Pop Archives

Debbie Byrne - He’s A Rebel (1974)

(Gene Pitney)
Australia Australia
#41 Sydney #1 Melbourne #3 Adelaide #2 Perth

Debut single, on L&Y, by Debra Byrne YouTube, a graduate of Johnny Young's variety TV show Young Talent Time who went on to a long, successful and sometimes troubled career as a singer and stage actor.

Reference: Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (1999), pp.89-90 [digitalised copy online at Internet Archive]

Further reading: 1. Wikipedia: Debra Byrne. 2. Debra Byrne's filmography at Internet Movie Database.

Pat Carroll - He’s A Rebel (1966)

(Gene Pitney)
Australia Australia

Single on W&G.

Pat Carroll was a popular Melbourne singer often seen on pop TV shows in the late 60s. For a while she performed with Olivia Newton-John as Pat & Olivia, and she married John Farrar, the ex-Strangers guitarist and vocalist who wrote and produced for Olivia.

See also: All Kinds Of Everything.

Reference: Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (1999), pp.98-99 [digitalised copy online at Internet Archive]

Thanks to Terry Stacey for version alert.

Jacques Revaux - J’attendais (1963)

(Gene Pitney - Jacques Revaux - Billy Nencioli)
France France

Single on Columbia YouTube by singer and songwriter Jacques Revaux (b.1940 as Revaud). The French lyrics are by Revaux with singer-songwriter-film composer Billy Nencioli (1932-1997). Also on Columbia EP On va danser as J’attendais (He’s a rebel), along with three other RevauxNencioli lyrical collaborations.

Revaux is known by many as the composer of Comme d'habitude, the song Paul Anka turned into My Way. French singer Michel Sardou recorded numerous Jacques Revaux compositions, many of which were RevauxSardou collaborations.

Red herring: This is not the Celine Dion song with the same title (for example).

Further reading: 1. Jacques Revaux at Les Auteurs et Compositeurs de la Chanson Francaise [Google English translation]. 2. Billy Nencioli filmography at IMDb, discography at Encyclopédisque.fr

Merci à Philippe de me signaler cette version.

The Breakaways - He’s A Rebel (1962)

(Gene Pitney)

Single on Pye YouTube October 1962 by three graduates of The Vernon Girls, a professional offshoot of the Vernon Football Pools company choir from Liverpool. Samantha Jones (Don't Come Any Closer) and Vicki Brown (From The Inside) were also former Vernon Girls.

Thanks to Phil Chapman.

Vikki Carr - He’s A Rebel (1962)

(Gene Pitney)
Original version?
#3 Sydney #9 Brisbane #6 Adelaide #1 Perth

Single on Liberty, produced by Snuff Garrett.

Co-charted in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with the version by The Crystals.

Single on Liberty label by El Paso-born singer whose biggest pop hit was It Must Be Him (1967, #3 USA). Since the 80s she has become a highly regarded Latin-style artist.

Further reading: Vikki Carr biography at All Music.

Thanks to Tony Watson.

Which one is the original? Versions by The Crystals and by Vikki Carr were recorded and released around the same time. The big original version sites disagree on the fine details.
The Originals has Vikki Carr as the original, noting that the two versions were "cut the same night".
Second Hand Songs lists The Crystals' record as the original but calls it a "simultaneous original" with Vikki Carr's, while noting that The Crystals were the first to be played on radio.
45Cat.com seems to settle it by giving release dates three days apart: The Crystals 14 August and Vikki Carr 17 August, although the source for that is not cited.

The Crystals - He’s A Rebel (1962)

(Gene Pitney)
Original version?
#1 USA #19 UK #6 Melbourne #9 Brisbane #6 Adelaide #1 Perth

Single on Philles, produced by Phil Spector.

Co-charted in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth with the version by Vikki Carr.

Brooklyn girl group The Crystals were regulars on Phil Spector's 'Wall of Sound' productions for his label Philles, formed with independent producer Lester Sill in 1961 but bought out by Spector the following year. He's A Rebel was the biggest of The Crystals' six Billboard Top 20 hits 1961-63 which also included Da Doo Ron Ron (1963, #3 USA) and Then He Kissed Me (1063, #6 USA).

The group heard on the record is The Blossoms, an established LA session group led by Darlene Wright, soon to become a prominent solo artist with Spector as Darlene Love. Spector was set on recording only in Los Angeles, and The Blossoms were on the spot. The Crystals, elsewhere at the time, heard "their" record on the radio. They had to learn it for their live appearances, coached by its writer Gene Pitney who happened to be on tour with them.

Essential reading: Mick Brown, Tearing Down the Wall of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector (2007), access for free online at Internet Archive.

The Boones - He’s A Rebel (1977)

(Gene Pitney)
Later version

Single on Warner. YouTube

This is the B-side of You Light Up My Life (#1 USA & Canada), the biggest hit of Debby Boone (b.1956), country, pop and Christian singer, and stage and screen actor.

The Boones were a pop-gospel-country group made up of Debby Boone and her sisters Cherry, Lindy, and Laury. They recorded a number of singles and had some minor success on country charts. Their father is 50s-60s pop & movie star Pat Boone.

Further reading: 1. Boones discography at 45cat.com. 2. Debby Boone's website. 3. Cherry Boone, writer, author and singer at Wikipedia.