Entry 18: The Plastic Punk Goes Confederate

Billy Idol, a British rock star, even displays the Confederate flag on his guitar.

“Rebel Yell,” Billy Idol. Produced by Keith Forsey. Written by Billy Idol and Steve Stevens.

Release Date: October 24, 1982.

I recently reviewed Craig A. Warren’s The Rebel Yell: A Cultural History for The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. I liked the book and my review is largely positive, but there’s one aspect I’d like to discuss here because it pertains directly to Civil War memory in popular culture. Warren commendably incorporates “Rebel Yell,” Billy Idol’s most famous tune (with the possible exception of his cover of “Mony Mony”), into his study but I disagree with Warren’s interpretation of the lyrics. This was too small an issue to warrant a lot of attention in my review, but it seemed like good fodder for a blogpost–especially since there’s some overlap with my previous discussion of the Confederate flag. Read More