‘Rebel Rebel’ was the last single in the glam rock style that had been Bowie’s trademark. Bowie played guitar on this and almost all other tracks from Diamond Dogs, creating “a rocking dirty noise that owed as much to Keith Richards as it did to the departed Mick Ronson”.
The song is notable for its gender-bending lyrics ("You got your mother in a whirl / She's not sure if you're a boy or a girl") as well as its distinctive riff, Bowie himself later said, "It's a fabulous riff! Just fabulous! When I stumbled onto it, it was Oh, thank you!"