Category: billy idol

On this day in music history: July 9, 1982 – “Billy Idol”, the debut album by Billy Idol is released. Produced by Keith Forsey, it is recorded at Westlake Audio in Los Angeles, CA from Late 1981 – Mid 1982. Enjoying considerable success with the mini album “Don’t Stop”, Chrysalis Records gives Billy Idol the green light to record a full album. Working again with former Giorgio Moroder associate Keith Forsey, they record Idol’s debut solo album in Los Angeles. Idol records with a band of musicians that feature Forsey and Steve Missal on drums, Phil Feit on bass and Steve Stevens (guitars, keyboards, bass). Stevens becomes an essential part of Billy Idol’s creative team, not only as a first rate guitarist, but also as a songwriting collaborator. Idol himself writes or co-writes all ten songs on his first album, including the first single “Hot In The City” (#23 Pop), which gives him his first US top 40 hit. Though it is the follow up single that makes an indelible impression on the public. “White Wedding” (#36 Pop, #4 Mainstream Rock) is released as a single in October of 1982, and is supported by an instantly memorable music video. Directed by long time David Bowie collaborator David Mallet, the clip features a goth styled wedding ceremony with Idol’s then girlfriend Perri Lister playing the bride. One of its more controversial images includes leather clad female dancers, slapping their buttocks in time with the music. During the wedding ceremony scene, Idol slips a barbed wire wedding ring on to his girlfriend’s finger, cutting it and drawing real blood in the process. The wedding guests surrounding them, also appear to give them a quasi-Nazi salute. The gesture was made only as a statement of “the power of crowd imagery”, and not of any deliberate negative intent. The video along with Idol’s spiky bleach blonde hair, and a sneer reminiscent of his childhood hero Elvis Presley, the singer becomes a major presence on MTV. The single also becomes a new wave dance classic, with Chrysalis Records issuing an extended 12" single, with some copies pressed on virgin white vinyl. The success of Billy Idol’s debut album sets the stage for the even bigger stardom he achieves with his next album “Rebel Yell”, and throughout the rest of the 80’s and early 90’s. “Billy Idol” is also released with two different album covers, with the first featuring the singer in a red, white and black shirt against a black and white painted background. In 1983, the album is reissued with a second cover, featuring Idol dressed in black leather, which is used for all subsequent issues. Originally released on CD in 1984, the single edit of “Dancing With Myself” added as a bonus track as well as on the reissued cassette edition. Out of print on vinyl for nearly thirty years, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP (w/ cover #2) in 2017. “Billy Idol” peaks at number forty five on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: November 30, 1955 – 80’s rock icon Billy Idol (born William Michael Albert Broad in Stanmore, Middlesex, UK). Happy 63rd Birthday, Billy!!!

