Bebe Buell: From The B-Sides to the Gargoyles

Bebe Buell

     Although Bebe Buell’s legacy is mostly defined by her tumultuous love affairs, intimacy with the rock legends of her time, and daring modeling era, one must not cast her musical talents to the sidelines. Often thrust out of the limelight by an overly obsessed pop culture, Bebe asserted to host Lyndsey Parker on the latest episode of the podcast, that the public eye “will try to define you by who’s on your arm” how “they don’t do that to men” and her wish that her music defined her persona more so than her boyfriends. 

     Her contra alto voice was eventually recognized by producers and rockstars alike such as Danny Sugarman (The Doors’ manager at the time), Rick Derringer and Ric Ocasek who jump started her career with a four song EP called Covers Girl (1981). It was produced by the “two Rics” (Rick Derringer and Ric Ocasek)  at Rhino Records. The EP featured obscure covers of the group The Cars and launched her style as a staple of “chill rock.” Shortly after, Bebe formed her own band, the B-Sides in 1980, releasing a pure pop 12-inch picture disc called “A Side of the B-Sides” (1983), produced by her lover and renown musician, Todd Rundgren. The B-Sides were incredibly genre-mixing; amalgamating rock with folk music - a combination which compellingly enhanced Bebe’s melodic voice and lyrics. Songs from the time-period like, “Windy Words” “Mr. Never Forever" and ''Battle Cry” are reminiscent of Patti Smith and Debbie Harry’s tunes, a clear musical influence that derives from her deep friendship with the both. 

 

 

     The B-Sides’s unfortunate disbandment in 1985 nevertheless gave birth to her newer band, The Gargoyles. Their rise from the ashes from her previous project enabled the band to assert itself as a female hard rock unit. Particularly ahead of its time, The Gargoyles roughed-edged, hard-rock sonic identity set in motion a number of tours across the US and Europe. In 1987, she released two influential singles “Gargoyle” and “Jacuzzi Jungle.”

 

 

The songs caught the attention of Joey Ramone who offered them multiple opening slots to their [The Ramones] shows. Indeed, both songs are testaments of Bebe Buell’s pioneering musical vision, enthralling her listeners in her eclectic rock and roll voice and melodies. 

 

 

 


To find out more about her time making music, and her newly written memoir Rebel Soul listen to the latest episode of Totally 80’s with host Lyndsey Parker (Yahoo Music Entertainment Editor) out now.

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(Paul Natkin/WireImage)
To be fair, she didn't know RUN DMC and Huey Lewis either.
Parlophone Records
From a new deluxe edition of 'Foreign Affair,' available July 16, 2021.
Peter Carrette Archive/Getty Images

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