Billy Idol (born William Michael Albert Broad, 30 November 1955 in Middlesex) is an English rock musician.
He first achieved fame in the punk rock era, then embarked on a successful solo career, aided by a series of stylish music videos, making him one of the first MTV stars. He has continued to make music, but has yet to recapture the levels of fame he enjoyed in the 1980s.
The name Billy Idol was inspired by a school teacher’s description of Broad as “idle.”
Billy Idol lived in Worthing, England before attending Sussex University for only one year before joining the Bromley Contingent of s** Pistols fans. Idol first joined the punk rock band Siouxsie & the Banshees (before the band had decided on a name) in 1976, but soon quit and joined Chelsea in 1977 as a guitarist. However, he and Chelsea bandmate Tony James soon quit that group and co-founded Generation X, with Idol switching from guitar to lead singer.
Generation X signed to Chrysalis Records and released three albums
before breaking up. Idol moved to New York and began working as a solo
artist and working with Steve Stevens, soon becoming an MTV staple with
“White Wedding” and “Dancing with Myself”, the latter of which had
originally been recorded with Generation X.
In 1983, in an effort to introduce Idol to American audiences not yet as familiar with him as those in England, “Dancing With Myself” was released in the U.S. in conjunction with a music-video (directed by Tobe Hooper, and produced by Jeffrey Abelson) that played in heavy rotation on MTV for six months. That video, in fact, sparked a whole new era of feature film directors trying their hand at music videos. Along with “White Wedding,” the “Dancing With Myself” video helped make Idol a household name in America.