Billy Idol . . .The Second British Invasion

Billy Idol was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, England. The name was inspired by a school teacher’s description of Broad as “idle”. In an interview on 21 November 1983, Idol said the name “was a bit of a goof, but also part of the old English school of rock. Billy Fury and all that. It was a ‘double thing’ not just a poke at the superstar-like people … It was fun, you know?” He wanted to be “Billy Idle” but thought he could not because of the Monty Python star Eric Idle and so chose Idol instead. Idol went to Sussex University, to pursue an English degree and lived on campus but left after year one. He then went on to join the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans, a loose gang that travelled into town when the band played. Idol first joined Chelsea in 1977 as a guitarist. However, he and Chelsea bandmate Tony James soon left that group and co-founded Generation X, with Idol switching from guitarist to lead singer. Generation X were one of the first punk bands to appear on the BBC Top of the Pops. Generation X signed to Chrysalis Records and released three albums and performed in the 1980 film, D.O.A., before disbanding. Early solo success. Idol moved to New York City in 1981 and became a solo artist, working with ex-Kiss manager Bill Aucoin. Idol’s punk-ish image worked well with the glam rock style of his new partner on guitar, Steve Stevens. Together they worked with bassist Phil Feit and drummer Gregg Gerson. Idol’s solo career began with the Chrysalis Records EP titled Don’t Stop in 1981, which included the Generation X song “Dancing with Myself”, originally recorded for their last album Kiss Me Deadly, and a cover of Tommy James & the Shondells’ song “Mony Mony”. Idol’s debut solo album, Billy Idol, was released in July 1982. Part of the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” of the United States, that year Idol became an MTV staple with “White Wedding” and “Dancing with Myself”. In 1983, in an effort to introduce Idol to American audiences not yet as familiar with him as those in the UK, Idol’s label released “Dancing with Myself” in the United States in conjunction with a music video directed by Tobe Hooper, which played on MTV for six months. Here in 2015 he continues to tour and there is a new single that has just been released to radio and as soon as those early stats come in we will have them for you right here on the pages of New Music Weekly.