Rebel Yell – Billy Idol | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#46) & Mainstream Rock (#9); 1984

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Although Billy Idol flirted with the late-70’s punk scene, he wasn’t really committed to the movement’s ethos. After all, he’d chosen the name Idol and recast himself as a sneering, blond-coiffed video darling, guaranteed to make the young girls scream.

Although his Mony Mony solo debut didn’t chart, it got the exposure ball rolling. Up next was the summer of 82’s Hot In The City which reached #23. Follow-up White Wedding stiffed, only to reappear in the spring of 1983.

Boosted by heavy play on MTV, it rose to #36 on the Hot 100 and – even more significantly – #4 on the Mainstream Rock list. The stage was thus set for Billy’ breakthrough. At year’s end his second long-player, Rebel Yell, hit the stores along with the title-track single.

Billy’s new fans quickly picked up on his Rebel Yell, sending the 7″ into the rock radio Top and the 12″ to #6 and double-platinum sales on the album chart.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Keith Forsey

Lyrics Written by:

  • Billy Idol
  • Steve Stevens