Dancing With Myself

I have always had a soft spot for Billy Idol, that dates back to when he was in the band Generation X. It was when l was a young-ling, barely into my teens that both Generation X and moi collided, thanks to Glasgow's Radio Clyde Punk/New Wave show, and thats where l heard the song Ready Steady Go, it stayed with me for ages it was so catchy, then l saw them on Top of The Pops playing King Rocker ,and then l was hooked in, they all looked great. l started to backpedal and got their first Album, and l use to love playing that album to death and beyond, l even got sacked from the Boy's Brigade Football team because l skipped a game in order to watch Generation X on a local TV show, to be fair, l really sucked at football. So now l'm in the present day, and l'm reading Billy's biography called Dancing With Myself, and l'm reminded of those great times discovering Billys music whether it be Generation X, Gen X or Billys solo work, all great l might add. He comes across as a really nice chap in his book, and a very passionate person, and it still remains in his heart the beating of a punk rocker. He was it has to be said, one of the first on the scene as a member of the Bromley punk contingent, who used to follow the Sex Pistols and were put on newspapers when the punk scene was emerging in the latter half of the seventies. A key point in Bill's life was punk rock, it gave him his identity and his namesake Idol. What l did not know was that Billy started his early life in the east coast of America, which must have had an effect, as it would not be that long till he returned to the States and conquered it with his solo material, but before that he would form Generation X with, Tony James on bass and his songwriting partner, and along with Derwood Andrews on Guitar ,and Mark Laff on drums, conquered the UK, well they kinda did, at least they conquered Top Of The Pops quite a lot. Generation X should have lasted longer than two albums, Billy thinks maybe they could of lasted longer if they allowed Derwood in on the songwriting, who knows? They left us with 2 brilliant albums which still sound great. They then shortened their name to Gen X, got some cool session punkers like Steve Jones, Steve New, and John McGeoch, and added Terry Chimes, and came up with the album Kiss Me Deadly and brought out the memorable Dancing With Myself single, which was to eventually pave the way for his solo career, but then due to lack of success the band split up for good and Billy moved to the USA. His career there really took off, he had a good management, and with Keith Forsey at the production controls, and a new songwriting partner with Steve Stevens they were untouchable ,well for the most part anyway, until the excess's of stardom kicked in, and the drugs and sex got really out of hand. Idol then turned into Bilvis his out of character, alter ego. He continued to have loads of hits, and for a time was a functioning drug addict. Hits such as White Wedding, Rebell yell, Sweet sixteen, and much more helped keep him on the go, until he had a really bad motorbike crash at the end of the eighties. ln the nineties, he continued to get big with the album Charmed Life, it was also around this time l got to meet Billy Idol and he was great, he was still recovering from his accident, but was in fine form. The book goes through his least successful period with Cyberpunk which l kinda thought was pretty cool, and ends with Kings and Queens of the Underground which is his latest offering. Like l always say at the end of book reviews, Billy still continues to tour and played the Hammersmith Apollo quite recently. Chris McDougall


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