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Billy Idol

Singer / Songwriter from London

Tracks (4)
Eyes without a face

Billy Idol

Billy Idol Biography

William Michael Albert Broad, known professionally as Billy Idol, is an English singer who holds dual British and American citizenship. He first achieved fame in the 1970s emerging from the London punk rock scene as the lead singer of the group Generation X. Subsequently, he embarked on a solo career which led to international recognition and made Idol a lead artist during the MTV-driven "Second British Invasion" in the United States. The name "Billy Idol" was inspired by a schoolteacher's description of him as "idle".Early life Idol was born William Michael Albert Broad on 30 November 1955 in Stanmore, Middlesex. His parents were devout Anglicans and attended church regularly. In 1958, whe...
William Michael Albert Broad, known professionally as Billy Idol, is an English singer who holds dual British and American citizenship. He first achieved fame in the 1970s emerging from the London punk rock scene as the lead singer of the group Generation X. Subsequently, he embarked on a solo career which led to international recognition and made Idol a lead artist during the MTV-driven "Second British Invasion" in the United States. The name "Billy Idol" was inspired by a schoolteacher's description of him as "idle".

Early life

Idol was born William Michael Albert Broad on 30 November 1955 in Stanmore, Middlesex. His parents were devout Anglicans and attended church regularly. In 1958, when he was two years old, he moved with his parents to Patchogue, New York. They also lived in Rockville Centre, New York. His younger sister, Jane, was born during this time. The family returned to England four years later and settled in Dorking, Surrey. In 1971, the family moved to Bromley in southeastern London, where Idol attended Ravensbourne School for Boys. His family later moved to the Worthing suburb of Goring-by-Sea in West Sussex, where he attended Worthing High School for Boys. In October 1975, he attended the University of Sussex to pursue an English degree and lived on-campus (East Slope), but left after year one in 1976. He then went on to join the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans, a loose gang that travelled into town when the band played.


1976–1981: Generation X

The name "Billy Idol" was coined due to a schoolteacher's description of Idol as "idle". In an interview on 21 November 1983, Idol said the name "Billy Idol" "was a bit of a goof, but part of the old English school of rock. It was a 'double thing' not just a poke at the superstar-like people ... It was fun, you know?" In another interview for BBC Breakfast in October 2014, he said that he wanted to use the name "Billy Idle", but thought the name would be unavailable due to its similarity to the name of Monty Python star Eric Idle and chose Billy Idol instead. Idol has claimed in interviews that the name was an inspired response to being described on his school report card as "idle" by his Chemistry teacher, a subject which he admits he hated and in which he underachieved.

In late 1976, he joined the newly formed West London 1960s retro-rock band Chelsea as a guitarist. The act's singer/frontman Gene October styled Idol's image, advising him to change his short sighted eye-glasses for contact lenses, and dye his hair blonde with a crew cut for a retro-1950s rocker look. After a few weeks performing with Chelsea, Idol and Tony James, the band's bass guitarist, quit the act and co-founded Generation X, with Idol switching from guitarist to the role of singer/frontman. Generation X was one of the first punk bands to appear on the BBC Television music programme Top of the Pops. Although a punk rock band, they were inspired by mid-1960s British pop, in sharp contrast to their more militant peers, with Idol stating; "We were saying the opposite to the Clash and the Pistols. They were singing 'No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones', but we were honest about what we liked. The truth was we were all building our music on the Beatles and the Stones". In 1977, Idol sang 'Your Generation' on the 'Marc (TV series)'. Generation X signed with Chrysalis Records, released three albums, performed in the 1980 film D.O.A., and then disbanded.[citation needed]

1981–1985: Solo career and breakthrough

Idol in 1983

"MTV has paved the way for a host of invaders from abroad: Def Leppard, Adam Ant, Madness, Eurythmics, the Fixx and Billy Idol, to name a few. In return, grateful Brits, even superstars like Pete Townshend and the Police, have mugged for MTV promo spots and made the phrase "I want my MTV" a household commonplace."

—Anglomania: The Second British Invasion, by Parke Puterbaugh for Rolling Stone, November 1983.

Idol moved to New York City in 1981 and became a solo artist, working with former Kiss manager Bill Aucoin. Idol's punk-like 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 US in 1982, Idol became an MTV staple with "White Wedding" and "Dancing with Myself". The music video for "White Wedding" was filmed by the British director David Mallet, and played frequently on MTV. The motorcyle smashing through the church window stunt was carried out by John Wilson, a London motorcycle courier. In 1983, Idol's label released "Dancing with Myself" in the US in conjunction with a music video directed by Tobe Hooper, which played on MTV for six months.[citation needed]

Rebel Yell (1983), Idol's second LP, was a major success and established Idol in the United States with hits such as "Rebel Yell," "Eyes Without a Face," and "Flesh for Fantasy". "Eyes Without a Face" peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100, and "Rebel Yell" reached number six in the UK Singles Chart.

