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Billy Idol

Along with Duran Duran, Billy Idol was one the first pop/rock artists to achieve massive success in the early '80s due to a then brand-new U.S. television network, MTV. Mixing his bad-boy good looks with an appealing blend of pop hooks, punk attitude, and a dance beats, Idol quickly rocketed to stardom, before hard living derailed his career and almost proved fatal. Born William Michael Albert Broad on November 30, 1955, in Middlesex, England, the youngster relocated with his family for a brief spell to New York, before returning back to England. After a stint at Sussex University only last a year, Broad found himself as part of a group of teen punk rockers who befriended and followed the Sex Pistols, known as "the Bromley Contingent" (a member of this colorful group of characters was Siouxsie Sioux, eventual leader of Siouxsie & the Banshees).

It wasn't long before Broad realized that he too could be the frontman of a punk band, and assumed the name Billy Idol shortly thereafter. After a stint playing guitar in a group called Chelsea didn't pan out (interestingly, the group featured future Clash guitarist Mick Jones and future Damned guitarist Brian James), Idol put down the guitar and picked up the mic, and recruited bassist Tony James, drummer John Towe, and guitarist Bob Andrews, forming Generation X in 1976. Named after a 1960s paperback book, the band signed a recording contract with Chrysalis shortly thereafter (Towe was replaced with new skinsman Mark Laff) -- resulting in such releases as 1978's self-titled debut, 1979's Valley of the Dolls, and 1981's Kiss Me Deadly -- before splitting up.

Disappointed with Generation X's demise, Idol relocated to New York City, where he pursued a career as a solo artist. Hooking up with Kiss manager Bill Aucoin, Idol issued the 1981 EP Don't Stop (comprised of a cover of Tommy James' '60s hit "Mony Mony" and a pair of remixed Generation X tracks), which helped the singer score another record deal with his former band's label, Chrysalis. Idol found the perfect collaborator and partner in guitarist/Johnny Thunders look-alike Steve Stevens, and issued a self-titled debut in July of 1982. A pair of eye-catching videos for the tracks "White Wedding" and "Dancing With Myself" (the latter a remake of a Generation X composition) scored major air time on MTV, with both clips focusing in on Idol's spiky, peroxide blonde hair, and Elvis-like sneer. The debut eventually obtained gold certification, and set the stage perfectly for Idol's big commercial breakthrough, 1984's Rebel Yell.

Rebel Yell became the singer's best-selling album of his career (eventually going double platinum), spawning such big-time MTV/radio hits as the album's anthemic title track, "Eyes Without a Face," and "Flesh for Fantasy," establishing Idol as an arena headliner stateside. But with massive success came its many distractions, which prevented Idol from issuing a new studio album until three years after Rebel Yell. 1987's Whiplash Smile was another sizeable hit on the strength of such hits as "To Be a Lover" and "Sweet Sixteen," but failed to live up to the lofty expectations set by his previous releases. Stevens jumped ship shortly thereafter to launch his own band, Steve Stevens' Atomic Playboys (and eventually was a member of Mötley Crüe singer Vince Neil's solo band), leaving Idol to fend for himself.

An eight-track best-of set, Vital Idol, was issued later the same year, spawning one of the year's most heavily played MTV videos -- a live version of the previously recorded cover of "Mony Mony" -- which helped keep Idol in the spotlight. Idol spent the next few years working on his fourth studio release, but reappeared in the summer of 1989 as part of an all-star rendition of the Who's Tommy, with Idol playing the role of the sadistic character Cousin Kevin. Around the time of Idol's next release, 1990's Charmed Life, the singer was involved in a serious motorcycle accident (in which he almost lost his leg), forcing the singer to walk with a cane for a period of time; the video for the album's lead-off single, "Cradle of Love," featured the singer filmed from the waist up. The ploy worked, as the single (which was also used as the theme song in the failed Andrew "Dice" Clay movie Ford Fairlane) was another smash hit, making Charmed Life the fourth Idol album in a row to achieve at least reach platinum sales.

