Wednesday, April 24, 2024

David Bowie’s “Rebel Rebel” Used for Frankenstein Country Song But So Far No One’s Buying It Including the iTunes Charts


Kudos to the publicist who placed stories today bout Chris Young’s country single. “Young Love and Saturday Nights.”

The song is a rip off of David Bowie’s rock classic “Rebel Rebel.” It’s the same same with different lyrics. The AP article marvels at a word sent to them by the publicist (who deserves a raise) — ‘interpolation.’ They’d never heard it before!

The gist of this thing is that the Bowie estate was somehow convinced to allow Young and his co-writers to adapt the song since they had no original ideas of their own. Hence, “Rebel Rebel” became the Young song, and Bowie gets a credit on a country single.

The whole idea is laughable. It’s also not new. The greatest ‘interpolation’ came 30 years ago when Puff Daddy lifted Sting’s “Every Breath You Take” and turned it into “I’ll Be Missing You.” After Sting’s lawyers arrived, the Police front man got the publishing money forever. Was it worth it?

Other famous examples include Vanilla Ice turning Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” into “Ice Ice Baby” and .MC Hammer making “U Can’t Touch This” from Rick James’ “Super Freak.”

in Latin, Interpolation means cover record with different lyrics. Kanye West has interpolated plenty of old hits, so have Alicia Keys and many other stars. This is not a new idea, except at the Associated Press.

The irony in the Bowie/Chris Young situation is that apparently no one cares. “Young Love and Saturday Nights” has been out for 11 days. It does not appear on the iTunes top 200. On YouTube, the video has just 82,000 views. On Spotify, there are only a half million streams.

Could it be country music lovers smell a rat?

The winners are the Bowie estate and Warner Chappell Music, which owns the rights to Bowie’s music. They got their money regardless of whether the record ever takes off.

Lesson learned: don’t mess with the Bowie legacy.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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