Rebel Rebel

"Rebel Rebel" is a song by David Bowie, released in 1974 as a single from the album Diamond Dogs. Cited as his most-covered track,[5] it has been described as being effectively Bowie's farewell to the glam rock movement that he had helped pioneer,[6][7] as well as being a proto-punk track.[4]

"Rebel Rebel"
Rebel Rebel by David Bowie UK vinyl pressing
A-side label of the original 1974 UK vinyl pressing
Single by David Bowie
from the album Diamond Dogs
B-side"Queen Bitch"
ReleasedFebruary 15, 1974
Format7-inch single
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)David Bowie
Producer(s)David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Rebel Rebel"
"Rock 'n' Roll Suicide"

Music and lyrics

David Bowie - TopPop 1974 06
Bowie performing "Rebel Rebel" on AVRO's TopPop in 1974.

Originally written for an aborted Ziggy Stardust musical in late 1973,[8] "Rebel Rebel" – completed in January 1974 and released the following month – was Bowie's last single in the glam rock style that had been his trademark. It was also his first hit since 1969 not to feature lead guitarist Mick Ronson; Bowie himself played guitar on this and almost all other tracks from Diamond Dogs, producing what NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray called "a rocking dirty noise that owed as much to Keith Richards as it did to the departed Ronno".[9]

The song is notable for its gender-bending lyrics ("You got your mother in a whirl / She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl") as well as its distinctive riff, which rock journalist Kris Needs has described as "a classic stick-in-the-head like the Stones' 'Satisfaction'".[10] Bowie himself later said, "It's a fabulous riff! Just fabulous! When I stumbled onto it, it was 'Oh, thank you!'"[11]

Release and aftermath

The single quickly became a glam anthem, the female equivalent of Bowie's earlier hit for Mott the Hoople, "All the Young Dudes".[9] It reached No. 5 in the UK and No. 64 in the USA. The single and album versions, released three months apart, feature slightly different mixes.

The US release initially featured a different recording altogether: a radically revised mix that Bowie cut in New York in April 1974. The US single, credited to simply 'Bowie' and released in May 1974, is shorter (2:58) and more uptempo, dense and camp than the UK single, featuring percussion by Geoff MacCormack, an original backing vocal line, and a new arrangement.[11] Within a couple of months it was withdrawn and replaced by the UK single version, but the same arrangement was used on Bowie's Diamond Dogs Tour, appearing on its concert album David Live.

After retiring the song on his Sound+Vision Tour in 1990, Bowie restored "Rebel Rebel" for the "Hours..." Tour. In early 2003, he recorded a new version, featuring an arrangement by Mark Plati and without the original's reference to quaaludes. This was issued on a bonus disc that came with some versions of Reality the same year, and on the 30th Anniversary Edition of Diamond Dogs in 2004. Also in 2004, the track was blended in a mash-up with the Reality song "Never Get Old"; the result was issued as the single "Rebel Never Gets Old".

"We love David Bowie…" noted Jane's Addiction front-man Perry Farrell in 2001. "Given the length of his career, I'm stunned that he still pushes things musically. But, please, please, David, can you sing 'Rebel Rebel' still?"[12]

Track listing

  1. "Rebel Rebel" (Bowie) – 4:20
  2. "Queen Bitch" (Bowie) – 3:13

The US version of the single, also released in Canada and Mexico, had "Lady Grinning Soul" as the B-side.

Production credits


Chart (1974–2016) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[13] 28
Canadian Singles Chart 30
Dutch Singles Chart 12
Finnish Singles Chart 7
French Singles Chart 12
German Singles Chart 33
Irish Singles Chart 2
Norwegian Singles Chart 9
UK Singles Chart 5
US Billboard Hot 100 64
US Billboard Rock Songs 16

Live versions

Other releases

Cover versions


  1. ^ Norbert Pek (October 3, 2013). "Aardappels voor David Bowie" [Potatoes for David Bowie]. (in Dutch).
  2. ^ Chris O'Leary (2015). Rebel Rebel: p.330
  3. ^ Savage, Jon (1 February 2013). "The 20 best glam-rock songs of all time". The Guardian. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b Greene, Lora (2012). Combat Rock: A History of Punk (From Its Origins to the Present). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1478305637. Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  5. ^ Nicholas Pegg (2000). The Complete David Bowie: pp.90-92
  6. ^ Mat Snow (2007). "Hang on to Yourself", MOJO 60 Years of Bowie: p.51
  7. ^ David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: pp.210-217
  8. ^ David Buckley (1999). Strange Fascination - David Bowie: The Definitive Story: p.140
  9. ^ a b Roy Carr & Charles Shaar Murray (1981). Bowie: An Illustrated Record: p.60
  10. ^ Kris Needs (1983). Bowie: A Celebration: p.29
  11. ^ a b Nicholas Pegg (2000). Op Cit: p.170. Pegg also credits Alan Parker with augmenting Bowie's guitar work on the album and UK single version of "Rebel Rebel", although the Diamond Dogs sleeve acknowledges Parker only on "1984"
  12. ^ Ingham, Chris (August 2001). "Breaking the habit". Classic Rock. No. 30. p. 62.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 43. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  14. ^ Star Wars (2017-04-13), A Tribute To Carrie Fisher, retrieved 2017-04-19


  • Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

External links

Best of Bowie

Best of Bowie is a career-spanning greatest hits album by English recording artist David Bowie. It was released on 22 October 2002. The songs range from his second self-titled album (1969) to Heathen (2002). It was released 35 years after his debut album, David Bowie. In each of the 21 territories that the album was released, it was given its own track listing, based upon which songs were most popular locally. In a number of countries, there were two versions – a single-disc version, and a double-disc version. All in all 63 tracks appear in at least one of the 20 different versions. The country the edition came from can be identified by a small national flag on the spine, except for the Argentine/Mexican, Eastern European and UK editions, which are "flag-less". All the tracks are digitally remastered either from 1999 or, for the single edits, 2002, with the exception of "Under Pressure", which is also at a lower volume than the rest of the disc.

A DVD version of the compilation was also released, containing 47 videos and live performances as well as alternate versions and easter eggs. Some of the videos on this collection, notably "China Girl", "Loving the Alien" and "Day-In Day-Out" are the censored versions of the original videos.Initially peaking at number 11 on the UK Albums Chart upon release in October 2002, the album entered the top 10 for the first time in January 2016, following Bowie's death, and reached a new peak of number 1, marking Bowie's eleventh UK number-one album. It also became the first album to reach number 1 in the UK due to streaming. Best of Bowie has been certified 4× Platinum by the British Phonographic Industry for sales of over 1,200,000.

Bowie (Flight of the Conchords)

"Bowie" is the sixth episode of the HBO comedy series Flight of the Conchords. The episode first aired in the United States on Sunday, 22 July 2007.

After a photo session, Bret develops body image issues and gets some dream advice from his idol, David Bowie. Jemaine plots to cheer him up and Murray tries to get one of the band's tunes used for a musical greeting card.

David Live

David Live is David Bowie's first official live album, originally released by RCA Records in 1974. The album was recorded in July of that year, on the initial leg of Bowie's Diamond Dogs Tour, at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. The second leg, a more soul-oriented affair following recording sessions in Philadelphia for the bulk of Young Americans, would be renamed 'Philly Dogs', as reflected on a different live release, Cracked Actor.

The album catches Bowie in transition from the Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane glam-rock era of his career to the 'plastic soul' of Young Americans. While the cover featured a picture of Bowie in his latest soul threads – baggy trouser suit complete with shoulder pads and braces from October 1974 – the music was recorded in July of that year when he was showcasing his two most recent studio albums of original material, Diamond Dogs and Aladdin Sane, as well as selected favourites from Ziggy Stardust and earlier.

The tour was Bowie's most ambitious to date, featuring a giant set designed to evoke "Hunger City", the post-apocalyptic setting for Diamond Dogs, and his largest band, led by Michael Kamen. For "Space Oddity" (recorded at the time but not released until the album's 2005 reissue) Bowie sang using a radio microphone disguised as a telephone whilst being raised and lowered above the stage by a cherry picker crane. The tour was documented in Alan Yentob's Cracked Actor (1975).

Death of David Bowie

On 10 January 2016, English singer, songwriter and actor David Bowie died at his Lafayette Street home in New York City, having suffered from liver cancer for 18 months. He died two days after the release of his twenty-fifth studio album, Blackstar, which coincided with his 69th birthday.

Bowie kept his illness private, and friends and fans alike were surprised by his death. Makeshift memorials were created in London, New York City, Berlin, and other cities in which Bowie had lived; sales of his albums and singles saw a significant increase. Many commentators noted Bowie's impact on music, fashion and culture and wrote of his status as one of the most influential musical artists of all time. Numerous musicians and public figures also expressed their grief.

Diamond Dogs

Diamond Dogs is the eighth studio album by the English musician David Bowie, released on 24 May 1974 by RCA Records. Thematically, it was a marriage of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and Bowie's own glam-tinged vision of a post-apocalyptic world. Bowie had wanted to make a theatrical production of Orwell's book and began writing material after completing sessions for his 1973 album Pin Ups, but the author's estate denied the rights. The songs wound up on the second half of Diamond Dogs instead where, as the titles indicated, the Nineteen Eighty-Four theme was prominent.

