July 16, 1982. English rocker Billy Idol unleashes his self-titled debut album with a defiant sneer.
Idol had, in the previous year, parted ways with Gen X. Gen X was the offshoot of Generation X, the first band he fronted and the act that brought him into prominence (remember, they recorded the original version of “Dancing With Myself”).
Billy Idol catapulted the singer into almost immediate stardom. The album is a near-perfect rock n’ roll stew circa 1982, serving up chunks of punk, rock, and new wave sounds. Guitarist Steve Stevens riffs and Idol’s New Romantic-meets-bondange-punk approach put the release over the top: it peaked at 45 on the Billboard 200.
Idol’s look made for early MTV gold, too. I remember seeing the video for “White Wedding” and being terrified: who are all these creepy people dressed all in black? What are they doing in this church? Why isn’t Billy Idol wearing a shirt? I was 5 years old.
So spend a bit of time with Billy Idol’s debut as we celebrate the anniversary. Shirts are optional.