|This entry details a planned album for The Rebels, Prince’s backing band which was named so for the occasion. Nine tracks were recorded during a 12-day recording sessions between 10 and 21 July 1979 at Mountain Ears Sound Studio in Boulder, Colorado (shortly after Prince finished work on his second album Prince).
Although Dez Dickerson has once said he believed The Rebels' "album" was never more than an incentive for the band rather than a real album idea, it is still probable that the sessions were intended to produce an album for the group. Matt Fink said in an interview that Prince told his band: “We’re going to Colorado and I want to make another record with you guys. I’m going to create a separate group.” Prince’s cousin, Charles 'Chazz' Smith (who was still close to some band members at that time), said that Prince went as far as envisioning the cover of the album which was going to be "the silhouettes of the faces of the group, just the shapes of their heads and no faces, so no one could see who it was". In a later interview, Dez Dickerson also confirmed that there were talks about a cover for the album.
With The Rebels project, Prince eased some tension by allowing Andre Cymone and Dez Dickerson to write and record their own songs. The studio in Boulder, Colorado, was chosen by Perry Jones (who worked for Bob Cavallo and Joe Ruffalo at that time), because he had connections with the studio management. The sessions were engineered by Bob Mockler, whom Prince met during the recording of his second album.
Nine songs including two instrumentals were recorded during these sessions: Dez Dickerson wrote Too Long and Disco Away on which he also sings lead, and one of the untitled instrumentals. Andre Cymone wrote Thrill You Or Kill You, which was already demoed by him 5 months earlier and the other instrumental. Prince contributed four songs for the project, three of which were sung by Gayle Chapman (You, If I Love You Tonight and The Loser). The fourth song, Hard To Get was sung by him and Andre Cymone. Most of The Rebels' music was more rock and guitar-oriented than Prince’s first two albums, showing Dez Dickerson’s influence.
None of the songs recorded during these sessions has ever been released under the name The Rebels and the band never made any appearance under that name. According to Matt Fink, Warner Bros. didn’t want to release The Rebels album fearing that a release "under another name would confuse people". The album was shelved but some of the song were re-recorded in the following years.
You was later re-recorded and released (as U) by Paula Abdul on her 1991 album Spellbound. If I Love You Tonight was later re-recorded and released (as If I Love U 2 Nite by Mica Paris on her album Contribution (and later by Mayte as If Love U 2night on her album Child Of The Sun).
Hard To Get was re-recorded by Prince alone in 1981, but the song remains unreleased. The same goes for Too Long, Disco Away, Thrill You Or Kill You, The Loser and the instrumentals by Dickerson and by Cymone.