The album is ranked number 995 in All-Time Top 1000 Albums (3rd. edition, 2000) and number 447 in NME's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Keanan Duffty

Keanan Duffty (born 28 April 1964) is a British fashion designer and musician based in New York City. Duffty studied fashion design at Saint Martin's School of Art in London, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Mentor for the Master's Program in Fashion Styling at Polimoda and Program Director at the Master’s of Professional Studies in Fashion Management at Parsons School of Design.

Mini Tour (David Bowie)

The Mini Tour was a small-scale concert tour by David Bowie including his performance at the Glastonbury Festival on 25 June 2000 and a concert at the BBC Radio Theatre, BBC Broadcasting House, London, on 27 June. It is considered by some to be part of the Hours Tour.The live recording made on 27 June 2000 for the BBC was documented on a bonus CD included with the first edition of Bowie at the Beeb (2000). The full performance from the Glastonbury show was released as Glastonbury 2000 on 30 November 2018.

Now (Def Leppard song)

"Now" is a 2002 song by British hard rock band Def Leppard from their X album. It peaked at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart.


Nukleopatra is the sixth studio album from British synth-pop band Dead or Alive. Still a massive success in Japan, Epic Records released Nukleopatra there in 1995. Left without a record contract in the UK and the US, this album did not get released in other territories until years later. Nukleopatra was eventually issued on several different labels, with varying track listings, timings and album artwork.

Included in this album is the song "Sex Drive", originally recorded and released by lead singer Pete Burns as a one-time guest vocalist for Italian house music act Glam.

The album was recorded in PWL Studios.

Queen Bitch

"Queen Bitch" is a song written by David Bowie in 1971 for the album Hunky Dory.

Bowie was a great Velvet Underground fan and wrote the song in tribute to the band and Lou Reed. He recorded a studio cover of Reed's "I'm Waiting for the Man" in 1967 (which remains unissued), as well as live versions, which may be heard on Bowie at the Beeb and on Live Nassau Coliseum '76 (in the 2010 special edition and deluxe edition re-issues of Station to Station).

"Queen Bitch" starts with Bowie counting down to his acoustic guitar before Mick Ronson's thrashy guitar riff enters. The song's arrangement, featuring a melodic bass line, a tight drum pattern, choppy distorted guitar chords, and an understated vocal performance by Bowie, provided the template for the glam rock style that features prominently on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, his seminal 1972 follow-up to Hunky Dory. While the main riff is similar to The Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane", it is actually lifted from Eddie Cochran's "Three Steps to Heaven". (a posthumous #1 hit single in the UK in 1960).

Rebel Never Gets Old

"Rebel Never Gets Old" is a mash-up of the songs "Rebel Rebel" and "Never Get Old", where the two songs are mixed into each other, produced by producer Mark Vidler, also known as Go Home Productions. It was released as a rare single, following some copies of Reality in Europe in 2004. The "Radio Mix" had already been available as an iTunes download before a promo single was released. The single eventually officially appeared as a CD-single, a 12" vinyl version and a 12" vinyl picture disc, but for some reason the first two were very difficult to obtain.

Rebel Rebel (Homeland)

"Rebel Rebel" is the second episode of the seventh season of the American television drama series Homeland, and the 74th episode overall. It premiered on Showtime on February 18, 2018.

Rock 'n' Roll with Me

"Rock 'n' Roll With Me" is a power ballad written by David Bowie and Warren Peace and recorded in January 1974 that first appeared on Bowie's Diamond Dogs album, supposedly to address the artist's complex relation with his fans. A version recorded during the Diamond Dogs tour in July 1974 was released on the album David Live.

While the song "Knock on Wood" from David Live was issued as a single in the UK, "Rock 'n' Roll With Me" was chosen for release as the US single (RCA PB 10105) in September 1974, in response to Donovan's recent cover version. The B-side in each case was another live recording from the Diamond Dogs tour, "Panic in Detroit", originally from Aladdin Sane (1973). An edited version was issued on a US promotional single (RCA JB 10105) that same month.

Like "Rebel Rebel", the lead single from Diamond Dogs, "Rock 'n' Roll With Me" was conceived as part of a never-produced Ziggy Stardust musical in 1973. It has been described as "one of Bowie's least self-conscious love songs" and a foretaste of the R&B balladry on Young Americans (1975).On 27 July 2016, a remastered version of the 1974 live promo single edit was posted online to promote the upcoming compilation Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976). Subsequently, this version was included on Re:Call 2, part of the compilation.

Sorrow (The McCoys song)

"Sorrow" is a song first recorded by The McCoys in 1965 and released as the B-side to their cover of "Fever". It became a big hit in the United Kingdom in a version by The Merseys, reaching number 4 on the UK chart on 28 April 1966. A version by David Bowie charted worldwide in 1973.

A line from the song - "With your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue" - is used in the Beatles song "It's All Too Much" which was featured on their 1969 album Yellow Submarine.

