David Bowie

Rebel, Rebel

Composed by David Bowie

Song Review by

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.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Diamond Dogs 1974 Parlophone / Rhino / Warner Music 4:34
Changesonebowie 1976 Parlophone / Warner Music 4:34
Serious Moonlight [1984] 1984 Pioneer
Glass Spider 1988 Virgin
Sound + Vision 1989 EMI Music Distribution 3:00
Changesbowie 1990 Rykodisc 4:31
Classic Rock Box: WNEW-FM 25th Anniversary Box 1992
Various Artists
PolyGram 4:28
The Singles: 1969-1993 1993 Rykodisc 4:28
The Best of David Bowie 1969-1974 1997 Virgin 4:30
Detroit Rock City 1999
Original Soundtrack
Mercury / Island/mercury 4:25
The Singles Collection 1 2000 EMI Music Distribution 4:30
Hot Guitar Licks: Guitar Rock 2002
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:30
The Best of Bowie [DVD] 2002 Virgin 4:38
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle 2003
Original Soundtrack
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 3:09
Reality 2003 Columbia / ISO/Columbia 0:00
Legends: Crank It Up 2003
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:31
Legends of Rock [Time Life] 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:30
Hollywood Cool 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 4:29
The Platinum Collection 2006 Virgin 4:30
Legends Informercial Set 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 4:31
David Bowie Box 2007 Sony Legacy 3:10
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Warner Music 4:26
Bandslam 2009
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 4:30
Simply the Best Seventies Rock 2009
Various Artists
Warner Bros. / Warner Music 0:00
The Runaways 2010
Original Soundtrack
Atlantic 4:32
Rock Anthems [Universal 2010] 2010
Various Artists
EMI / Universal Music TV 4:29
Gods of Guitar [Universal] 2011
Various Artists
Universal 4:27
Nothing Has Changed 2014 Columbia / Legacy 4:30
Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) 2016 Parlophone 4:34
No Image 2016 Columbia/Legacy / Sony Music 4:30
25 Years Of Chrysalis Music
Various Artists
Sony CMG
Jackie: The Annual 2010
Various Artists
EMI 4:28
No Image
Original Soundtrack
Atlantic
Rebel Rebel Parlophone / Warner Music 2:30