Rebel Rebel (3:09)

Cover of The Best Of David Bowie 1969-74

From The Best Of David Bowie 1969-74 and 54 other releases

“Rebel Rebel” is a song by David Bowie, released in 1974 as a single and on the album Diamond Dogs. A different version was recorded for US single release, featuring a funkier backing and looped backing vocals. Cited as his most-covered track, it was effectively Bowie’s farewell to the glam movement that had made him a star.

Music and lyrics

Originally written for a mooted Ziggy Stardust musical in late 1973, “Rebel Rebel” 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”.

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’”. Bowie himself later said, “It’s a fabulous riff! Just fabulous! When I stumbled onto it, it was ‘Oh, thank you!’”

Transsexual rock artist and former Bowie associate Jayne County claims that “Rebel Rebel” was based in part on County’s own song “Queenage Baby”, which was recorded in January of 1974 by Bowie’s Mainman Records, but not released at the time. The song later surfaced on the independent 2006 release Wayne County at the Trucks, and some critics, upon hearing the track, echoed County’s claims.

Tags

Everyone’s tags

More tags

Play with Spotify

Albums featuring this track (55)

Similar Tracks

  Track   Duration Listeners
David Bowie - Diamond Dogs 6:02 220,597
David Bowie - The Jean Genie 4:08 320,565
Lou Reed - Satellite of Love 3:39 301,822
Lou Reed - Walk on the Wild Side 4:14 538,996
Iggy Pop - The Passenger 6:14 606,622
The Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar 3:49 592,915

Listening Trend

460,235listeners all time
2,212,721scrobbles all time
Recent listeners trend:

Explore more

Shoutbox

Leave a comment. Log in to Last.fm or sign up.
  • Dashmag

    Hot tramp , I love you so <3

    29 Mar 8:01pm Reply
  • silversurfer250

    This song is about a boy who rebels against his parents by wearing makeup and tacky women's clothes. It was a defining song of the "Glam Rock" era. Characterized by feminine clothes and outrageous stage shows, Glam was big in England in the early '70s. Bowie had the most mainstream success of the Glam Rockers. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1726

    15 Mar 2:11pm Reply
  • kiteo

    Easy mistake to make...

    20 Dec 2013 Reply
  • Lesbearto

    A riff even Neil Young could bow down to.

    19 Dec 2013 Reply
  • ericshep

    I knew a girl named rebel, she was a little bitch! this song however is great!

    25 Oct 2013 Reply
  • Taiteki

    <3 I can't help wanting that rebel girl.

    17 Sep 2013 Reply
  • Nochek

    lOve.

    15 Aug 2013 Reply
  • yagood

    dat riff

    24 Jul 2013 Reply
  • Tom_Pullings

    What Khryxtina said. One great track too!

    19 Jun 2013 Reply
  • phoenixdbp

    classic bowie

    27 Apr 2013 Reply
  • brunocanales

    fucking awesome

    23 Mar 2013 Reply
  • XDRory

    FUCKING TUNE.

    22 Mar 2013 Reply
  • FoREVer7x

    Hot tramp, I love you so :)

    3 Mar 2013 Reply
  • Khryxtina

    Here I was thinking I was a cheeky bastard about to copy and paste that whole gimmick about people just repeating others, then I seen the other copy and pastes and said "Well I guess I'm not a cheeky bastard after all"

    22 Feb 2013 Reply
  • Ezekiel22

    A+

    20 Feb 2013 Reply
  • victoriawho

    oh, btw, this is awesome!

    31 Jan 2013 Reply
  • victoriawho

    I hate it when people simply repeat what other people have said. Why even bother? Am I missing something? Otherwise what is the point. Just sit back and enjoy the song if you have nothing to add...which is precisely what I should be doing at this very moment. Point? Get it? [3] oh wait

    31 Jan 2013 Reply
  • Cassete_Boy

    has been my anthem for a couple of years

    22 Jan 2013 Reply
  • Devildom

    du-du-du-du (:

    16 Jan 2013 Reply
  • sophiewilder

    I hate it when people simply repeat what other people have said. Why even bother? Am I missing something? Otherwise what is the point. Just sit back and enjoy the song if you have nothing to add...which is precisely what I should be doing at this very moment. Point? Get it? [2]

    28 Nov 2012 Reply
  • All 444 shouts

Listening Now

Top Listeners