Friday, October 1, 2010

Novel Songs: #1 Rebel Yell

I know it's stupid but I'm going to try to get permissions to use lyrics from 33 songs in my current WIP novel. It's about four, forty-something women who reclaim the girl band they'd had in college.

The first song I want to use the lyrics for is Billy Idol's Rebel Yell. I'm not sure who owns the licensing rights, but I want them -- for free.

Here's Mr. Idol performing the song recently with just a guitar backup:

Here's Mr. Idol performing in 2007. And look his body is actually better now! At least better than the poster my sisters and I bought in like 1985.

Billy Idol wrote Rebel Yell with guitarist Steve Stevens. Apparently he was inspired by this Tennessee bourbon label:

The song, released in 1984, only reached #46 in U.S. charts, but twenty-five years later, it's still a mainstay of bar bands.

Here's a little of how I use the song:

The red Jeep screams north on Highway 89. Blacktop unwinding over a basin of soft Mesozoic sediments laid down along the undulating west coast of the Inland Sea and past derelict homesteads, shedding roofs and walls into the prairie grass, slacking east with the prevailing wind. When the road straightens, the driver unclamps string-calloused fingers from the wheel and hits rewind on the tape deck. The tape screeches backward; the Jeep rushes forward and four girls sing, again.

In the midnight hour she cried more, more, more
With a rebel yell she cried more, more, more
More more more

Canvas top unzipped and snapped down, hair blowing, the moon pasting the road with light, hands flutter a rhythm on the seatback; fingers form chords on bottles or thrum air guitars. “We did it!” one of them says. We did. It’s like we can do anything. To our future. To the band. To tomorrow night. To us. Four girls in a red Jeep at the end of a big night raise and clink their bottles together, and the driver swerves to miss a porcupine waddling across the shoulder line.
The land here has been losing itself for millions of years, eleven thousand feet and counting, revealing an ancient subterranean fortress of volcanic intrusions — stocks, dikes, sills, diatremes. Younger, harder it rises from the worn-sediment basin as the Crazy Mountains. Few roads carve the fortress and these rarely traveled. Forest Service Road 419, once a prospector’s trail, then a wagon trail with a couple of small strikes, dodges off the blacktop, and the Jeep’s tires tread a skidmark making the turn. One of the girls squeals and sways, bumping against another in the backseat. Her wine cooler splashes Very Berry, dousing her thigh-squeezing cutoffs and the wad of graduation gowns and caps trampled on the floorboard. The Jeep claws up a hairpin switchback notched into the granite belly of the mountain. Then another.

What set you free and brought you to be me babe
What set you free I need you here by me
In the midnight hour she cried more more more
With a rebel yell she cried more more more


So, Billy, feel free to contact me.

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