Sabbath historian Rob Dwyer explains the history of the music:
“‘The Rebel’ is without a doubt one of the most sought-after BLACK SABBATH songs ever recorded. Although a small fragment of this very un-SABBATH like song can be heard on ‘The Black Sabbath Story Volume 1′ video, most fans have never heard this still-unreleased 1969 demo.”
“Is it an EARTH or BLACK SABBATH demo? One of the most frequently asked questions about ‘The Rebel’ is whether the song could be considered as an EARTH demo. Although the actual acetate credits the recording to BLACK SABBATH, the song was recorded during a transitional period. It has been alleged in several recent BLACK SABBATH biographies that the band decided upon changing their name from EARTH to BLACK SABBATH while they were on route to The Star Club in Hamburg in early August 1969. To avoid the inevitable confusion arising from this sudden change, the band performed many prior bookings as EARTH. In fact, their final gig as EARTH was performed in Kilcaldy, Scotland just one day after recording ‘The Rebel’.”
“The recording session for ‘The Rebel’ took place at Trident Studios in St. Anne’s Court in Soho, which was an 8-track facility at the time. Overseeing the session was Gus Dudgeon, who had also worked with LOCOMOTIVE and would later produce albums for ELTON JOHN and DAVID BOWIE. The band was less than impressed with Gus, who kept using LOCOMOTIVE as the benchmark for anything they did. It was than that engineer Rodger Bain was offered his first chance to produce a record…and the rest is history.
“The band had just returned from a German tour to begin rehearsing. Manager Jim Simpson suggested that they record ‘The Rebel’, a song that was written by Norman Haines. Norman played keyboards in Jim’s band LOCOMOTIVE. Haines also took part in this session, playing organ and piano. Two months later, the band recorded yet another Haines composition called ‘When I Come Down’, which was retitled ‘When I Came Down’ for the SABBATH version. The band weren’t pleased with either of these songs, but went along with the sessions so their manager would have something to shop to the record labels. Neither song represented the heavy rock direction they were already formulating OR their EARTH-y blues based roots.”