It’s the last day of November, and you know what that means: a very Happy Billy Idol Birthday! Oh, and December is tomorrow.
William Michael Albert Broad was born on the 30th of November, 19 and 55, in Stanmore, Middlesex, England. I don’t know why I wrote his birth date all old-timey like that. He’s British; it made sense in my head. And now I’ve committed to it. He became Billy Idol during his school days when a chemistry teacher described him as “idle” on a report card. At least that’s what Wikipedia says.
Billy cut his musical teeth in 1976 as the guitarist for the West London band Chelsea. By 1977, Billy and two of his bandmates had quit Chelsea to from the British punk band Generation X. He stuck with the band throughout the U.K. punk explosion of the late ’70s, then moved to New York City in 1981 to become a solo artist. That’s when Billy Idol really became Billy Idol.
A Billy Idol Birthday Six-Pack
Idol’s timing couldn’t have been better. The launch of his solo career aligned with the launch of MTV, and there were few solo artists in the early ’80s that were more MTV-ready than Billy Idol. The spiky blonde hair. The punk-inspired attire. The most-of-the-time-not-wearing-an-actual-shirt. And that sneer. The sneer was legendary, and Billy knew how to work it.
Recently, I wrote about the 40th anniversary of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell album and how it kinda freaked me out when I was a kid. I’m going to use that as a jumping-off point to get into this six-pack of Billy Idol songs and video clips. It’s heavy on the ’80s MTV years, of course. Because that’s Billy’s wheelhouse. So Happy Birthday to you, William Michael Albert Broad. Long may you rock…the cradle of love. (Yes, that one made the list.)