Expectedly, several years passed before the release of Idol's next album, during which time he tried his hand at acting with a bit part in Oliver Stone's motion picture The Doors. By the time 1993's Cyberpunk surfaced, Idol had dropped his spiky peroxide hairstyle in place of dreadlocks, and experimented with techno beats. The move proved to be an unwise one, as the album tanked and sank from the charts. At the same time, Idol was knee deep in drug addiction, resulting in another close brush with death when he overdosed and had to be treated in a Los Angeles hospital in 1994. Not much was heard from Idol until 1998, when he made a cameo appearance (as himself) in the hit Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy The Wedding Singer, which resulted in renewed interest. Idol teamed up once again with Stevens, was the subject of a VH1: Behind the Music special (as well as a VH1 Storytellers episode for the channel, which was ultimately issued as a CD), and issued a more extensive Greatest Hits set in 2001; the latter of which sold 500,000 copies in the U.S. alone. Next up was his first studio album since Cyberpunk, Devil's Playground, released on Sanctuary in 2005 and this was swiftly followed by the seasonal Happy Holidays for which he retained Brian Tichy and Derek Sherinian from the previous album's sessions.

2008 brought The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself, which was notable for including two previously unreleased tracks: "John Wayne" and "New Future Weapon." A worldwide tour on the same bill as Def Leppard ensued, before 2009 brought In Super Overdrive Live, a video release of a performance in Chicago; Idol appeared at Donnington Park's Download Festival in 2010. A relatively quiet spell in his career was followed by a period of songwriting with Stevens and Circus Diablo frontman Billy Morrison. In time, recording sessions took place which led to the announcement of a seventh studio album of original material. Produced by Trevor Horn and preceded by Idol's memoir Dancing with Myself, Kings & Queens of the Underground appeared in October 2014. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Can't Break Me Down (Single)

Comments

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❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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I hear he still ROCKS
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Billy was the man in the 80's
Great voice
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correa.trace
Billy rocks!
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Billy can do no wrong!!!
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I saw Idol @ Astroworld, Houston, TX 1982...memor i e s
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cdavila0418
Billy rocks!! I love this song!!
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I am not even born and I listen to him
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I'm 10 and I lisen to him����
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Billy ROCKS after all these years!
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In the midnight hr. She crys more more
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dancin with myself
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mony mony
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artist685
Rebel Yell live.... You still got it!
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kesslerr1970
Almost 20 yrs later & I'm still cranking the radio when his songs
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be nice to have a cradle of love to rock
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The wedding singer!!! ������
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Idk cyberpunk only tanked because it was not lyrics... More closely related to Lazyboy cut was... Yet much earlier
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Dancing with myself. .oh, oh,ohohohoh! ! ! ! !
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They need to play rebel Yell on the Ride at KD!
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its a nice day for a white wedding is all about family loyalty
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I love Billy Idol music!!!
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" more more more"!!!!!!! ! ! Love it
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kevin-burns9
Rebel yell rocks like rebel from hell!!!more! Billy idol hits a home run on this classic!!!pk b 4 5
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megan1490
Rebel yell awesome song love billy idol so much
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Dancing with myself, a song about masterbation .
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"Dancing with Myself" describes my life lol
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Met him at a bar, he was super nice and spanked my girlfriend, no bs.
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artist685
I looked and dressed just like Billy Idol and sang his songs? He still rocks! Go Billy! Great memories! I used to have my morning bone to Rebel Yell! Rock on brother!
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mdanfang4
Love it!!!!!! Follow for follow
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mark50909
First concert ever - Great choice! AND I get to see him next week in Denver.
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Cant wait to see him in Detroit next Friday!~
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saw him last sunday in DC HE ROKKED THAT JOINT!!!$$$$
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artiestephan i e z o l l m a n
I LOVE his song white wedding !
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I miss watching hockey games at the Ore Arena. They would always play Mony Mony. Fun & good times with my coworkers and friends back then!
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I am a 65 yr old idol nut! I love this man and all of his music, I dance to every song even if it by myself
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I LOVE this man, His style is AMAZING all the way around!!!!!! ! ! ! !
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LENAJ21
Just saw Billy a few weeks ago and he not only sounded great, he looked OMG amazing!!
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Billy Idol still Iconic today..aweso m e
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True 80s rock billy idol love him and always will
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He came here to the Bay Area in October November a local 1o 7.7 rock station was giving tickets away
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megan1490
Love billy idol his music so much better than today's music. Rebel yell is my favorite song
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It's a great song want to really lead guitarist Steve Stevens get live version of dirty Diana Diana by Michael Jackson that rocks!
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A beautiful song that wAs me one in june it was a weird feeling but I came back because of family eyes without a fAce
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eric199788
Billy Idol rocked the 80`s. Love this song.
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All Star rock star
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I was front row in St Louis- he kicks a** still...and sooo sexy!
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Can't wait to see that high energy. In concert
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laciesnow81
just saw him in concert and met the man, such a surreal moment that i will never forget and always remember!
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Billy idol the a** kicker of music in the 80s
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