1986–1992: Whiplash Smile and Charmed Life

Idol performing during the Cradle of Love Tour, 1990

Idol released Whiplash Smile in 1986, which sold well. The album included the hits "To Be a Lover", "Don't Need a Gun" and "Sweet Sixteen". Idol filmed a video for the song "Sweet Sixteen" in Florida's Coral Castle.[citation needed]

A remix album was released in 1987, titled Vital Idol. The album featured a live rendition of his cover of Tommy James' "Mony Mony". In 1987 the single topped the United States chart and reached number 7 in the UK.

Charmed Life was released in 1990, and a video for the single "Cradle of Love" had to be shot. The song had been featured in the Andrew Dice Clay film The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. Because Idol was unable to walk, he was shot from the waist up. The video featured video footage of him singing in large frames throughout an apartment while Betsy Lynn George was trying to seduce a businessman. The video was placed in rotation on MTV. "Cradle of Love" earned Idol a third Grammy nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

1993–2004: Cyberpunk, decline, and resurgence

Idol performing at the Milton Keynes Bowl in Buckinghamshire, 1993

In 1993, Idol released Cyberpunk. Regarded as experimental, it was recorded in a home studio using a Macintosh computer. Idol used Studiovision and Pro-Tools to record the album. The album took ten months to make. The album was successful in UK and Europe, but it did not perform well in the United States despite the commercial success of "Shock to the System". Idol toured in Europe and played a Generation X reunion show in 1993.

In 1996, Idol appeared in a live version of the Who's Quadrophenia. Idol made a cameo appearance as himself in the 1998 film The Wedding Singer with Adam Sandler, in which Idol played a pivotal role in the plot. The film featured "White Wedding" on its soundtrack.[citation needed]

In 2000, Idol was invited to be a guest vocalist on Tony Iommi's album. His contribution was on the song "Into the Night", which he co-wrote. That year, he voice acted the role of Odin, a mysterious alien character, in the animated fantasy film Heavy Metal 2000, also providing a song for the soundtrack.[citation needed]

VH1 aired Billy Idol – Behind the Music on 16 April 2001. Idol and Stevens took part in a VH1 Storytellers show three days later. The reunited duo set out to play a series of acoustic/storytellers shows before recording the VH1 special. Another Greatest Hits CD was issued in 2001, with Keith Forsey and Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" appearing on the compilation. The LP includes a live acoustic version of "Rebel Yell", taken from a performance at Los Angeles station KROQ's 1993 Acoustic Christmas concert. The Greatest Hits album sold 1 million copies in the United States alone, providing Idol with a big comeback.[citation needed]

In the 2002 NRL Grand Final in Sydney, Idol entered the playing field for the half-time entertainment on a hovercraft to the intro of "White Wedding", of which he managed to sing only two words before a power failure ended the performance.

2005–2009: Devil's Playground

Idol performing on stage at the Brixton Academy in London, 2005

Devil's Playground, which came out in March 2005, was Idol's first new studio album in nearly 12 years. The album reached No. 46 on the Billboard 200. The album included a cover of "Plastic Jesus." Idol played a handful of dates on the 2005 Vans Warped Tour and appeared at the Download Festival at Donington Park, the Voodoo Music Experience in New Orleans, and Rock am Ring.

In 2008, "Rebel Yell" appeared as a playable track on the video game Guitar Hero World Tour and "White Wedding" on Rock Band 2. The Rock Band 2 platform later gained "Mony Mony" and "Rebel Yell" as downloadable tracks. On 24 June 2008, Idol released the greatest hits album The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself. He embarked on a worldwide tour, co-headlining with Def Leppard.[citation needed]

In July 2009, Idol performed at the Congress Theater, Chicago for the United States television series Soundstage. This performance was recorded and then released on DVD/Blu-ray as In Super Overdrive Live, on 17 November 2009.

2010–present: Kings & Queens of the Underground

Idol performing at Bonnaroo, 2013

On 16 February 2010, Idol was announced as one of the acts to play the Download Festival in Donington Park, England. He stated "With all of these great heavyweight and cool bands playing Download this year, I'm going to have to come armed with my punk rock attitude, Steve Stevens, and all of my classic songs plus a couple of way out covers. Should be fun!" In March 2010, Idol added Camp Freddy guitarist Billy Morrison and drummer Jeremy Colson to his touring line-up.

