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Rebel Girl by Joe Hill

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Published on Aug 30, 2015

joehill.sltrib.com

“Rebel Girl” was inspired by Joe Hill’s friend, Elizabeth Gurley-Flynn, who was a prominent speaker and leader in the Industrial Workers of the World. Hill wrote the song in 1915 while in prison in Salt Lake City, and hoped it would draw more women to the IWW. The original song is performed here by Alyeah Hansen at a park near downtown Salt Lake City. Today’s updated lyrics change the Rebel Girl’s role from supporting Rebel Boys to becoming a powerful force herself.  

Original lyrics:

There are women of many descriptions
In this queer world, as everyone knows
Some are living in beautiful mansions
And are wearing the finest of clothes
There are blue blooded queens and princesses
Who have charms made of diamonds and pearl
But the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl


That's the Rebel Girl, that's the Rebel Girl
To the working class she's a precious pearl
She brings courage, pride and joy
To the fighting Rebel Boy
We've had girls before, but we need some more
In the Industrial Workers of the World
For it's great to fight for freedom
With a Rebel Girl

Yes, her hands may be hardened from labor
And her dress may not be very fine
But a heart in her bosom is beating
That is true to her class and her kind
And the grafters in terror are trembling
When her spite and defiance she'll hurl
For the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl

That's the Rebel Girl, that's the Rebel Girl
To the working class she's a precious pearl
She brings courage, pride and joy
To the fighting Rebel Boy
We've had girls before, but we need some more
In the Industrial Workers of the World
For it's great to fight for freedom
With a Rebel Girl



Updated lyrics, by Hazel Dickens:

There are women of many descriptions
In this cruel world, as everyone knows.
Some are living in beautiful mansions,
And are wearing the finest of clothes.
There’s the blue blooded queen or the princess,
Who have charms made of diamonds and pearls
But the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl.

CHORUS
She’s a Rebel Girl, a Rebel Girl!
She’s the working class, the strength of this world.
From Maine to Georgia you’ll see
Her fighting for you and for me.
Yes, she’s there by your side with her courage and pride.
She’s unequaled anywhere.
And, I’m proud to fight for freedom
With a Rebel Girl.

Though her hands may be hardened from labor
And her dress may not be very fine
But a heart in her bosom is beating
That is true to her class and her kind.
And the bosses know that they can’t change her
She’d die to defend the worker’s world.
And the only and thoroughbred lady
Is the Rebel Girl.

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