Billy Idol

Billy Idol

Chrysalis, 1982

REVIEW BY: Mark Millan


A native of Middlesex in England, Billy Idol spent his late teens and early twenties band hopping and trying to the right fit for himself among the rising of British punk bands of the mid-‘70s. Idol eventually co-founded a punk rock outfit called Generation X, with whom he cut his teeth honing his songwriting skills and enjoying a somewhat moderate amount of local success.

By 1981, however, Generation X disbanded and Idol set his sights on solo stardom and began planning his debut album. The Chrysalis label (who had signed Generation X) were happy to oblige and Idol soon got to work. By early ’82, he had his first album in the can. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Billy Idol was produced by Keith Forsey and has aged surprisingly well in the thirty-two years since its release. 

Opener “Come On, Come On” is a pretty standard early ‘80s pop-rocker that Idol co-wrote with guitarist Steve Stevens; that pair would go on to create to some fantastic tunes. The album’s second cut and by far its most memorable moment is the now classic “White Wedding (Part 1),” which many thought had some deep personal meaning for Idol, but those rumors were later silenced by the singer. The track itself is incredibly infectious and sports a killer Stevens’ riff and a very danceable backbeat. 

“Hot In The City,” an ode to New York, remains a fantastic pop song and sports one of Idol’s more inspired vocal performances. The other standout on the record is a great retro-styled throwback to the 60s, “Dancing With Myself,” which was a reworking of a song that Idol originally released with Generation X. The handclaps and background vocals throughout are lots of fun and Stevens again leaves his mark with some fine riffing. 

Strong album cuts like “Dead On Arrival,” “Love Calling” (an intriguing moment and the album’s creative highpoint) and “Hole In The Wall” all help to make the point that Idol was an artist capable of diversity. Not only was he a rather crafty songwriter but also a very decent rock singer. 

The eventual success of Billy Idol would be bolstered by the runaway success enjoyed by its predecessor, and this is where one of the great rides of the ‘80s started.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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