The 80s–Billy Idol’s ‘Rebel Yell’

BillyIdolRebelYell1English rocker Billy Idol had already scored a hit in 1982 with his eponymous debut album, which contained the hits “White Wedding,” “Hot In The City” and “Dancing With Myself.”  He recorded his second album, Rebel Yell, the following year.  The album’s title was influenced, in a way, by the band, The Rolling Stones.  While attending lead singer Mick Jagger’s birthday party, Idol saw Jagger and guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood sharing a bottle of Kentucky bourbon whiskey with the name “Rebel Yell” on the label, and decided that would be a great title for an album.  The album included several tunes that would become Idol and 80’s classics.  The title track, recorded at the famed Electric Lady Studios in New York, became a top ten hit in the US on the Top Rock Tracks chart and just made it in the top fifty on the Hot 100 chart, peaking at number forty-six.  The album’s second single, “Eyes Without A Face,” was a bit of a contrast from the uptempo rock of the single “Rebel Yell.”  “Eyes Without A Face” was a brooding rock ballad with the title and chorus referring to a 1960 horror film entitled Les Yeux Sans Visage (that’s “eyes without a face” for you non-French speakers).  “Eyes Without A Face” made it to the top ten on both the US Mainstream Rock Tracks and Hot 100 chart.  The video for the tune had everything that 80s rock videos were made of including flashing lights, fog machines, fire and scantily clad ladies and was nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards.  Along with the singles “Flesh For Fantasy” and “Catch My Fall,” which also made various appearances on the charts, Rebel Yell became a worldwide hit for Idol, and spent close to six months on the charts in the states, peaking at number six on the Billboard 200 album chart.

—Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is a Dallas, Texas-based, independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado, currently working on a Masters in Marketing degree. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his release “Inertia” at, visit him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @MontroseC.  Check out his blog, Daddy Rock Star, at


  1. Lloyd says:

    don’t you think that is odd though? he is not a soul artist by any means???

  2. soultrainluver says:

    soul train played billy idol a few times, that’s why.

  3. Lloyd says:

    how does this belong on Soul Train? this is pure rock

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