We use to sing some really dirty things to the Billy Idol re-make of "Mony Mony" back in the day. And only Englishman Billy Idol could wear studded under pants, with a scowl on his face, and still look cool. Some of you may know that before becoming Billy Idol, Billy went by his given name: William Michael Albert Broad. He changed is named to "Idol" after a comment made by his high school teacher describes his behavior (idle).
Billy Idol started his career as a groupie for the Sex Pistols. Eventually he helped form the punk rock band "Generation X". Generation X went onto release 3 albums, but by 1981, Billy Idol had moved to New York City to start a solo career. After hooking up with guitarist Steve Stevens, Billy Idol released his first solo EP in 1981. The album featured the song "Dancin' with Myself" from the last Generation X album, and the remake of Tommy James and the Shondell's song "Mony Mony". His first full fledged solo release soon followed in 1982, an album that also included the song "White Wedding". Billy Idol quickly began the poster boy for MTV.
Billy Idol's follow up 1983 release, Rebel Yell, was an even greater success. Many of you will not only remember the title song from this album, but also the songs "Flesh for Fantasy" and "Eyes Without a Face". Whiplash Smile was released in 1986 and featured the hit songs "To Be a Lover," "Don't Need a Gun" and "Sweet Sixteen". Soon after this release, Steve Stevens left the band (some of you may remember that Stevens handled guitar for the Top Gun Anthem). In 1987, Billy Idol released Vital Idol, which featured a re-release of the song "Mony Mony", which quickly charted at number 1 in the USA. Also worth mentioning is the hit song "Cradle of Love", which was featured on Billy Idol's 1990 release, Charmed Life.
Here is an interesting fact about Billy Idol that most you will not know. In 1990, Billy had been tapped by James Cameron to play the poly-alloy metal robot (T-1000) in Terminator 2. However, due to a serious motorcycle accident that Billy was involved in, Cameron had to choose a different actor.
Billy Idol continued to be active post 1990 on different projects, and after a stint on VH1's Behind the Music, guitarist Steve Stevens was back. In fact, in 2005, Billy released his first new material in 12 years: Devil's Playground. Scroll down for some great 80's Billy Idol music videos, such as White Wedding and Dancing with Myself.
At the time of this writing, the Billy Idol Discography was as follows:
- 1981: Don't Stop (EP)
- 1982: Billy Idol
- 1983: Rebel Yell
- 1986: Whiplash Smile
- 1987: Vital Idol
- 1990: Charmed Life
- 1993: Cyberpunk
- 2005: Devil's Playground
- 2006: Happy Holiday's
- 2008: The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself