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Steve Peake

Though Heavy on Style & Image, Billy Idol Remains a Deserving '80s Fixture

By April 6, 2008

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f098071db3s.jpg Like many '80s music fans, I didn't always recognize the substance of Billy Idol's music at the time of its release, blinded a bit by the spiked blond hair, the studded leather jacket, and the omnipresent sneer. But the former frontman for first-generation punk rockers Generation X demonstrated a considerable savvy not just for marketing but also for songwriting and performance that continues to shine upon his abundant musical offerings of the first half of the decade. Well-worn tracks like "White Wedding" and "Eyes Without a Face" deserve a fresh contemporary listen from anyone interested in the special pop/rock hybrid native to the '80s. Idol's versatility in all facets of creation and performance successfully defied genre in ways most other contemporary stars could hardly dream of. Idol was a rare, important exception to the general rule that style and substance cannot coexist in pop music, and his work persists far better than many of the artists with whom he shared early-'80s MTV screen time. Album Cover Photo Courtesy of Chrysalis Records

Comments

April 26, 2008 at 6:36 pm
(1) Mohsin Maqbool Elahi says:

There was something about Billy Idol, including punching his fist into the air, which turned him into an ‘idol’ for many fans. Parents, on the other hand, could almost be scared to death of his antics.
My brother gave me several videos during the mid-80s in which pop, new-wave, rock, and soul artistes performed their biggest hits of 1983, 1984 and 1985 in German cities. Idol while performing “Rebel Yell” lets saliva foam out of his mouth which he then smears over his face. Nothing could be more sickening! I wonder what the parents of Idol’s American fans would have said had they been able to watch it.
Anyway, I loved his “Eyes without a Face” as there was something both soothing as well as mysterious about it.
Yes, his punk-rock hybrid could convert into dance pop with as much ease. I still have an audio cassette somewhere in my collection containing “White Wedding” as one of the tracks.

June 1, 2009 at 4:16 am
(2) Sting Idol says:

Billy Idol is one of the best lookin’ weirdo 80′s dudes ever! And “Eyes Without A Face” is an awesome song, in my oppinion…hey, speakin’ of weird stuff; have you seen that Ikea rap Billy’s done? He’s such a beast in that :)

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