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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Very Best Of Billy Idol

1. Dancing With Myself

2. Hot In The City

3. White Wedding

4. Rebel Yell

5. Eyes Without A Face

6. Flesh For Fantasy

8. To Be A Lover

9. Don't Need A Gun

11. Mony Mony

12. Cradle Of Love

13. L.A. Woman

14. Shock To The System

15. Speed

16. World Comin' Down

17. John Wayne

18. New Future Weapon

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. Dancing With Myself

2. Mony Mony

3. Hot In The City

4. White Wedding

5. Rebel Yell

6. Eyes Without A Face

7. Flesh For Fantasy

8. Catch My Fall

9. To Be A Lover

10. Don't Need A Gun

11. Sweet Sixteen

12. Cradle Of Love

13. L A Woman

14. Shock To The System

15. Rebel Yell (Acoustic) (Live)

16. Don't You (Forget About Me)

x

Track List: Charmed Life

1. Loveless

2. Pumping On Steel

3. Prodigal Blues

4. L. A. Woman

5. Trouble With The Sweet Stuff

6. Cradle Of Love

7. Mark Of Caine

8. Endless Sleep

9. Love Unchained

10. Right Way

11. License To Thrill

x

Track List: Vital Idol

1. White Wedding (Remix)

2. Mony Mony (Remix)

3. Hot In The City

4. Dancing With Myself (Remix)

5. Flesh For Fantasy (Remix)

6. To Be A Lover

7. Love Calling

8. Catch My Fall

x

Track List: Rebel Yell (Expanded Edition)

1. Rebel Yell

3. Eyes Without A Face

4. Blue Highway

5. Flesh For Fantasy

6. Catch My Fall

7. Crank Call

8. (Do Not) Stand In The Shadows

9. The Dead Next Door

x

Track List: Billy Idol

1. Come On, Come On

2. White Wedding

3. Hot In The City

4. Dead On Arrival

5. Nobody's Business

6. Love Calling

7. Hole In The Wall

8. Shooting Stars

9. It's So Cruel

10. Dancing With Myself

x

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

1. Can't Break Me Down

x

Track List: Devil's Playground

1. Super Overdrive

2. World Comin' Down

3. Rat Race

4. Sherri

5. Plastic Jesus

6. Scream

7. Yellin' At the Xmas Tree

8. Romeo's Waiting

9. Body Snatcher

10. Evil Eye

11. Lady Do or Die

12. Cherie

13. Summer Running

x

Track List: Kings & Queens Of The Underground

1. Bitter Pill

2. Can't Break Me Down

3. Save Me Now

4. One Breath Away

5. Postcards From The Past

6. Kings & Queens Of The Underground

7. Eyes Wide Shut

8. Ghosts In My Guitar

9. Nothing To Fear

10. Love And Glory

11. Whiskey And Pills

Comments

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punk yell
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Billy Idol is still cool… Just googled him he is 60 years old… Not that that's old by ANY stretch of the imagination ,
however I can recall off MTV days !
dang it LOL
0:o0
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❤❤❤❤❤
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LOVE this #$@%song forever 80s...ROCK! the WORLD!!
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this is my jam
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BILLY Bad#^>!!!!
Always was always will be… Loved the MTV videos fun dancing with myself! Got a lot of good stuff!

0;o)))
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Nobody messes with Billy Idol that way!
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STILL ROCKS!
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Glad this song had the lyrics listed. Kind of amusing how I never understood half the stuff he was singing until I read it here
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happy belated 6oth birthday Billy may you enjoy many more. Eyes without a face
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jazzlover200 1
Happy Belated 60th Birthday William!
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Happy 60th Birthday Billy. Hope you have more, more, more.
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mickeytheplu m b e r
That was my cussen.p.s.t h i s is his doter
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mickeytheplu m b e r
Poooooo
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Driving my 72 Chevy Malibu, n still cranking it... That's bad asss
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Rock en ingles fascinante musica
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EYES WITHOUT A FACE
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manuelcynthi a 1 2
Love White Wedding.
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Billy Idol announced his first-ever Vegas residency which will begin in March at Mandalay Bay's House of Blues. He will only be in Vegas for a limited time, only 12 dates have been confirmed between March and May. Pre-sales for Billy Idol: forever will begin today, and prices will start about $80, plus fees.
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dancin with myself again
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new future weapon
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IT WAS THE WAY HIS LIP WAS CURLED UP.......... . O M G
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I was sooo in love with this hot man !!!!!
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good, you should regrow your hair brown eyes girl, I'm getting a long bob hair cut later on. Most likely.
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You're still HOT for an old guy and you still ROCK!
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I remember when MTV use to show 80's music video that what is need love those classic video but VH1 Classic has a channel that plays 80's music. videos ♡♡♡♡♡♡
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beerman.rg
Crusing down the main strip laid back before going home after an 80's party
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b̸e̸s̸t̸ b̸i̸l̸l̸y̸ i̸d̸o̸l̸ s̸o̸n̸g̸ b̸y̸ f̸a̸r̸
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I love mony mony that is the bast song on this station
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His MONY MONY Cover is amazing
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im 32
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Grown ups 2
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so has my mom
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I have been listening to Billy since the 80's........ . Rock Ooooon!!
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Rebel Yell
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My wife still likes this dude uugghh,,, Billy is the bomb though,,rebe l yell album, I believe was his best,,sweat, s w e a t , s w e a t , s w e a t , s w e a t lol
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I loooooooove Billy!!! I saw him in concert 5 times! I wish I could see him again. Keep going Billy...you still got it!
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Just so (italicized➡ ) good.
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Billy Idol is my favorite artist
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ebadillov
Me trae grandes recuerdos
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BILLY IDOL ROCKS
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With a rebel yell- "more, more, more" ❤❤❤
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Rebel yell
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Man I love this beat
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love me billy idol.......t h e r e is no way you are real janes63..... b e real
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Still love him, and I'm 80 years old. Saw him with my grandson in Salt Lake City. Use Mony Mony to push me when I'm walking my dogs.
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I danced with Jessica Womble to this song. :::sigh:::
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I dance with myself to this song.
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artist685
Still rocks acoustically ! Loved Billy as a teen and still do. Rock on bro.
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love this song memories
Show more

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