Billy Idol is the latest ‘80s musical icon to get the vinyl re-release treatment and on reexamination it’s clear that Idol deserved every accolade he earned during that musically schizophrenic decade.
With his first solo effort, the 1982 eponymous album, Idol went on to sell half-a-million copies on the strength of massive singles like “White Wedding” and “Hot in the City” (constant rotation on the just-created MTV certainly helped a bit, as well). A re-release of the record also included an updated version of “Dancing With Myself” (a re-recording of the 1979 song from Idol’s old band Generation X). Idol’s debut solo album still pulls in some of the punk influences from his time with highly underrated Generation X, but adds a little more pop and elements of New Wave.
He quickly followed up his debut one year later with “Rebel Yell,” and saw the record go on to sell two million albums in the U.S. alone, thanks to songs like the title track, the more maudlin “Eyes Without a Face” and “Flesh for Fantasy.” On reflection, there is hardly any fat on either of these first two albums, easily the two best in his cannon, despite a decent output of records through the early ‘90s. He’s recorded sporadically since, putting out LPs out in 2005 and 2014. Regardless of boasting some great songs on just about ever album he’s put out, only 1990’s “Charmed Life” comes close to being as consistently solid as these first two albums.
UMe also just re-released the 2008 “The Very Best of Billy Idol” on vinyl for the first time and spread across two records. With Generation X, Idol and his band helped take punk rock beyond the diehards, thanks to there infusion of pop and wickedly catchy hooks to the genre. With his solo outing, Idol turned down the distortion, borrowed a bit from New Wave upstarts and sharpened those hooks to emerge as both a pop culture fixture of the decade and an influential musician.
Billy Idol – Self-Titled; Rebel Yell; The Very Best Of /UMe/2017 / https://twitter.com/BillyIdol