Billy Idol - Rebel Yell 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition

Billy Idol – Rebel Yell (40th Anniversary Expanded Edition Review)

Billy Idol has been a fixture in the Rock-n-Roll world for nearly fifty years now. Initially a part of the impactful London Punk Rock scene that emerged during the ‘70s, he led the band Generation X with a distinctive presence that stood out. Leaving a mark with Generation X, they would split by 1981, but not before releasing Kiss Me Deadly in January of that year. Important to note, the album showcased Idol’s maturity as a performer and songwriter; shining in the Post-Punk era with big songs like “Dancing with Myself.” Ironically, “Dancing with Myself” was remixed and re-released under Billy Idol’s name in March of 1981 as a launch pad for his solo career.

A great starting point, Idol would go on to find success with his 1982 self-titled solo debut full-length album. Anchored by songs like “White Wedding” and “Hot in the City,” the album hit number forty-five on the Billboard 200 in the USA, but little did anyone know was that this rising rocker still had not peaked. In fact, he would launch into superstardom shortly thereafter with the release of his sophomore album Rebel Yell in November of 1983. A pinnacle point in Idol’s career, Rebel Yell found him once more teaming up with Producer Keith Forsey along with Guitarist Steve Stevens, and together, they created some extremely memorable songs. In all, the album was nothing less than extraordinary with a unification of a Hard Rock sound and New Wave elements; creating something that appealed to a broad audience. Whether you were a Pop, New Wave, or Heavy Metal fan, there was the absolute killer title-track, featuring screaming guitars and aggressive vocals, the haunting “Eyes Without a Face,” or the seductive “Flesh for Fantasy”… proving that Rebel Yell had it all.

Naturally, this diversity captured the world and Rebel Yell peaked at number six on the Billboard 200, but also reached the top ten in many other countries as well. Also creating a lasting impression because of heavy airplay on MTV, to this day, Rebel Yell remains the highest selling Billy Idol album ever. Recently celebrating 40 years since the album release, in the decades since, Idol has continued to release great music, tour, and remain a powerful force. Last putting out new music in 2022 with the EP Cage, in 2023 he released the unique, must watch live concert DVD/Blu-ray Billy Idol: State Line. Now in 2024, it seems only proper to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Rebel Yell… and that is exactly what Capitol/UMe are doing with a deluxe expanded edition.

Released on April 26th, the 40th anniversary deluxe expanded edition of Rebel Yell has plenty of cool features worth your while. To start with, it is available either digitally, as a two CD set, or a  two LP set. Not the first reissue of the album, back in 1999 a CD with several demos and session takes arrived, before a remastered edition of the original album was pressed to vinyl again in 2018. What sets this new edition apart is the inclusion of eight bonus tracks never before put out there, including previously unreleased songs! What this means is you get some more demos, a remix, and early takes, but also two tracks that no one has ever heard before.

Rather exciting, and the boldest selling point here, the two never before released songs in question are “Best Way Out of Here,” from the original album sessions, plus a cover of Rose Royce’s 1978 track “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.” Not just throwaways, both sound fantastic and leaves you wondering why they have never seen the light of day until now. Looking at them a bit more in-depth, “Best Way Out of Here” has a cool New Wave vibe, while “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” is a mellow, yet captivating rendition all matched with fantastic vocals and great guitar work. Perfectly fitting right in with the original Rebel Yell from 1983, it is a pleasant surprise that makes the reissue worth its weight in gold. However, the demos of songs like “Flesh for Fantasy” are also quite intriguing and offer you a different perspective of what direction the production may have gone. 

Beyond this, the CD set features two discs, while the vinyl set is presented in a gatefold layout with two records (available either in standard black or as a limited edition marbled blue & marbled red pressing). Truly a great way to celebrate 40 years of Rebel Yell, in case you have the itch to check Billy Idol live, tour dates are lined up through the summer months. Something to look out for, it is highly recommended to invest in the CD or vinyl sets of the 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition of Rebel Yell, because Cryptic Rock gives it 5 out of 5 stars.  

Billy Idol - Rebel Yell 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition
Billy Idol – Rebel Yell 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition / Capitol/UMe (2024) 

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