Rebel Yell (song)

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"Rebel Yell"
Rebel Yell.jpg
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Rebel Yell
Released24 October 1983 (1983-10-24)
StudioStudio A, Electric Lady Studios, New York City
  • 4:47 (Album version)
  • 3:43 (7" version)
Producer(s)Keith Forsey
Billy Idol singles chronology
"White Wedding"
"Rebel Yell"
"Eyes Without a Face"
Audio sample
Music video
"Rebel Yell" on YouTube

"Rebel Yell" is a song by English rock musician Billy Idol. The title track of his 1983 album of the same name, it was first released as the album's lead single on 24 October 1983. It charted outside the UK Top 40, but a re-issue of the single in 1985 reached No. 6. In the US, it peaked at No. 46. The song was named the 79th best hard rock song of all time by VH1 based on a public voting in 2009,[1] although the song did not show up in a revised list from 2013.[2]

Composition and lyrics[edit]

At a televised performance of VH1 Storytellers, Idol said that he had attended an event where Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood of The Rolling Stones were taking swigs from a bottle of "Rebel Yell" bourbon whiskey. He was not familiar with the brand, but he liked the name and decided to write the song.[3]

The song was co-written by guitarist Steve Stevens. The instrumental introduction, which sounds like a combination of electric guitar and electronic keyboard, is performed by Stevens on guitar alone, who intended it to sound this way. Stevens states that he was inspired by acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke's style.[4]

Formats and track listings[edit]

  • UK 7" vinyl single
  1. "Rebel Yell"
  2. "Crank Call"
  • UK 12" vinyl single
  1. "Rebel Yell"
  2. "Crank Call"
  3. "White Wedding"
  • (1985 re-issue) UK 7" vinyl single
  1. "Rebel Yell"
  2. "(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows♱"

♱Recorded live at Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles, California, March 1984.

  • (1985 re-issue) UK 12" vinyl single
  1. "Rebel Yell (Extended Version)"
  2. "(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows♱"
  3. "Blue Highway♱"

♱Recorded live at Hollywood Palladium Los Angeles, California, March 1984.


Chart (1984) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5] 7
Canada Top 50 Singles (RPM) 10
New Zealand Singles Chart[6] 3
UK Singles Chart 62
US Billboard Hot 100 46
US Cashbox Top 100 29
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks 9
Chart (1985) Peak
UK Singles Chart 62


  • 1 – Original release in 1984
  • 2 – Re-release in 1985

Acoustic version[edit]

In 1994 Idol released the single "Speed", a song from the box office hit movie of the same name, with a live acoustic version of "Rebel Yell" accompanying the lead song on the UK CD single release.

In popular culture[edit]

  • On the children's show Sesame Street in 1986, the song was also parodied as "Rebel L", sung by Billy Idle, a parody Muppet of Billy Idol, performed by Kevin Clash. The rebellious letter L, voiced by Christopher Cerf, makes a loud "luh-luh-luh" and protests outside of Billy Idle's house at night, until he is arrested by a policewoman, voiced by Ivy Austin.[7]
  • The song appears in the 1984 movie Sixteen Candles.[8]
  • The song appears in the 1985 movie The Legend of Billie Jean.
  • The song appears in the 1986 movie The Wraith.
  • The song was included in the video games Guitar Hero World Tour, WWE 2K16,[9] as a downloadable track for the Rock Band series.
  • The song appears in the documentary Warren Miller's Impact.
  • The song appears in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain as an in-game cassette tape.
  • Part of the song was used in a radio commercial for Blockbuster Video Australian in the mid-2000s. The line "more, more, more" appeared in the ad, with the voiceover boasting about Blockbuster having more copies of new release movies than the competition.
  • The song has been covered by many different bands such as Children of Bodom, HIM, Drowning Pool, Dope, Black Veil Brides, Adrenaline Mob, Bullets and Octane, Otherwise and Blue Stahli.
  • The song was used during a flashback scene, in the 4th episode of American Horror Story: 1984.
  • In the 1990s, the song was featured in an ad campaign for KP snacks. Following the final lyrics "more, more, more" a voice over added "why settle for less, less, less."
  • The song appears in the trailer for the Outbreak gamemode in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, as well as appearing in a collection of songs in a music pack in-game.
  • The music video of "Rebel Yell" can be seen on a TV in the 1988 film Big.