The Take Over, the Breaks Over

""The Take Over, the Breaks Over"" (rendered with quotation marks as part of its title on the album track listing) is a song by American rock band Fall Out Boy and the fourth single from their third studio album Infinity on High (2007). The song impacted radio on August 7, 2007. The music composition was inspired by vocalist and guitarist Patrick Stump's love of David Bowie, specifically the song "Rebel Rebel"; the lyrics were penned by bassist Pete Wentz. The song's title is a reference to Jay-Z's 2001 song "Takeover". The single found its greatest success in Australia, peaking at No. 17 on the singles chart there and finishing at No. 90 on the year-end chart.

The song's music video won a Canadian MuchMusic Video Award for People's Choice: Favorite International Video, beating Flo Rida, Kanye West, Rihanna, and Timbaland. It was also nominated for Best International Video – Group at the ceremony but lost to Linkin Park's "Bleed It Out".""The Take Over, the Breaks Over"" features two guitar solos performed by guest guitarists Ryan Ross (formerly from Panic! at the Disco) and Chad Gilbert (from New Found Glory).

It was also released as a 7" vinyl in countries including the UK.The song is featured on the Nintendo DS game, Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades. It is also featured as a downloadable song for Guitar Hero 5.

Traffic from Paradise

Traffic from Paradise is the seventh album by musician Rickie Lee Jones, released in September 1993.

Voxx (album)

Voxx is a 1980 rock album by the Bay City Rollers. It was the second of three LPs the group issued as The Rollers.

The disc featured an unlikely hodgepodge of songs culled from various sources. Two tracks ("Soho" and "The Hero") were unused tunes from the Elevator sessions, another two ("Honey Don't Leave L.A." and "New York") were re-recordings of Duncan Faure solo tracks, and "Working for the People" was a redo of a Rabbitt song. "Rebel Rebel" is presented in a live version, lifted from the 1977 Budokan concert that would be released in 2001 as Rollerworld. Production was credited to "Ricky Fender", an alias of Eric Faulkner, with Peter Ker credited for the two Elevator tracks.

Voxx was the Rollers' final LP for Arista Records, and was released only in Germany and Japan. A CD edition has been issued in Japan and in the UK.

Wasp (album)

Wasp was the fifth studio album released by teen-idol, Shaun Cassidy in 1980. In an attempt to salvage a sinking pop career, Cassidy recruited Todd Rundgren to help "reinvent" his music career. Members of Rundgren's group Utopia also played on the record and the work had a decidedly "new wave" feel.

The majority of tracks featured on Wasp were cover songs. The album featured a version of David Bowie's song, "Rebel Rebel" where Cassidy included a passage from The Crystals' "He's a Rebel." Other covers included Pete Townshend's "So Sad About Us," Ian Hunter's "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," the Talking Heads' "The Book I Read," The Animals' 1965 hit "It's My Life," and The Four Tops' 1966 hit "Shake Me, Wake Me." All of the other songs were written by Rundgren and various members of his band. Unlike his previous four albums where he wrote at least one song, Cassidy was given a co-writing credit on "Cool Fire."

The reinvention of teenybopper Cassidy as an edgy new wave artist was not enough to capture the attention of audiences. The album was Cassidy's second album not to chart on Billboard, essentially spelling the end of Cassidy's pop music career. He would score a final hit in Europe in 1989, with the standalone single "Memory Girl".

The album was released on CD in 2012 on Curb Records

Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976)

Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) is a box set by David Bowie, released on 23 September 2016, focused on the artist's "American Phase". A follow-up to the 2015 compilation Five Years (1969–1973), Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976) covers the period of Bowie's career from 1974 to 1976 over twelve compact discs or thirteen LPs. Exclusive to the box sets is The Gouster, a previously unreleased album that eventually became Young Americans, and Re:Call 2, a new compilation of non-album singles, single versions, and B-sides that serves as the sequel to Re:Call 1 from Five Years.

The box set includes remastered editions of the studio albums Diamond Dogs, Young Americans, and Station to Station, the latter in its original and 2010 mixes. (The remix of Station to Station, by coproducer Harry Maslin, was first made available on the 2010 deluxe edition of that album.) It also includes David Live (in original and 2005 mixes) and Live Nassau Coliseum '76, a recording of Bowie's 23 March 1976 concert at Nassau Coliseum during his Isolar Tour, previously available on the 2010 special and deluxe editions of Station to Station.

The set comes with a hardcover book that includes photos from Eric Stephen Jacobs, Tom Kelley, backup singer Geoffrey MacCormack, Terry O'Neill, Steve Schapiro, and more, as well as liner notes penned by Bowie’s close collaborators Tony Visconti and Harry Maslin and a handwritten note from Bowie about The Gouster.

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