Idol performing at the 2015 NHL Winter Classic

In 2013, Idol appeared on the third episode of the BBC Four series How the Brits Rocked America. Idol also lent his voice as Spikey Hair Bot to Disney XD's Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja episode "McSatchle"

Idol released his eighth studio album Kings & Queens of the Underground in October 2014. While recording the album between 2010 and 2014, he worked with producer Trevor Horn, Horn's former Buggles and Yes bandmate Geoff Downes and Greg Kurstin. Idol's autobiography, titled Dancing with Myself, was published on 7 October 2014 and became a New York Times best seller.

On 30 October 2018, former Generation X members Idol and Tony James joined with Steve Jones and Paul Cook, former members of another first wave English punk rock band, the Sex Pistols, to perform a free gig at the Roxy in Hollywood, Los Angeles, under the name Generation Sex, playing a combined set of the two former bands' material.

In late February 2020, Idol starred in a public service campaign titled "Billy Never Idles," intended to fight the unnecessary idling of automobile engines in New York City, to reduce air pollution. Idol teamed with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to open the campaign, which features Idol saying "If you're not driving, shut your damn engine off!" and other strong advice.

Idol was featured as a guest vocalist on the song "Night Crawling" from Miley Cyrus' album Plastic Hearts released in November 2020.

On 12 August 2021, Idol's music video "Bitter Taste", directed by Stephen Sebring, was uploaded to YouTube. Idol announced his new EP The Roadside would be released on 17 September.

Live band

Idol's live band[citation needed] consists of:

  • Billy Idol - lead vocals (since 1981)
  • Steve Stevens – lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (1981–1987, 1993, 1995, 1999–present)
  • Stephen McGrath – bass, backing vocals (2001–present)
  • Billy Morrison – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals (2010–present)
  • Erik Eldenius – drums (2012–present)
  • Paul Trudeau – keyboards, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2014–present)

Former members

  • Phil Feit – bass (1981–1983)
  • Steve Missal – drums (1981–1982)
  • Gregg Gerson – drums (1982–1983)
  • Judi Dozier – keyboards (1982–1985)
  • Steve Webster – bass (1983–1985)
  • Thommy Price – drums (1983–1987)
  • Kenny Aaronson – bass (1986–1987)
  • Susie Davis - keyboards, backing vocals (1986–1987)
  • Mark Younger-Smith – lead and rhythm guitar (1988–1993)
  • Phil Soussan – bass (1988–1990)
  • Larry Seymour – bass (1990–1996)
  • Tal Bergman – drums (1990–1993)
  • Bonnie Hayes - keyboards, backing vocals (1990–1991)
  • Jennifer Blakeman – keyboards (1993)
  • Julie Greaux – keyboards (1993)
  • Danny Sadownik – drums (1993)
  • Mark Schulman – drums (1993–2001)
  • Sasha Krivtsov – bass (2000)
  • Brian Tichy – drums (2001–2009)
  • Jeremy Colson – drums (2010–2012)
  • Derek Sherinian – keyboards (2002–2014)


Source : Wikipedia
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Billy Idol Videos

Billy Idol Discography

  • 1978AlbumGeneration X (2002 Remaster)
  • 1979AlbumValley of the Dolls (2002 Remaster)
  • 1981AlbumDon't Stop EP
  • 1981AlbumKiss Me Deadly (Bonus Tracks) [2005 Remaster]
  • 1982AlbumBilly Idol
  • 1983AlbumRebel Yell
  • 1986AlbumWhiplash Smile
  • 1990AlbumCharmed Life
  • 1993AlbumCyberpunk
  • 1999AlbumPerfect Hits (1975-1981)
  • 2001AlbumGreatest Hits
  • 2003AlbumAnthology (2003 Remaster)
  • 2005AlbumDevil's Playground
  • 2005SingleGood to Go
  • 2007AlbumVH1 Storytellers: Billy Idol
  • 2008AlbumIdolize Yourself: The Very Best of Billy Idol (Remastered)
  • 2009EPDeep Cuts: Billy Idol
  • 2009SingleHot In the City (Remastered)
  • 2009SingleMony Mony (Live)
  • 2009SingleWhite Wedding
  • 2010AlbumBBC in Concert (1 January 1981)
  • 2010AlbumBBC in Concert (11 May 1978)
  • 2014AlbumKings & Queens of the Underground (Bonus Track Version)
  • 2015AlbumPete Townshend's Classic Quadrophenia
  • 2016AlbumBFI Live!
  • 2021EPThe Roadside
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