On this day in music history: November 10, 1983 – “Rebel Yell”, the second album by Billy Idol is released. Produced by Keith Forsey, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City from Late 1982 – Early 1983. Following the success of the EP “Don’t Stop” and his self-titled debut release, Billy Idol returns to the studio with producer Keith Forsey to work on his second full length release. The inspiration for album’s title comes to Idol while attending a party with The Rolling Stones. Drinking “Rebel Yell” Kentucky bourbon, the singer thinks the name would make a good song title. When the recording sessions begin, many of the tracks are laid down using a Linn LM-1 drum machine to play the basic rhythm on the songs. Thommy Price, the drummer for the band Scandal is recording in an adjoining studio and is invited by Idol and Stevens to add live drums to the album. Eventually Price leaves Scandal and join Idol’s band. The album is Idol’s most successful, with Idol (and or) guitarist Steve Stevens penning all of the songs. It spins off five hit singles including “Eyes Without A Face” (#4 Pop), “Flesh For Fantasy” (#29 Pop) and the title track (#46 Pop). The distinctive “ray gun” sound effects on Stevens’ guitar solo on the title track, are achieved by using a Lexicon PCM 41 digital delay processor plugged into the signal path on his guitar. Turning up the modulation on the device creates the machine gun like stutter effect, which is painstakingly punched in and edited while recording overdubs. Stevens simplifies the process later on, by using an actual plastic toy ray gun pointed at his guitar’s pickups.  Original vinyl copies of “Rebel Yell” are issued with the standard blue and white Chrysalis labels, and with custom black labels with blue and white text. Also the vinyl LP release lists the album sides as “3” and “4”, instead of “1” and “2”. The LP copies are pressed with custom black labels with blue print, or stock blue and white Chrysalis labels. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999 with five additional bonus tracks included. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2017. The album is issued as limited edition pressing on translucent blue vinyl, by the online site The Sound Of Vinyl in November of 2018, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of its original release. Another limited vinyl release, pressed on translucent red vinyl, is issued as an exclusive through retailer Urban Outfitters (limited to 1,000 copies) on November 2, 2018. “Rebel Yell” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 24, 1981 – “Don’t Stop”, the solo debut by Billy Idol is released. Produced by Keith Forsey, it is recorded at AIR Studios in London, Westlake Audio in Hollywood, CA and Musicland East Studios in Los Angeles, CA from September 1980 and July 1981. The four song EP is the first release from Idol following his departure from the UK punk band Generation X. It features his cover of the Tommy James & The Shondells classic “Mony, Mony” (a re-recorded live version hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1987), and a remixed, edited version of Gen X’s “Dancing With Myself” in which the music video (directed by Tobe Hooper) becomes an MTV airplay fave. The EP is issued on CD in 1989 and features Idol being interviewed by MTV VJ Martha Quinn. The disc goes out of print after just a few years, and to date, has not been reissued.  "Don’t Stop" peaks at number seventy one on the Billboard Top 200.

Born on this day: November 30, 1955 – 80’s rock icon Billy Idol (born William Michael Albert Broad in Stanmore, Middlesex, UK). Happy 62nd Birthday, Billy!!!

On this day in music history: November 10, 1983 – “Rebel Yell”, the second album by Billy Idol is released. Produced by Keith Forsey, it is recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City from Late 1982 – Early 1983. Following the success of the EP “Don’t Stop” and his self-titled debut release, Billy Idol returns to the studio with producer Keith Forsey to work on his second full length release. When the recording sessions begin, many of the tracks are laid down using a Linn LM-1 drum machine to play the basic rhythm on the songs. Thommy Price, the drummer for the band Scandal is recording in an adjoining studio and is invited by Idol and Stevens to add live drums to the album. Eventually Price leaves Scandal and join Idol’s band. The album is Idol’s most successful, with Idol (and or) guitarist Steve Stevens penning all of the songs. It spins off five hit singles including “Eyes Without A Face” (#4 Pop), “Flesh For Fantasy” (#29 Pop) and the title track (#46 Pop). The distinctive “ray gun” sound effects on Stevens’ guitar solo on the title track are achieved by using a Lexicon PCM 41 digital delay processor plugged into the signal path on his guitar. Then turning up the modulation on the device to create the machine gun like stutter effect, which is painstakingly punched in and edited while recording overdubs. Stevens simplifies the process later on by using an actual plastic toy ray gun pointed at his guitar’s pickups.  Original vinyl copies of “Rebel Yell” are issued with the standard blue and white Chrysalis labels, and with custom black labels with blue and white text. Also the vinyl LP release lists the album sides as “3” and “4”, instead of “1” and “2”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999 with five additional bonus tracks included.  Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2017. “Rebel Yell” peaks at number six on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: October 24, 1981 – “Don’t Stop”, the solo debut by Billy Idol is released. Produced by Keith Forsey, it is recorded at AIR Studios in London, Westlake Audio in Hollywood, CA and Musicland East Studios in Los Angeles, CA from September 1980 and July 1981. The four song EP is the first release from Idol following his departure from the UK punk band Generation X. It features his cover of the Tommy James & The Shondells classic “Mony, Mony” (a re-recorded live version hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1987), and a remixed, edited version of Gen X’s “Dancing With Myself” in which the music video (directed by Tobe Hooper) becomes an MTV airplay fave. The EP is issued on CD in 1989 and features Idol being interviewed by MTV VJ Martha Quinn. The disc goes out of print after just a few years, and to date, has not been reissued.  “Don’t Stop” peaks at number seventy one on the Billboard Top 200.