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.