Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

This is my contribution to Song Lyric Sunday for Jim Adams’s blog. This week’s prompt…Acquire/Collect/Gather/Secure.

The title song from his 1983 album. The song peaked at #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on January 20, 1984.

From Songfacts

Billy Idol got the title for this song from the Rebel Yell brand of bourbon whiskey, which has been around since 1936. On an episode of VH1 Storytellers, Idol explained that he was at an event where Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood of The Rolling Stones were taking swigs of Rebel Yell straight from the bottle. This gave him the idea for the title, and he wrote the song around it.

Idol wrote this song with his guitarist, Steve Stevens, who came up with some unique sounds on the track. The ray-gun effect on the solo he created using a Lexicon PCM 41 digital delay processor, but he later figured out a way to get a more distinctive sound using an actual ray-gun. By tweaking a toy ray-gun, he was able to hold it to his pickups and generate these strange sounds. His “ray gun guitar” became one of the most popular spots of a Billy Idol concert.

The video was directed by Jeff Stein, whose previous work included The Who documentary The Kids Are Alright. It was shot at the Capitol Theater in New Jersey with the audience made up of kids they bussed in from New York City. In the book I Want My MTV, Stein said: “We had lots of beer and wine on the busses, which nowadays you could not do. Everyone was well soused. I put the hot looking girls with the big tits up front.”

Sounds of the crowd cheering and singing along were added to the video version of the song, which captured the live energy of this anthemic song. The clip was a huge hit on MTV, but it almost missed its premiere slot – Stein says MTV made them edit out a shot of a kid holding a beer, and the tape made it to the network just minutes before air.

Rebel Yell

Last night a little dancer came dancin’ to my door
Last night a little angel Came pumpin cross my floor
She said “Come on baby I got a license for love
And if it expires pray help from above”

In the midnight hour she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
In the midnight hour babe more, more, more
With a rebel yell more, more, more
More, more, more

She don’t like slavery, she won’t sit and beg
But when I’m tired and lonely she sees me to bed
What set you free and brought you to be me babe
What set you free I need you hear by me
Because

In the midnight hour she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
In the midnight hour babe more, more, more
With a rebel yell more, more, more

He lives in his own heaven
Collects it to go from the seven eleven
Well he’s out all night to collect a fare
Just so long, just so long it don’t mess up his hair

I walked the ward with you, babe
A thousand miles with you
I dried your tears of pain, babe
A million times for you

I’d sell my soul for you babe
For money to burn with you
I’d give you all, and have none, babe
Just, just, justa, justa to have you here by me
Because

In the midnight hour she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
In the midnight hour babe more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
More, more, more

Oh yeah little baby
She want more
More, more, more, more, more

Oh yeah little baby
She want more
More, more, more, moreWriter/s: Billy Idol, Steve Stevens

13 thoughts on “Billy Idol – Rebel Yell

  1. Great pic! I honestly didn’t know where the title came from. I guess I live under a rock! But of course we danced and jumped and partied until wee hours of the morning to this song. I had just graduated high school in May of 1984 so I spent quite bit of time in the clubs and bars. 🙂 Drinking age was still 18 at the time and I was a few months from turning 19. Party On!

    Liked by 1 person

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