Rebel Yell" is the first song on the Billy Idol album of the same name. When first released in 1984, it charted outside the UK Top 40, but a re-issue in 1985 reached #6. It did not fare as well in the US, only reaching #46. The song was named the 79th best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
According to Billy Idol at a televised performance of VH1 Storytellers, the idea of a song thus entitled came to him at an event he once attended, where Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones were taking swigs of a "Rebel Yell" bottle of bourbon whiskey, a brand unknown to him, the name of which he liked; Billy decided and stated that he would set off to write a "Rebel Yell" song.
The song was co-written by guitarist Steve Stevens. The instrumental introduction, which sounds like a combination of electric guitar and electronic keyboard, is performed by Stevens on guitar alone, who intended it to sound this way. Stevens states that he was inspired by acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke's style.
The song has been covered by HIM, Children of Bodom, Kill Hannah, Dope, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Pipedown, Quintaine Americana, Cybercide, Bullets & Octane, Discipline, Scooter, Dog Fashion Disco, and several other artists / bands. Drowning Pool have frequently played it live on their 2007 tour, and is featured on their CD, Full Circle. Rock Star: Supernova contestants Lukas Rossi and Toby Rand also sang the song. In one of the memorable moments of the competition, Rand invited several random women from the audience up onto the stage to sing and dance with him. As an interesting note, there is also a version for marching band.
In 2007, Finnish symphonic power metal band Northern Kings consisting of singers and musicians from four well known bands including Nightwish, Sonata Arctica and Charon covered the song on their debut album Reborn.
The song was satirized by Sesame Street with a Muppet version called "Rebel L".
* The song was presented in the Knight Rider Season 3 Episode Dead of Knight originally aired on December 2, 1984.
* The song was featured in the 1985 drama The Legend of Billie Jean.
* The song was featured in the 1988 comedy Big when Josh and Billy are in their apartment hanging out, the song's music video is playing.
* The song was featured in a 2004 Blockbuster commercial promoting no late fees.
* The song was referenced in the 2007 Against Me! single Thrash Unreal, from the album New Wave.
* The song was featured in a 2008 Comcast commercial where the family is having an outside reunion and when the man's wife asks him something, the husband responds with the song playing the lyrics "More, More More".
* In 2008, Twisted Sister Frontman, Dee Snider's son, Jesse Blaze Snider sang this song in the Reality show, "Rock the Cradle".
* The song is a playable track in the 2008 music video game Guitar Hero World Tour, as well as a downloadable song for Rock Band.
* The CJFL's Victoria Rebels play the song to open their games and after every touchdown.
In 1996, the song was covered by the German dance band Scooter. It was released as the third single of their second album, Our Happy Hardcore.
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