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Billy Idol


A styled macho. Good looking, wild, but nevertheless smart. Appearing mostly in tight black leather.  A rebel.... That's Billy Idol.

The star of the late 70's and 80's is born on 30 November, 1955 in Stanmore/Middlesex-England. His civil name is Willem Michael Albert Broad. At the age of 3, he and his family emigrate to Long Island/New York-USA, where they are not kept for long though. Back in England, he soon attends university. Displeasuring his father, his references show the note 'idle'. This and his desire to change the world - to be an idol - let him finally come to his pseudonym 'Billy Idol'.

His tendency towards music makes him soon form the group 'The Bromley Project', together with Susan Dallion, known later on as 'Siouxsie And The Banshees'. However, that doesn't last long, and so he founds 'Chelsea', together with Tony James ('Sigue Sigue Sputnik'), involving Mick Jones ('The Clash'), John Towe and Brian James ('Damned'). Billy plays the guitar and Gene October is singer. But also this constellation lasts for just a short while. So him and Tony form 'Generation X', with which he can celebrate first successes. For the first time Billy sings and Bob 'Deerwood' Andrews takes over the guitar.

3 albums and 7 singles later the band breaks apart.

In 1981 he emigrates to Greenwich Village/New York, an artist district in the United States, with the intention to start a solo career. Soon he meets KISS manager Bill Aucoin, who makes him familiar with the producer Keith Forsey. Together with Steve Stevens playing the guitar, he just successes in North America initially. But he knows how to use the press and so he draws the attention of the world to him by insolent acts, excesses and self glorifying videos, marking the 'idol lip'. The 'rebel yell' succeeds and soon he becomes a superstar with hits like 'Rebel yell', 'Sweet sixteen', 'White wedding' and 'Flesh for fantasy'. With some delay, his records 'Billy Idol' (1982), 'Rebel Yell' (1983), 'Vital Idol' (1985) and 'Whiplash Smile' (1986) storm the european charts also.

After 'Whiplash Smile' it gets a little more quiet around Billy. He and his spouse Perri Lister become parents of William Wolf Broad. His career though seems to roll downhill. Stevens separates from Billy Idol and forms 'Steve Stevens Atomic Playboys'. Billy reappears on a benefit event 1989 beside Elton John, Phil Collins and Pattie LaBelle for the rock opera 'Tommy'. A cruel fate approaches him as he gets involved in an accident with his motor cycle in February 1990, almost killing him. Suffering two broken ribs and a smashed knee he is admitted to a clinic in Los Angeles and almost not able to play an assured part in Oliver Stone's film about 'The Doors'. However, Billy returns on stage - at first with a walking stick - presenting his new album 'Charmed Life' (1990). Together with Tom Jones he sings in the night club 'Spice' in Los Angeles. A world tour follows, starting in Montreal/Canada in August. For this tour he signed up the rising group 'Faith No More', who actually succeeds more than he does. In Norway a stone is thrown at Billy in November, injuring his left eye and therefore he has to cancel four concerts in Europe. The 35 year old doesn't seem to regain the success of once at all, and so it gets calmer again.

1991 a roomer about a reunion of Billy and Generation X is spread. That's not true though. Billy now draws attention with court proceedings for brawls and is punished with fines and suspended sentences. He beats up a female fan, for instance, after a night on the drink.

Then it becomes quiet again. 1993 he's found unconcious behind the steering wheel of his car. He had taken an overdose of psychopharmaceuticals and cocaine, but attempts to resuscitate him are successful. In the hospital he is filed as 'Alex Scott' in order to distract the press. In the same year he presents his album 'Cyberpunk' which, however, cannot resume old successes. In other words, it flops. A minor part in the movie 'The Wedding Singer' follows.

Then, in 2001, there's a new 'Best of'. Basically it includes nothing really new, except for some remixes and the song 'Don't you', which brought the Simple Minds into the charts years ago. Billy Idol rejected the song at that time.

Idol and and his long-time guitar player Steve Stevens took part in a ‘VH1 Storytellers’ show on April 19th, 2001. The reunited duo set out to play a series of acoustic/storytellers shows prior to recording the Vh1 special. The acoustic tour was a big success, and Idol eventually started adding new material into the show. The TV show was broadcast sometime later. A DVD and CD were issued.

On 22 March 2005 ‘Devil’s Playground’ was released.. It was Billy Idol's first new studio album in nearly twelve years. It was after a concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom that Sanctuary Records approached Idol about making new music in his older style. Idol claims that seeing people like Slash making hit records again gave him hope that there was life after death.

The album was recorded with the entire band playing in one room, rather than each person recording their part separately. Idol's drummer, Brian Tichy, collaborated with Idol and Steve Stevens and co-wrote some of the tracks on the album. The first single and video to be released was "Scream." Idol had been playing a batch of new songs in concert that never made the final release of the album. These songs include "Monster", "Stranger in My Skin", "Walk the Line", "In the Killbox", "Beautiful Life" and "Big World" (written for his daughter).

In November 2006, Idol released a Christmas album called “Billy Idol: Happy Holidays”. The album was intended to be sold through Idol's website, but a distribution deal was set up through Best Buy. A limited number of albums were autographed and sold through Billy's website.

On July 28th, 2006 Idol and Stevens played Chicago planning to record and release a live concert DVD. The show was shot in HD and was shown on the HD network. The DVD was scheduled to be released, but to this day remains shelved.

In a February 2008 interview, Steve Stevens revealed that Idol is to release a new Greatest Hits album called 'Idolize Yourself' in the coming months with two new tracks. The new tracks are called 'John Wayne' and 'New Future Weapon'. The new release will, for the first time, feature all of Idol's videos on DVD. This will be followed by a tour and a brand new album slated for release later in the year.

The mentioned album will be released on 24 June with an "deluxe-edition" plus DVD including the videos. The tour with some open-air-gigs will run through USA, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, England und Canada.