Wednesday Question: Greatest Rock Rebels

Who are rock's greatest rebels? Pick a character and post your nominations here for a chance to appear in our top 10 this week.

Ultimate Guitar

Rock music has produced more than its fair share of rebellious behaviour. Whether it's teenagers inspired by their musical heroes to rebel against society or a hedonistic rock frontman bent on self-destruction, it's often rock music that set them on the path to independence.

This week we want you to help identify rock music's greatest rebels. Who stood up to protest against the man, and won? Who didn't care what others told them, and made their mark on history?

Who are the greatest rock star rebels?

There's a few obvious contenders - John Lydon as the iconic British punk figure; Marilyn Manson for caring so little about what people think of his image; the drunk "Bohemian Rhapsody" singer - the list goes on.

If you want to nominate a rock rebel for our top 10 this week, post one nomination per comment and upvote others you agree with. We'll compile the results this Friday in a list so full of bad behaviour that you'll weep molten guitar strings. Good luck!

407 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Johnny Cash
    he was more punk than 99% of the "punks" out there. Not a huge country fan but the man was bad ass
    Fuck yeah. And not just a rebel, a rebel for good too. Did so much for prison reform in the southern states. A huge ****ing big deal. Shows that being a "rebel" means more than just being an ***** and whining about stuff you don't understand. Absolute legend.
    I looked for the top comment expecting to see an incredibly lame answer (it happens on here A LOT)... But no. Pleasantly surprised. Even when the guy covered more modern bands, he showed them ALL up. Danzig, Soundgarden, NIN...all of them better than the originals.
    Darth Wader
    Looks like everything will be negative votes today. Sigh
    Dee Snider, who literally took it to "the man" in the US government over censorship and represented music very well with his testimony.
    Zach de la Rocha...he practices what he preaches
    Remember that Radio One thing Rage did live in 2009 'cos they got the No1? He was told not to do the swearing in Killing in the Name but he belted it out anyway. Unfortunately the song was just cut short as soon as he started.
    Oh my, what coincidence. I was just listening to "Killing in the name" and right when I read your comment, the "Fuck you! I won't do what you tell me!" part came on
    Chuck Berry, Rebelling against the traditional music and creating Rock and Roll to the joy of our souls.
    I could go with this. His era of rock did a lot more to challenge the standard of music than the subsequent more popular rock acts that popularized it.
    Yeah...but he also rebelled against those laws against pedophilia. So maybe not the best example.
    Chuck Berry also wrote music specifically that would sell to teenage audiences. While I absolutely love the guy's playing and I upvoted, he was a bit of a sell-out. Just sayin'.
    At the time, writing music specifically for teenage audiences was rebellion. No one did that back in the early '50s.
    Jim Morrison ,maybe not the most rebel guy out there but he really didnt care about the rules of society and lived his life how he wanted.
    Keith Moon
    Definitely Tony Iommi. Maybe not so much a rebel against society but doubtlessly against his circumstances - Lost two fingertips in a work accident. What did he do? Attach thimbles and detune the guitar strings to compensate, and created the basis for the guitar sound of heavy metal in the process. Got diagnosed with cancer. Whereas other musicians would have put their careers on the shelf, what did he do? Undergo treatment, return to touring and write and record one of the strongest albums of 2013. Whatever has been the matter, Tony has always refused to step down and be restrained by it. Not to mention having kept the behemoth that is Black Sabbath running for over 40 years, he deserves all the credit he can get.
    When i think rebel, i ask..who was badass, didnt give a f**k and did whatever he wanted?....BONZO!!!
    you forgot turning down Jethro Tull when they were very famous and go back to BS to create the first heavy metal album.
    Darth Wader
    I love when people just reply to someone else's nomination with their own nomination just so they can be at the top of the page. Even better when they name someone that was already mentioned hours earlier. It is awesome.
    I'm gonna go with David Bowie. His extravagant acts on stage and his personas like The Thin White Duke and Ziggy Stardust faced a lot of controversy in the 1960s and 1970s in a predominantly conservative society. His performances, lyrics and his figure overall synthesized a clash of generations, cultures and morals.
    Keith Richards
    Pete Townsend, because of his insane on-stage antics, jumping around like an madman etc. He clearly did not give a f*** what anyone thought, which has been an inspiration to me to just let it all go on-stage: [url]
    just coz youre a nutter onstage doesnt make you a rebel - he was probably the least rebellious in the who, he was described as "arty farty" by the others
    Phoebe Legere is the greatest rock n roll rebel. Legere challenged the macho rock establishment and shifted the rock paradigm with her 4 octave voice, virtuosity and explosive and courageous physicality. Legere is a multi-instrumentalist and rock leader who re-purposes the guitar into a shining post-phallic signifier.HEROIC SONGS AND MUSICAL MASTERY ARE lEGERE'S tool for social change. She has never been equaled though hundreds have tried to imitate her. Long live Phoebe Legere
    Jim Morrison
    JERRY LEE LEWIS - because 1) He proved you rock out on a freaking PIANO as your main instrument, 2) He acted like crazy wildman on that piano as he played, despite the conservative time he played in, 3) He married his 13 year old cousin...ROCK N ROLL!! Jerry Lee Lewis - Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On (1957)
    Lemmy, it's got to be, 68 years old, diabetic and still drinks a bottle of JD each day! In the words of Dave Grohl "Fuck the Rolling Stones and their luxury jet liners, Lemmy's travelling every day in a bus and writing new songs!"
    Neil Young has always been a rebel
    I'd say his biggest rebelliousness is being from Canada and not saying "aboot". Jokes aside, Neil is a badass, too bad he really isn't the kind of guy who gives interviews all the time.
    Darth Wader
