The Wild Times of Billy Idol

Before there was pop-punk, there was Billy Idol. More than any other artist of his era, the man born William Broad brought the style and attitude of punk rock into the American mainstream, via massive hits including “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell.”

For this, he was both celebrated and vilified. Fans adored Idol’s bad-boy image and his music’s cagey mix of aggressive guitars, dance beats and pop hooks. But to his detractors, he was a fraud — the “Perry Como of punk,” in Johnny Rotten’s famously dismissive phrase.

Throughout his career, Idol has seldom addressed such criticisms directly. But in his latest album, Kings and Queens of the Underground, and a new [2014] memoir, Dancing With Myself, both released last October, the veteran singer clearly is shoring up his legacy. Both the book and the album’s title track explore at length his role in the birth of British punk, as lead singer of the band Generation X and part of the crew that launched the Roxy, London’s first punk-rock club, in 1976.

Andy Hermann writing in LA Weekly about the musical highs and personal lows of the singer with the snarling lip and studded leather wrist-guards, Billy Idol. Hermann’s piece ran in February, 2015.

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