Video Review: Billy Idol "Rebel Yell"

Fans cheer and clap in slow motion. Billy Idol jumps onto stage, pumping both arms as he approaches the microphone. He hits the microphone and pumps his left arm. The guitarist spins around. He holds onto the microphone, still pumping his left arm while he sings.

He turns directly to the camera, points at it and the snarls. The female keyboardist sways, tilting her head. He raises his fist and looks to the sky. The fans join during the chorus, repeating “more more more” with him.

He turns to the camera again, pumping his left arm and then again, but to the right. He holds onto the camera with his hand, a cocksure grin on his face.

He points to an audience member and pumps his left arm. He returns to the center of the stage, pointing out to the audience. The audience members in the front rows pump their fists along with him. He walks closer to the front row, singing to them.

Looking into the camera, he runs his hand through his spiky hair. The guitarist plays to the front row. Audience members grab at his guitar, jacket and body.

He pumps his fist into the camera and then walks to the left side of the front row. He points to someone and holds the gaze for almost 20 seconds or so. He walks to the right side and sings to them. He leans right into the front row, singing over someone’s head. A smile crosses his face. The guitarist jumps his air and whips his guitar around.

He pumps his right arm, singing, in slow motion. He and the guitarist jump into the air.

Rating: 4/5

Billy Idol, full of gusto and bravado, is a red-blooded performer with an undeniable toughness to him. He lives and breathes rock ‘n’ roll, favoring the Rolling Stones’ glittering rebellion over The Beatles’ pristine melodies.

Without the usual visuals or behind-the-scenes footage, the video lets Idol be and in turn, captures moments that would be edited out if other clips had been included. Midway through, he visits the front row. Upon seeing someone, he smiles as though he shared an inside joke with the person. After the fist pumps and snarls, it’s a peek past the bad boy image and into the person.

Director: Jeff Stein Year: 1984


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