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David Bowie - Rebel Rebel



This song is about a boy who defies his parents by dressing in tacky women's clothing. It was a seminal song during the "Glam Rock" era. Glam was popular in England in the early 1970s, characterized by feminine clothing and outrageous stage shows. Of the glam rockers, Bowie had the most mainstream success.

Three years before the album's release, Bowie admitted to being bisexual. The announcement appeared to benefit his career, as he gained more fans and wrote more daring songs as a result.

In 1999, Bowie appeared on VH1 Storytellers and introduced this song with the following yarn:


I can tell you about the first time I met Marc Bolan, who became a very close friend of mine. We actually met in the 1960s, before either of us was even remotely well-known. We were nothing; we were just two nothing kids with big dreams, and we both worked for the same boss at the time. And we first met while painting the wall of our then-office manager's .


"Hello, who are you?"


"I'm Marc, man."


"Hello, what do you do?"


"I'm a singer."


"Oh, yeah, so am I. Are you a Mod?"


"Yeah, I'm King Mod. Your shoes are crap."


"Well, you're short."


As a result, we became extremely close. Marc took me garbage can shopping. Carnaby Street, the fashion district, was experiencing unprecedented wealth at the time, and rather than replacing buttons on their shirts or zippers on their trousers, they'd simply throw it all away at the end of the day. So, prior to Kings Road, we used to go up and down Carnaby Street and go through all the dustbins around nine/ten o'clock at night to get our wardrobes together. You see, that's how life was.


I could also tell you that when we used to play the working men's clubs up north - a rough district - and I first went out as Ziggy Stardust, I was in the dressing room in one club and asked the manager, "Could you please show me where the lavatory is?"


"Aye, do you see the sink attached to the wall at the end of that corridor?" he said. "There you have it."


"My dear man, I'm not pissing in a sink," I said, tottering briefly on my stack-heeled boots.



"Look, son, if it's good enough for Shirley Bassey, it's good enough for you," he said.


Those were the days, I suppose.



Lyrics


Doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo


You've got your mother in a whirl

She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl

Hey, babe, your hair's alright

Hey, babe, let's go out tonight

You like me and I like it all

We like dancing and we look divine

You love bands when they're playing hard

You want more and you want it fast


They put you down, they say I'm wrong

You tacky thing, you put them on


Rebel Rebel, you've torn your dress

Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess

Rebel Rebel, how could they know?

Hot tramp, I love you so


Don't ya?

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo


You've got your mother in a whirl

'Cause she's not sure if you're a boy or a girl

Hey, babe, your hair's alright

Hey, babe, let's stay out tonight

You like me and I like it all

We like dancing and we look divine

You love bands when they're playing hard

You want more and you want it fast


They put you down, they say I'm wrong

You tacky thing, you put them on


Rebel Rebel, you've torn your dress

Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess

Rebel Rebel, how could they know?

Hot tramp, I love you so


Don't ya?

Ooh!

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo-doo doo


Rebel Rebel, you've torn your dress

Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess

Rebel Rebel, how could they know?

Hot tramp, I love you so (don't ya?)


You've torn your dress, your face is a mess

You can't get enough, but enough ain't the test

You've got your transmission and your live wire

You got your cue line and a handful of ludes

You wanna be there when they count up the dudes

And I love your dress

You're a juvenile success

Because your face is a mess

So how could they know?

I said, how could they know?

So what you wanna know?

Calamity's child, chi-chi, chi-chi

Where'd you wanna go?

What can I do for you? Looks like I've been there too

'Cause you've torn your dress

And your face is a mess

Ooh, your face is a mess

Ooh, ooh, so how could they know?

Ah, ah, how could they know?

Ah, ah

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