Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Daily Bowie #58 - "Rebel Rebel"


"You've got your transmission 
and your live wire..."

The Daily Bowie #58 - "Rebel Rebel"

"He (Bowie) showed me it was okay to be different." This is a quote attributed to so many people now, but this specific quote is from Madonna via the link shared below as she paid tribute to David Bowie three days after his death with a live performance of "Rebel Rebel."

This seemed the right song to share today after writing my short essay yesterday on letting my geek flag fly, on being different, but being who I am.

This is not an issue that is unique to me. All of us suffer from the boxing effect as the hegemony tries to confine us to simple definitions. It's easier to market if there are fewer groups to whom one has to target with marketing. If identity, gender definition, and character are truly unique and individual, then marketing campaigns would be far less effective. This is not the only reason that culture dominates and enforces conformity. There are many other reasons, like how people fear difference, but just these two principles give a good sense of the way American culture (and I am specifically restricting my scope to American culture) mandates conformity to a schedule of media-driven events. There's always things you have to do, which translate into things you have to buy.

David Bowie thumbed his nose at that and wrote a song that exemplified the rebel nature of rock 'n roll as the soundtrack of non-conformity, breaking with convention, and individuality.

The PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME entry on "Rebel Rebel" is extensive, but here's the excerpt that for me strikes the right chord and resonates with my experience with the song.


FROM PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME: "REBEL REBEL"

“Rebel Rebel” is Bowie’s parting benediction. Despite its title, the song’s more reconciliation than revolution—more than anything, it’s generous, an offer of pure acceptance. In “Rebel Rebel,” the singer sizes up a girl (or boy, or both) whose outrageous style catches his eye. The singer’s perspective isn’t that of a fellow teenager, though, but someone a bit older—someone out of the scene, who’s a bit jaded, who’s bemused, at first, by the tacky kid’s antics. She’s young enough not to know better, he’s old enough to care. But as the song goes on, the singer grows more inspired by her. She breaks him of his habits, so he gives her his backing. They strike a bargain: her youth and outrage for his knowledge of how she can fit into the world.

So “Rebel Rebel” is a primer of a rock & roll record: everything’s easy to play, everything’s kept simple. It’s as though Bowie, singing to his new find, is teaching her to sing about herself. Bowie makes a vocal for anyone’s voice, as he stays to a four-note span for over half of the song, and sings much of the lyric in a loose, conversational manner (there’s a bit of David Johansen in it). The verses are identical to the choruses (barring the “hot tramp” tag at the end of each chorus), with the only chord variations coming on the two 4-bar bridges. Everything is made subordinate to the beat: the bassline, apart from its one big moment—the sweep of notes that marks its introduction—mainly plays two simple alternating lines; the drums are four-on-the-floor, with the occasional modest fill; Mike Garson’s piano is buried so deep in the mix it sounds like a distant cowbell. The lead guitar riff provides the melody (Bowie sings along to it at times)—it opens the song like a car alarm, courses through it like blood.

Malcolm McLaren once said the first wave of punk kids were former Bowie and Roxy Music fans, who had found nothing for them in the likes of Station to Station or Siren. Bowie seemed to predict this: “Rebel Rebel” is him dividing the kingdom, distributing inheritances. Even the cheap promo video he made for “Rebel Rebel” would teach the punks style and attitude: Bowie’s thrift-shop motley; his blithely arrogant, if awkward, poses; how he holds his Fender Stratocaster with disdain, hardly pretending to play it.

"You're a juvenile success
Because your face is a mess
So how could they know?
I said, how could they know?"



DIAMOND DOGS

"REBEL REBEL"

PUSHING AHEAD OF THE DAME: "REBEL REBEL"

MADONNA PAYS TRIBUTE TO BOWIE WITH "REBEL REBEL"


"Rebel Rebel" - DIAMOND DOGS - 1974



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"Rebel Rebel"

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?
Oh?
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!

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 you've been there too
'Cause you've torn your dress
And your face is a mess
Ooo, your face is a mess
Ooo, ooo, so how could they know?
Eh, eh, how could they know?
Eh, eh