    In all seriousness, I think the answer is BOB DYLAN. Look at how popular he was as a folk artist. He was "the voice of the generation." Then he rebelled and decided to go electric no matter how many people complained and yell things at him. And he didn't care. It seems to work out for him and he does what he wants.
    Dylan most definitely belongs in here. The man seriously does not give a flying **** about what other people think about him - he does whatever he wants and says whatever he wants, even in interviews. This one's my favorite - he gives a huge "**** you" to the Time Magazine interviewer the whole time.
    I don't claim that I was around when it happened (because I wasn't), but every time you hear about him "going electric", it sounds like the whole world was ready to lynch the guy. It seems hard to believe that such an action would warrant that kind of reaction, but it was apparently a big hairy deal. Maybe with the war and the civil rights issues of the time, it just magnified how important some musicians/artists were to everyone. I'm all-in for Dylan being on this list.
    People would actually go to his shows after he went electric just to throw things and yell, "Judas!"
    It wasn't everyone that wanted to "lynch" him, it was the folk community. And it wasn't so much the fact he went electric, but the fact that when he did he took the connection with the audience that was a key part of folk music. He essentially just turned his back on what he was known for. He was big with the folk community but didn't want to just be known as a purely folk icon, so he went against them and that's why people flipped out since most of his fanbase at the time was part of that community. Took some guts to do it the way he did.
    Rick Astley.
    I guess this is what happens when there are Wednesday questions during summer vacation.
    This is why we can't have nice things.
    to be fair hes a really pale white kid with red hair and the voice of a large black man singing soul. i guess theres some sort of rebllion in that
    He's rebelling against the people who say gingers don't have souls, by singing with soul.
    Elvis! I'm not a fan of his music, but to go against the media and the Bible-thumpers, and even a lot of his peers in a day when there were no precedents to see how others got away with it...Respect!
    how can that comment be down voted?! oh yeah... Elvis isnt metal...
    Dimebag is getting downvoted... so much for that stupid "OMG UG's all metal elitists" theory of yours.
    Thats why its just a theory. I never said its true all the time. I cant explain why Dimebags getting downvoted either
    ummm....the article is ROCK rebels.....not Metal. And Elvis was Rock and Roll. Embarrassed yet??
    Frank Zappa [don't know all that much about him, but seemed like he was willing to call out idiocy on either side of the political spectrum]
    Iggy Pop
    I was getting angry that no one mentioned him before - Thank you!
    Im surprised it took so long for someone to say Iggy... should have been up top
    I'd say the problem with this question is that people are just naming people that they think are badasses instead of people who have done something that is genuinely rebellious.
    Being so, we don't have much choices.
    Yeah but I gave two answers above(Lemmy and Joan Jett) and I gave two reasons why and still go downvoted, look at some of the answers people have given, some of them are actually too stupid to insult.
    Also, the guys at RATM (mainly Morello and DeLa Rocha) give huge ammounts of money to rebellious movements throughout central and south america. To name a few, the Mexican EZLN and the Brazilian MST.
    How about Robert Johnson,he sold his soul to the devil-thats pretty rebellious in '30s America
    I said Fela Kuti. This man kick the government and declared the foundation of his own republic. The government sent an army of 1000 man to burn his camp and kill him. The camp was burned down, but he was never caught. If this in't rebellious, than, dear UG, no one is worthy of being in that list.
    I said Fela Kuti. This man kick the government and declared the foundation of his own republic. The government sent an army of 1000 man to burn his camp and kill him. The camp was burned down, but he was never caught. If this in't rebellious, than, dear UG, no one is worthy of being in that list.
    John Lennon.
    Nero Galon
    In the early days, before and just starting the Beatles he was notoriously known for being a rebel.
    and how about after the Beatles? My favorite quote from him is "I'm glad you loved the mop tops and A Hard Days Night and all that, but I've grown up and maybe you should too." He made it a hobby finding reporters and ripping them apart
    Anyone ar Rage Against the Machine, for playing those shows on forbidden areas (like wall street and party rallies).
    Syd Barrett
    or Roger Waters, the Wall was a big **** you to the industry ( like some other work like have a cigar for example), but just the dude himself aside of his work doesnt take shit form anybody, he's the only artist who had the balls to call for a boycott of israel
    The Lizard King
    whats scary about JIM MORRISON is take the letters of his name and re-order them and you get MR MOJO RISIN. That is ****ing scary. The dude was tapped in.
    Man its gotta be Jim Morrison without a doubt. Look at what he did in the Ed Sullivan show. And he has the honour of being the first ever frontman who got arrested on stage. Jim Morrison is the quintessential rockstar man.
    Bob Dylan, He was really the first to actually write protest songs
    He might have been the first of his generation or the first of the recording age to write protest songs, but you're crazy if you think he was the first person to write any. There are countless protest songs that are centuries old.
    Chad Kroeger (no matter what people say.. he keeps making crap music. That takes guts!) haha
    I happen to like Nickelback. And yes, I am prepared for the downvote shit storm attached to that comment
    Lemmy (obviously,he says and does what he likes, and he talks a lot of sense) also I'd say Joan Jett, after the runaways she went through a lot of crap with record companies but still persevered and managed to keep making music on her own.
    G.G Allin
    And he still has a chance at the top ten! Seriously, WTF is with all the downvotes for EVERYBODY?
    he was more of a nutcase than a rebel...
    Those two things aren't mutually exclusive, but I agree. He was really more of a shock act/freakshow than he was a musician, anyway.
    Johnny Ramone. Please. He changed the entire course of rock music with a power chord. He said "**** it" to conventional guitar playing and just played loud and fast, something not many other bands before dared to even try.