Billy Idol biography
William Michael Albert Broad (born 30 November 1955), known professionally as Billy Idol, is an English rock musician. A member of the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans, Idol first achieved fame in the punk rock era as a member of the band Generation X. He then embarked on a successful solo career, and was a member of the MTV-driven "Second British Invasion" of the United States. A series of music videos for songs such as "White Wedding", "Rebel Yell" and "Eyes Without a Face" made him one of the first MTV stars. Idol continues to tour with guitarist Steve Stevens.
Life and career
Early life and Generation XIdol was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, England. The name Billy Idol was inspired by a schoolteacher's description of Broad as "idle". In an interview on November 21, 1983 Idol also tells us that 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 the whole sort of - everyone was doing it too - it was fun, you know?" He goes on to say the name "didn't really ever backfire, only with the stupid people who took it seriously"
In 1958, when Idol was two years old, his parents moved to Patchogue, on Long Island, New York, US. The family returned to the UK four years later with Idol and a younger child Jane (who had been born in the US), settling in Dorking, Surrey. In 1971 the family moved to Bromley, southeastern London, where Idol attended Ravensbourne School for Boys. Idol (rather William Broad) also attended Worthing High School for Boys in West Sussex. In October 1975, Idol went to Sussex University, to pursue an English degree and lived on campus (East Slope) but left after year one (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.
Idol first joined the punk rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees (before the band had decided on that name) in 1976, but soon quit and 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 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". Generation X signed to Chrysalis Records and released three albums and performed in the 1980 film, D.O.A., before disbanding.
Early solo successIdol moved to New York in 1981, and became a solo artist working with ex-Kiss manager, Bill Aucoin. Idol's 'bad boy' image was recognized and this worked well with the flashy glam rock style of his new partner on guitar, Steve Stevens. Together they worked with Phil Feit and Steve Missal. 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, 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 US in conjunction with a music video directed by Tobe Hooper, which played on MTV for six months.
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