One of David Bowie's most playful numbers, the guitar-riffing "Rebel Rebel" was contrarily lifted from one of his darkest albums, 1974's Diamond Dogs. The song was originally composed for Bowie's projected Ziggy Stardust musical in late 1973, although it can also be seen as a farewell of sorts to the entire glam movement which Bowie (and Ziggy) created -- a fitting warning, indeed, of the career convolutions he was about to embark upon.
Two versions of the song were recorded for release as an album-trailing single -- the familiar take which also made it onto the LP, and a powerful revamp, heavily phased and featuring Bowie playing all of the instruments (he handled lead guitar alone on the other). This latter version, which many fans consider superior, ultimately appeared only as a rare U.S. promo single (it was later included on the Sound and Vision box set), yet it provided the template for the live rendition performed throughout Bowie's 1974 American tour. The song remained a regular in Bowie's live set until the 1990 tour; it resurfaced in his 1999 repertoire.