Rebel Rebel - a fantastic recording by Bowie

My music taste is wide and varied these days and I’ll give most things a go. There are exceptions. I like bands and artists who actually play their instruments, so I don’t have much time for a lot of boy/girl bands whose only talent seems to be dancing. Essentially, to pass my test for consideration, a band should be able to walk into a studio, be given some musical instruments and be able to reproduce their sound reasonably accurately. I doubt the Pussycat Dolls could do that, for example.

I’m not a fan of country music or folk music, although I can listen to the occasional song in either genre, and I don’t care for rap or hip-hop because it’s just shit, but otherwise I’m prepared to listen to most things.

The first song I can actually remember listening to was ‘Lily The Pink’ by Scaffold. That would have been in 1969 when I was five. I don’t have too many memories from that age but I remember listening to that song on a Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder my father had. I remember Mr Freers had sticky-out ears and Brother Tony was notably bony.

I became a little more aware of music in the early 70s and it was mainly of the Glam Rock persuasion with bands like Slade, Sweet and Wizzard. But I wasn’t really into music as such at that time; it was just pleasant background listening.

My proper musical awakening came in about ’75 or ’76 when I was at a friend’s house and he played one of his older brother’s singles. The song was ‘Life On Mars’ by David Bowie and listening to that made me realise that music was something I could really get into; it was something that could invoke passion and tweak the emotions. It was a revelation.

A few years after that I started listening to the John Peel Show on Radio 1, at which time he was playing a lot of punk music. This was raw and aggressive and it was something totally different to the 70s disco music that was dominating the charts at the time. It gelled with me immediately and my standard fare became bands like Stiff Little Fingers, Crass, X-Ray Spex, The Clash and The Undertones. Punk slowly gave way to things like New Wave and Ska, which I quite liked although not as much as I liked punk.

Throughout all these fads I’ve always liked good rock music too. I find it very hard to list my favourite bands or artists because it depends on my mood on any given day and there’s a wide range of contenders. In addition to the punk bands mentioned above, Blondie, Boomtown Rats, The Eagles, Rainbow, Dire Straits, ELO, Gerry Rafferty, Cream and The Pretenders are some contenders that immediately come to mind.

There has been one constant throughout, though, and that’s David Bowie. I’ve liked virtually everything he has done, through all the different styles his collection covers and all the different personas he’s acted out. He was a musical genius in my opinion. Much of his music has the power to make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck and I think it’s simply excellent.

Every once in a while you hear a song that you already think is awesome and you get a fresh burst of awesomeness from it. This happened to me last night. Whilst browsing Youtube I came across a live version of ‘Rebel Rebel’ by Bowie from 2003, which I hadn’t heard before. It’s a different arrangement to the original. It starts with a vocal intro with very little musical backing and then in comes the fantastic guitar riff that underpins ‘Rebel Rebel’, and it works superbly. Bowie has somehow managed to improve upon his already excellent song.

Anyway, enough of me waxing lyrical about this. Here’s the song. Enjoy.