Rebel Rebel
David Bowie Lyrics


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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
Ooh, your face is a mess
Ooh, ooh, so how could they know?




Eh, eh, how could they know?
Eh, eh

Overall Meaning

In "Rebel Rebel," Bowie presents a tale of sexual and gender fluidity, where he explores the concept of breaking societal conventions and rebelling against preconceived notions about gender, fashion, and style. The opening lyrics suggest a carefree, devil-may-care attitude, with the singer enjoying everything from gender-bending fashion and crossdressing, to wild nights out and their love for hard rock bands.


The lyrics that depict, "You've got your mother in a whirl, She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl," suggest the singer's gender is ambiguous, and they don't identify within traditional gender binaries. Bowie also cleverly uses wordplay with the chorus, repeating the phrase "rebel rebel" both as a term of endearment for the singer and as an expression of their rebellious spirit. He also uses the phrase "hot tramp" as a term of endearment, making a seeming insult into a compliment.


Overall, the song is an ode to non-conformity, celebrating those who dare to be different and go against the grain. Bowie’s own unique style, unforgettable voice, and open approach to sexuality perfectly align with the energy of the song, making it one of his most iconic tracks.


Line by Line Meaning

Doo doo doo-doo doo doo doo doo
Instrumental introduction of the song.


You've got your mother in a whirl
Your unconventional gender expression worries your mother.


She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl
Your gender identity is unclear and confusing to your mother.


Hey babe, your hair's alright
I like your hairstyle, it's cool and edgy.


Hey babe, let's go out tonight
Let's have a good time and go out tonight.


You like me, and I like it all
We're into each other and we enjoy everything together.


We like dancing and we look divine
We enjoy dancing and we look fabulous while doing it.


You love bands when they're playing hard
You enjoy bands that play loud and aggressively.


You want more and you want it fast
You're not satisfied with what you have and you want more immediately.


They put you down, they say I'm wrong
People criticize and judge you for the way you express yourself, but I think they're wrong about you and us.


You tacky thing, you put them on
You wear unconventional and flashy clothes that get attention.


Rebel rebel, you've torn your dress
You rebel by wearing ripped clothing and challenging traditional norms.


Rebel rebel, your face is a mess
Your makeup is smeared and messy, and you don't care what others think about it.


Rebel rebel, how could they know?
They can't understand and appreciate our unconventional way of life and love.


Hot tramp, I love you so!
You're a sexy and attractive rebel, and I'm deeply in love with you.


You can't get enough, but enough ain't the test
You constantly crave more excitement and challenges, but the satisfaction of having enough is not your priority.


You've got your transmission and your live wire
You have a powerful drive and energy that makes you unstoppable.


You got your cue line and a handful of ludes
You're well-prepared and equipped with drugs to enhance your experience and creativity.


You wanna be there when they count up the dudes
You want to show up and prove yourself in front of others who doubt your abilities and achievements.


And I love your dress
I adore your unique and stunning fashion sense.


You're a juvenile success
You're young and rebellious, but already successful in your own unconventional way.


Because your face is a mess
Your unusual and messy facial expression is authentic and bold, and a part of your identity.


So how could they know?
People who judge us and criticize us cannot possibly understand our true selves.


What can I do for you? Looks like you've been there too
I want to support and help you because I understand your struggles and experiences.


Calamity's child
You have a reputation of being mischievous and chaotic, but that's what makes you unique and interesting.


Chi-chi, chi-chi
Nonsensical phrase added for the song's rhythm and style.


Where'd you wanna go?
Let's explore and experience new things together, and create unforgettable memories.


Ooh, your face is a mess
I love your unconventional and rebellious facial expression, it's a part of who you are and why I'm attracted to you.


Eh, eh
Nonsensical syllables added for the song's rhythm and style.




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Downtown Music Publishing
Written by: David Bowie

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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