Song of the Day #4,305: ‘Rebel Yell’ – Billy Idol

We have reached the end of a five-week dive into the albums of 1983, and I am more convinced than ever that this was one of the great years for popular music.

So many excellent artists and albums, so many important debuts. And I didn’t get to a host of other albums I considered for this series. Here’s a sampling of some of those titles: Jackson Browne’s Lawyers in Love, Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark At the Moon, Depeche Mode’s Construction Time Again, Tears For Fears’ The Hurting, New Order’s Power, Corruption & Lies, Duran Duran’s Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

Whew.

My final selection is neither a notable debut nor a runaway best seller. It’s the sophomore album from Billy Idol, Rebel Yell, which included three hits: ‘Eyes Without a Face,’ ‘Flesh for Fantasy’ and the title track.

As well as I know those songs, I had never heard the rest of the album. Turns out it’s damn good, with a consistent punk rock-meets-New Wave sound and Idol’s strong vocals.

This album went 2X Platinum and remains the best-selling record of Idol’s career, which has included seven studio releases over almost 40 years.

Idol co-wrote every one of this album’s songs with guitarist Steve Stevens. He wrote or co-wrote everything on his his 1981 debut as well. I didn’t realize Idol was such an accomplished songwriter. I assumed he was more a frontman than the main creative force behind his songs. I’m happy to give him his due here.

The Decades series will return in a month or two, when I’ll dive into 1993. My hunch is that year will be a lot less rich in quality than this one.

[Verse 1]
Last night a little dancer came dancing to my door
Last night a little angel came pumping on my floor
She said, “Come on, baby, I got a license for love
And if it expires, pray help from above”
Because

[Hook]
In the midnight hour she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more – Wow!
In the midnight hour, babe, more, more, more
With a rebel yell more, more, more
More, more, more

[Verse 2]
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 me, babe?
What set you free? I need you here by me
Because

[Hook]
In the midnight hour she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more – Wow!
In the midnight hour, babe, more, more, more
With a rebel yell
More, more, more

[Bridge]
He lives in his own heaven
Collects it to go from the 7-11
Well he’s out all night to collect a fare
Just so long, just so long it don’t mess up his hair

Rowah! Ow!
[Guitar Solo]

[Verse 3]
I walked the world 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
Justa, justa, justa, just to have you here by me
Because

[Hook]
In the midnight hour she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more – Wow!
In the midnight hour, babe, more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
More, more, more

[Outro]
Ooh yeah, little baby
She want more
More, more, more, more, more
Oh yeah, little angel
She want more
More, more, more, more

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,305: ‘Rebel Yell’ – Billy Idol

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I have always wanted to dismiss Idol and his punk rock persona, but the truth is his songs were pretty damn infectious.

    Lawyers in Love would have been on my list for sure, but probably none of the other also-rans you mentioned.

    Thanks for the nostalgia tour of the soundtrack for a memorable time in my life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.