Born William Michael Albert Broad in Stanmore, Middlesex, England, 1955, 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, aided by a series of stylish music videos, making him one of the first MTV stars. His stage name was inspired by a schoolteacher's description of him as "idle."
After dropping out of Sussex University, Billy joined the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans. Idol first joined the punk rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees but quit and joined Chelsea in 1977 as a guitarist. He and Chelsea band mate Tony James quit the group and co-founded Generation X, with Idol switching from guitarist to lead singer.
Generation X signed to Chrysalis Records and released three albums and performed in the 1980 film, D.O.A., before disbanding. Idol moved to New York in 1981 and began working as a solo artist working with Steve Stevens, Phil Feit and Steve Missal, for Idol's debut solo album, Billy Idol, which was released in July 1982.
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Idol's solo career began with an EP titled Don't Stop, which included his solo rendition of "Dancing with Myself" and a cover of Tommy James & The Shondells' song "Mony Mony." Both songs became his first singles and remain part of his live performances.
In 1982 Idol instantly became an MTV staple with "White Wedding" and "Dancing with Myself." The latter had originally been recorded with Generation X and featured on their last record, Kiss Me Deadly.
In 1983, in an effort to build his fan base, he released "Dancing With Myself" in the US in conjunction with a music video that played in heavy rotation on MTV for six months. That video, along with "White Wedding," "Dancing With Myself" and "Eyes Without A Face" videos helped make Idol a household name in America.
Idol's second LP, Rebel Yell, released in 1983, was a major success and established Idol's status in the United States with hits like "Eyes Without a Face," "Flesh For Fantasy" and the title cut. Tracks from the album featured in the 1988 Hollywood comedy film Big, which starred Tom Hanks.
Idol released Whiplash Smile in 1986, which included the hits "To Be a Lover," "Don't Need a Gun" and the country-flavoured "Sweet Sixteen." Devil's Playground, which came out in March 2005, was Idol's first new studio album in nearly a decade. It reached #46 on the Billboard 200.
Billy, who still has a worldwide fan base, continues to tour with guitarist Steve Stevens.
For more about Billy, visit her Website at-