll's most famous girlfriend, on her debut show at The Bluebird". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2015-09-18. 
  2. ^ a b c Buell, Bebe and Bockris, Victor. Rebel Heart: An American Rock and Roll Journey. St. Martin's Press, 2001. (ISBN 0-312-26694-4, ISBN 0-312-30155-3)
  3. ^ Morris, Bob (November 21, 2004). "Manners in the Time of Flu". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2009. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Buell, Bebe (2001). Rebel Heart: An American Rock and Roll Journey (First ed.). St. Martin's Press. p. 349. 
  6. ^ Juice Magazine: "Bebe Buell - INTERVIEW BY STEVE OLSON" September 2009 | Are you an American? Yes. I am. I’m German American. Were you born in the states? Yes. My grandparents were German
  7. ^ Buell, 2001, pp. 199, 349 |I'm from strong German stock, so I'm not capable of breaking down completely
  8. ^ "About". Bebe Buell. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Indie Power TV: Interview with Bebe Buell". YouTube. Los Angeles, California. 2014-09-03. Retrieved 2015-09-18. 
  10. ^ "Hard Love - Bebe Buell". Allmusic. Retrieved 2015-09-18. 
  11. ^ Buell, 2001, p. 1
  12. ^ a b New York Magazine: "152 Minutes With Bebe Buell - On a rock-and-roll photo tour with the legendary groupie, who prefers “rock girlfriend,” or now just “rocker.”" By Jada Yuan September 25, 2011
  13. ^ Reinhart, Ernst; Gillian Cumming (June 1, 2008). "Tyler Liv's life to the full". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved January 7, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Liv Tyler Biography". People. Retrieved June 23, 2008. 
  15. ^ "Hello Magazine Profile — Liv Tyler". Hello!. Hello! Ltd. Retrieved June 23, 2008. 
  16. ^ Dominus, Susan (June 20, 2008). "Liv Tyler: living for today". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved January 7, 2009. 
  17. ^ Fox News: "'NCIS' Actress Pauley Perrette's Endless Nightmare Divorce" By Roger Friedman September 28, 2006
  18. ^ Ammann, Ana (September 7, 2012). "Will the real Penny Lane please stand up?". Oregon Music News. 
  19. ^ Lecaro, Lina (December 15, 2010). "Zooey Deschanel to Play Original '60s Groupie Pamela "I'm With the Band" Des Barres in HBO Series (NSFW)". LA Weekly. 
  20. ^ "Wild Things: Cameron Crowe and Bebe Buell". Talk. March 2001. 
  21. ^ Polycarpou, Paul. "Q&A: Bebe Buell". Nashville Arts. Retrieved 2015-09-18. 

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