Live versions[edit]

Idol performed the track with Miley Cyrus at the 2016 iHeart Festival.

Scooter cover[edit]

"Rebel Yell"
Scooter - Rebel single.jpg
Single by Scooter
from the album Our Happy Hardcore
Released9 May 1996[10]
GenreHappy hardcore
  • Club Tools
  • Scorpio Music
  • H. P. Baxxter
  • Rick J. Jordan
  • Jens Thele
  • Ferris Bueller
Scooter singles chronology
"Let Me Be Your Valentine"
"Rebel Yell"
"I'm Raving"

In 1996, the song was covered by German dance band Scooter. It was released in May 1996 as the third single of their second album, Our Happy Hardcore.

Track listings[edit]

CD-maxi – Germany[11]
  1. "Rebel Yell" (Radio Edit) (3:40)
  2. "Rebel Yell" (Extended Mix) (4:44)
  3. "Euphoria" (3:57)
12-inch-maxi – Germany[12]
  1. "Rebel Yell" (Extended Mix) (4:44)
  2. "Stuttgart (4:52)
  3. "Euphoria" (3:57)
Cassette single - Germany
  1. "Rebel Yell" (Radio Edit) (3:40)
  2. "Euphoria" (3:57)
CD-single – France[13]
  1. "Rebel Yell" (Radio Edit) (3:40)
  2. "Euphoria" (3:57)
12-maxi – France[14]
  1. "Rebel Yell" (Extended Mix) (4:44)
  2. "Rebel Yell" (Radio Edit) (3:40)
  3. "Euphoria" (3:57)
CD-maxi – Australia[15]
  1. "Rebel Yell" (Radio Edit) (3:40)
  2. "Let Me Be Your Valentine" (Edit) (3:47)
  3. "Rebel Yell" (Extended mix) (4:44)
  4. "Euphoria" (3:57)
  5. "Let Me Be Your Valentine" (The Complete Work) (5:42)
  6. "Eternity" (5:19)
  7. "Silence of T.1210 MKII" (1:31)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "VH1's 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs". 5 January 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Revisiting America's Hard 100". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  3. ^ Warren, Craig A. (7 September 2014). The Rebel Yell: A Cultural History. University Alabama Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0817318482. ... Idol explained that he came to use the title 'Rebel Yell' ... not because of any knowledge of the Confederacy but because of his enthusiasm for Rebel Yell bourbon.
  4. ^ Reesman, Bryan (1 June 2006). "Classic Tracks: Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell"". Mix Magazine. Penton Media, inc. Archived from the original on 20 September 2006. Retrieved 15 March 2007.
  5. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – Top 100 Singles 1984". Hung Medien. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  6. ^ Steffen Hung. "New Zealand charts portal". Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  7. ^ "Classic Sesame Street - Rebel L". 28 April 2007. Archived from the original on 19 December 2021. Retrieved 27 June 2019 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ Sixteen Candles (1984) - IMDb, retrieved 11 June 2021
  9. ^ Pereira, Chris (14 August 2015). "WWE 2K16's Soundtrack Features Marilyn Manson, MGK, Run DMC, No John Cena". GameSpot. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  10. ^ Scooter Discography – Rebel Yell Archived 8 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Scooter – Rebel Yell
  12. ^ Scooter – Rebel Yell
  13. ^ Scooter – Rebel Yell
  14. ^ Rebel Yell
  15. ^ Scooter – Rebel Yell & Let Me Be Your Valentine
  16. ^ "Scooter – Rebel Yell" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  17. ^ "Scooter Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "Scooter: Rebel Yell" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  19. ^ "Scooter – Rebel Yell" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts.
  20. ^ Jaclyn Ward - Fireball Media Group. "The Irish Charts". Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Scooter – Rebel Yell" (in Dutch). Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  22. ^ "SCOOTER - REBEL YELL" (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  23. ^ "Scooter – Rebel Yell". Singles Top 100.
  24. ^ "Scooter – Rebel Yell". Swiss Singles Chart.
  25. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 7 August 2015.