So Rolling Stone compiled a list of Rock & Roll Rebels, and introduces it with a smorgasbord of context. Rebels are: bad boys, sensitive, revolutionaries who don’t understand why things have to be the way they are.
Not sure that gives me a clear picture of what a rock & roll rebel is, but here’s their list:
Plastic People of the Universe, Fela Kuti, Elvis Costello, MC5, Peter Tosh, Sinead O’Connor, Kurt Cobain, Victor Jara, Jerry Lee Lewis, Public Enemy, Marilyn Manson, Steve Earle, The Clash, Sex Pistols, Johnny Cash
Neither does the list. Some of these folks aren’t really rockers, although you can’t dispute the rock and roll attitude.
But rebel against what? The government, parents, the “establishment”, societal norms, expectations, good taste? Rebel consistently, or once upon a time?
Depending on your definition, there are lots of other candidates: Lennon, Richards, Dylan, Alice Cooper, Bowie, Zappa, Morrison, Hendrix …
Maybe the definition doesn’t matter, ‘cause at bottom rock and roll is about rebellion, isn’t it? As Brando would say, “what’ve you got?”