Rebels (song)

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TP - Rebels single.png
Single by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
from the album Southern Accents
Released March 25, 1985
Format 7"
Recorded 1984
Genre Heartland rock
Length 5:21
Label MCA
Songwriter(s) Tom Petty
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers singles chronology
"Don't Come Around Here No More"
"Make It Better (Forget About Me)"

"Rebels" is a song by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It appeared on the 1985 album Southern Accents and was released as a single in the same year. Although it only reached #74 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, it fared much better on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart, where it peaked at #5.

"Rebels" and Petty's broken hand[edit]

The track was recorded in 1984. It was during the recording of this track that Petty broke his hand. Petty remembers being so high on drugs that he couldn't get an arrangement he liked. Petty went into the control room, and put the original demo tape on, which featured just him and a Rickenbacker 12-string guitar. He believed that they had yet to record an arrangement better than this demo, which made him so furious that he stormed up the stairs into his house, and punched the wall, causing severe damage to his left hand. After a while, Tom Petty called Jimmy Iovine in to help him finish "Rebels" along with some other tracks on Southern Accents. Alan "Bugs" Weidel, Tom's roadie, considers "Rebels" a least favorite of his due to Petty's broken hand.[1]


Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Additional musicians

  • William Bergman – horn, tenor saxophone, backing vocals
  • John Berry, Jr. – trumpet, horn
  • Dick Braun – trumpet, horn, backing vocals
  • Jim Coile – horn, tenor saxophone, backing vocals
  • Kurt McGettrick – horn, backing vocals
  • Molly Duncan – saxophone
  • Dave Plews – trumpet
  • Bobbye Hall – percussion

Cover versions[edit]

The Drive-By Truckers released a cover version of Rebels on their compilation The Fine Print: A Collection of Oddities and Rarities in 2009.


Chart (1985) Peak
U.S. Billboard Album Rock Tracks 5
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 75


  1. ^ Zollo, Paul. Conversations With Tom Petty (2005): 95-97