Billy Idol is an English musician, singer, sonwriter and actor! Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about him!
1.His real name is William Michael Albert Broad.
2. He was born 30 November 1955
3. He first achieved fame in the 1970s as a member of the punk rock band Generation X. Subsequently, he embarked on a solo career which led to international recognition and made Idol one of the lead artists during the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” in the United States.
4. Billy Idol was born in Stanmore, Middlesex. The name “Billy Idol” was inspired by a school teacher’s description of him as “idle”.
5. In an interview on 21 November 1983, Idol said 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 fun, you know?” In another interview for BBC Breakfast in October 2014, he said that he wanted to be “Billy Idle” but thought he could not because of Monty Python star Eric Idle, and so chose Idol instead.
6. In 1958, when Idol was two years old, his parents moved to Patchogue, New York.
7. The family returned to England four years later with Idol and his younger sister, Jane (who had been born in the U.S.), settling in Dorking, Surrey. In 1971, the family moved to Bromley, London, where Idol attended Ravensbourne School for Boys.
8. Billy Idol also attended Worthing High School for Boys in Worthing, 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 in 1976.
9. He then went on to join the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans, a loose gang that travelled into town when the band played.
10. Billy Idol first joined Chelsea in 1976 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 was one of the first punk bands to appear on the BBC Television music programme Top of the Pops.
11. Billy Idol moved to New York City in 1981 and became a solo artist, working with former Kiss manager Bill Aucoin. Idol’s punk-ish image worked well with the glam rock style of his new partner on guitar, Steve Stevens
12, Together they worked with bassist Phil Feit and drummer Gregg Gerson. 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.
13. Part of the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” of the United States, in 1982 Idol became an MTV staple with “White Wedding” and “Dancing with Myself”.
14. 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 United States in conjunction with a music video directed by Tobe Hooper, which played on MTV for six months.
15. Idol’s second LP, Rebel Yell (1983) was a major success[and established Idol in the United States with hits such as “Rebel Yell,” “Eyes Without a Face,” and “Flesh For Fantasy”. “Eyes Without a Face” peaked at number four on the United States Billboard Hot 100, and “Rebel Yell” reached number six in the UK Singles Chart.
16. This album and its singles saw Idol become popular in other countries such as Germany, Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand.
17. On 16 February 2010, Idol was announced as one of the acts to play the Download Festival in Donington Park, England. He stated, “With all of these great heavyweight and cool bands playing Download this year, I’m going to have to come armed with my punk rock attitude, Steve Stevens, and all of my classic songs plus a couple of way out covers. Should be fun!”
18. In 2012, Idol appeared on the third episode of the BBC Four series, How the Brits Rocked America.
19. Idol released his 8th studio album Kings & Queens of the Underground in October 2014. Whilst recording the album between 2010 and 2014, he worked with producer Trevor Horn, Horn’s former Buggles and Yes bandmate Geoff Downes and Greg Kurstin, who has previously produced records for Beyoncé, Pink, Sia, Tegan and Sara, and Lily Allen.
20. Billy Idol’s autobiography, entitled Dancing With Myself, was published on 7 October 2014.
21. In 1993, Idol released Cyberpunk.
22. Regarded as experimental, it was recorded in a home studio using a Macintosh computer, which was a new concept at the time. Idol used Studiovision and Pro-Tools to record the album. The album took ten months to make. Idol recorded the album with guitarist Mark Younger-Smith and producer Robin Hanflop.
23. Special editions of the album were issued with a floppy disk which contained a screensaver. It was one of the first albums which listed the e-mail address of the artist (firstname.lastname@example.org, now inactive) in its booklet.
24. He played a Generation X reunion show in 1993.
25. Idol shot a concept video for “Shock to the System”. The video featured Idol being attacked by several police officers after trying to videotape them beating up someone on the street. It resembled the Rodney King beating that prompted the LA riots. Idol then turned into a cyborg that scared away the police.
26. In 1994, Idol collapsed outside a Los Angeles nightclub due to an overdose on a drug called GHB. GHB was a legal drug at the time, and mainly used by weight-lifters.
27. After the incident, Idol decided that his children would never forgive him for dying of a drug overdose, and he began to focus more on fatherhood. He has never admitted that he is totally off drugs, just that he has his habit under control. He claims to have first smoked marijuana at the age of 12, and also says he took acid at the age of thirteen.
28. Cyberpunk pays tribute to Lou Reed with Idol’s cover of “Heroin”.
29. Billy Idol did not want to release an album during this period because he was having a lot of problems with his record label. It was decided that he would wind up owing the record company money if he produced anything. EMI hired producer Glenn Ballard to work with him on a new project, but Idol battled the label over creative differences and the album was put on hold.
30. In 1994, Idol and Steve Stevens contributed a song called “Speed” to the soundtrack of the hit movie Speed, starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock.
31. Billy Idol made a cameo appearance as himself in the 1998 film The Wedding Singer with Adam Sandler, in which Idol played a pivotal role in the plot.
32. The film also featured “White Wedding” on its soundtrack.
33. Idol also had a small part in the film The Doors, directed by Oliver Stone. Idol played Jim Morrison’s drinking pal, Cat. He was also considered for the role of the villain, Jacob Kell, in Highlander: Endgame, although ultimately Bruce Payne was cast.
34. In 2000, Idol was invited to be a guest vocalist on Tony Iommi’s album. His contribution was on the song “Into The Night”, which he also co-wrote. That year he voice acted the role of Odin, a mysterious alien character, in the animated fantasy film Heavy Metal 2000.
35. VH1 aired Billy Idol – Behind the Music on 16 April 2001. Idol and Stevens took part in a VH1 Storytellers show three days later. The reunited duo set out to play a series of acoustic/storytellers shows before recording the VH1 special. Another Greatest Hits CD was issued in 2001, with Keith Forsey and Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” appearing on the compilation.
36. The LP also includes a live acoustic version of “Rebel Yell”, taken from a performance at Los Angeles station KROQ’s 1993 Acoustic Christmas concert.
37. The Greatest Hits album sold one million of copies in the States alone, as well as being a success around the world, providing Idol with a big comeback.
38. In the 2002 NRL Grand Final in Sydney, Idol entered the playing field for the half-time entertainment on a hovercraft to the intro of “White Wedding”, where he managed to sing only two words before a power failure ended the performance