Welcome to Rock of Agers

Welcome to Rock of Agers

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Roots of Rock: He's a Rebel Rocks to #1 in 1962

Maybe it was because I was such a south-favoring Civil War buff when I was a kid. Or maybe it's because I called my first dog Rebel. Or maybe I somehow knew I would grow up to be a bad-boy nonconformist.

But whatever the reason, one of the 1st great girl songs that ever captivated me was the the Crystals "He's a Rebel," which reached #1 on the Billboard charts on this date in 1962.

The song, I was to learn later, had an interesting history.

Written by Gene "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" Pitney and produced by the legendary Phil Spector, even though they are credited with the song, The Crystals didn't actually sing on the record. It was performed in the studio by a group called The Blossons, featuring a then-unknown singer named Darlene Love.

Spector knew that another version of the song by singer Vicki Carr was almost ready for release. But he wanted to get his own version of the record released first. Since the Crystals were on tour, Spector summoned the Blossoms to the studio to sing the song, but it was then released under the Crystals name.

"He's a Rebel" is a classic love song about a girl in love with a boy who rejects society's conventions. The singer claims he is simply misunderstood by others and is sweet and faithful to her. In turn, she vows to be faithful to him even though "he's not one of the crowd".

Darlene Love & Bette Middler team up  "He's a Rebel"
Note: You 'll probably recognize the guitar player in the background.

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