Great Rock Albums of 1983: Billy Idol- Rebel Yell
Not sure if history would agree with me but thirty years ago, I thought that 1983 was Billy Idol’s year. After all, he made my Spring and my final weeks in the service bearable with “White Wedding” from his first album, which was cool in itself. Then, at the end of the same year, he released the follow up, “Rebel Yell.” While I thought, actually I still do think it, that the first single and title track wasn’t quite as good as “White Wedding” or even “Dancing with Myself,” I still thought it was an all right song.
“Rebel Yell” is more of a new wave album than its predecessor. Billy uses more keyboards on the songs although unlike the emerging synth pop that was manifesting itself at the time, they don’t dominate them. On the title track, the keyboards help to usher in the start of the song but it goes more traditional hard rock for the rest of it. The same sort of thing happens with the tracks “Crank Call” and “(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows” and both songs are enjoyable. In fact, the hardest song on the album for me is “Blue Highway” and probably why it’s my favourite.
There are some more slower songs on here like “Eyes Without a Face” which did score as a big hit for him in the singles charts. That song marked a move away from punk to a more new wave sound. The same can be said for “Flesh For Fantasy,” but I like that one a little more. It did take me a few careful listens before I fully appreciated “Daytime Drama.” That’s because if you listen closely, there is some good guitar work in support. However, unlike hardcore punk or metal, it doesn’t come out and hit you in the face. I have to now concur with 1537’s assertion that Steve Stevens is a really good guitar player. Therefore, while I still don’t think that “Rebel Yell” quite hits the level of Idol’s self titled album, it’s still a good album.
- Rebel Yell
- Daytime Drama
- Eyes Without a Face
- Blue Highway
- Flesh for Fantasy
- Catch My Fall
- Crank Call
- (Do Not) Stand in the Shadows
- The Dead Next Door
Billy Idol- guitar, vocals
Steve Stevens- guitar, bass, keyboards, synthesizer
Phil Feit- bass on Rebel Yell
Sal Cuevas- bass on Eyes Without a Face
Steve Webster- bass
Judi Dozier- keyboards
Jack Waldman- keyboards
Thommy Price- drums
Greg Gerson- drums on Rebel Yell and Do Not Stand in the Shadows
Mars Williams- saxophone on Catch My Fall
Perri Lister- backing vocals on Eyes Without a Face
The more I think back, the more convinced I become that 1983 was Billy Idol’s year. Two albums and four big singles prove that point. It is also why I thought that “Rebel Yell” would be the best way to end the tour of 1983.
Next post: Great Albums Killed by the Cassette Player
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