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THE DAILY BOWIE LIST
1601.20 - The Daily Bowie #0 - "Space Oddity" - SPACE ODDITY - 1969
1601.21 - The Daily Bowie #1 - "Ashes to Ashes" - SCARY MONSTERS - 1980
1601.22 - The Daily Bowie #2 - "Cat People" - LET'S DANCE - 1983
1601.23 - The Daily Bowie #3 - "Sons of the Silent Age" - HEROES - 1977
1601.24 - The Daily Bowie #4 - "Running Gun Blues" - THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD - 1970
1601.25 - The Daily Bowie #5 - "Sound and Vision" - LOW - 1977
1601.26 - The Daily Bowie #6 - "Fill Your Heart" - HUNKY DORY - 1971
1601.27 - The Daily Bowie #7 - "We Are The Dead" - DIAMOND DOGS - 1974
1601.28 - The Daily Bowie #8 - "Yassassin" - LODGER - 1979
1601.29 - The Daily Bowie #9 - "Time" - ALADDIN SANE - 1973
1601.30 - The Daily Bowie #10 - "Where Are We Now?" - THE NEXT DAY -2013
1601.31 - The Daily Bowie #11 - "Sunday" - HEATHEN - 2002
1602.01 - The Daily Bowie #12 - "Loving the Alien" - TONIGHT - 1984
1602.02 - The Daily Bowie #13 - "The Loneliest Guy" - REALITY - 2003
1602.03 - The Daily Bowie #14 - "Young Americans" - YOUNG AMERICANS - 1975
1602.04 - The Daily Bowie #15 - "Thursday's Child" - 'HOURS...' - 1999
1602.05 - The Daily Bowie #16 - "Buddha of Suburbia" - THE BUDDHA OF SUBURBIA - 1993
1602.06 - The Daily Bowie #17 - "Please Mr. Gravedigger" - DAVID BOWIE - 1967
1602.07 - The Daily Bowie #18 - "Sorrow" - PINUPS - 1973
1602.08 - The Daily Bowie #19 - "Golden Years" - STATION TO STATION - 1976
1602.09 - The Daily Bowie #20 - "I'm Afraid of Americans" - EARTHLING - 1997
1602.10 - The Daily Bowie #21 - "Pallas Athena" - BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE - 1993
1602.11 - The Daily Bowie #22 - "Glass Spider" - NEVER LET ME DOWN - 1987
1602.12 - The Daily Bowie #23 - "The Heart's Filthy Lesson" - OUTSIDE - 1995
1602.13 - The Daily Bowie #24 - "Rock 'N' Roll Suicide" - THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS - 1972
1602.14 - The Daily Bowie #25 - "Lazarus" - BLACKSTAR - 2016
1602.15 - The Daily Bowie #26 - "Tin Machine" - TIN MACHINE - 1989
1602.16 - The Daily Bowie #27 - "Baby Universal" - TIN MACHINE II - 1991
1602.17 - The Daily Bowie #28 - "Changes" - DAVID LIVE - 1974
1602.18 - The Daily Bowie #29 - "Fame" - STAGE - 1978
1602.19 - The Daily Bowie #30 - "SENSE OF DOUBT" - HEROES - 1977
1602.20 - The Daily Bowie #31 - "John, I'm Only Dancing" - CHANGESONEBOWIE - 1990
1602.21 - The Daily Bowie #32 - "London Bye Ta Ta" - BOWIE AT THE BEEB - 2000
1602.22 - The Daily Bowie #33 - "Real Cool World" - BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE - LIMITED ED - 2003
1602.23 - The Daily Bowie #34 - "Five Years" - THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS - 1972
1602.24 - The Daily Bowie #35 - "Speed of Life" - LOW - 1977
1602.25 - The Daily Bowie #36 - "I'm Deranged" - OUTSIDE - 1995
1602.26 - The Daily Bowie #37 - "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon" - REALITY - 2003
1602.27 - The Daily Bowie #38 - "I Can't Give Everything Away" - BLACKSTAR - 2016
1602.28 - The Daily Bowie #39 - "Diamond Dogs" - DIAMOND DOGS - 1974
1602.29 - The Daily Bowie #40 - "The Laughing Gnome" - THE DERAM ANTHOLOGY 1966-1968 (r.1997)
1603.01 - The Daily Bowie #41 - "Fascination" - YOUNG AMERICANS - 1975
1603.02 - The Daily Bowie #42 - "Panic in Detroit" - ALADDIN SANE - 1973
1603.03 - The Daily Bowie #43 - "Modern Love" - LET'S DANCE - 1983
1603.04 - The Daily Bowie #44 - "Fashion" - SCARY MONSTERS - Deluxe - 1980
1603.05 - The Daily Bowie #45 - "Life On Mars" - HUNKY DORY - 1971
1603.06 - The Daily Bowie #46 - "London Boys" - THE DERAM ANTHOLOGY 1966-1968 (r.1997)
1603.07 - The Daily Bowie #47 - "Fantastic Voyage" - LODGER - 1979
1603.08 - The Daily Bowie #48 - "The Man Who Sold the World" - THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD - 1970
1603.09 - The Daily Bowie #49 - "Stay" - STATION TO STATION - 1976
1603.10 - The Daily Bowie #50 - "Starman" - THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS - 1972
1603.11 - The Daily Bowie #51 - "Crystal Japan" - SCARY MONSTERS - Deluxe - 1980
1603.12 - The Daily Bowie #52 - "An Occasional dream" - SPACE ODDITY - 1969
                               - FOUR DAY BREAK
1603.17 - The Daily Bowie #53 - "Miracle Goodnight" - BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE - 1993
                               - TWO DAY BREAK
1603.20 - The Daily Bowie #54 - "5:15 The Angels Have Gone" - HEATHEN - 2002
1603.22 - The Daily Bowie #55 - "Queen Bitch" - HUNKY DORY - 1971
                               - SEVEN DAY BREAK
1603.29 - The Daily Bowie #56 - "Criminal World" - LET'S DANCE - 1983
                                 - ONE DAY BREAK
1603.31 - The Daily Bowie #57 - "Move On" - LODGER - 1979
1604.01 - The Daily Bowie #58 - "Rebel Rebel" - DIAMOND DOGS - 1974

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Rest in peace, David. We miss you.

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1604.01 - time

NOTE ON WHY THE DAILY BOWIE IS NO LONGER DAILY: For 53 days, I completed daily Bowie posts. My schedule is too demanding to make a post every day, so this will now be a feature that is called The Daily Bowie, but it will not be daily. I will post as I can. I will post often. But if I miss a day, I will skip it. Otherwise, I get in the position of making five Bowie posts all in one day, and that's a lot of Bowie for people to swallow all at once... (yeah, leaving that badly phrased, innuendo packed statement. I bet Bowie would have laughed at it).
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