|Idol lived in
Worthing before attending
Sussex University for only a year before joining the
Bromley Contingent of keen
Sex Pistols fans. During this period, Idol decided to become a
musician and formed a
rock band called
Generation X in 1976.
Generation X signed to Chrysalis Records and released three somewhat successful albums before breaking up. Idol moved to New York City and began working as a solo artist and working with Steve Stevens, soon becoming MTV staples with "White Wedding" and "Dancing with Myself," the latter of which had originally been recorded with Generation X. Idol's second LP, Rebel Yell (1984) was a blockbuster success, and established Idol's superstar status in the United States with singles like "Eyes Without A Face," "Flesh For Fantasy," and the title cut.
Idol did not release a new album until 1986; Whiplash Smile sold very well and proved to be a smash, including the hits "To Be A Lover," "Don't Need A Gun," and the Country-flavored "Sweet Sixteen." Stevens soon left for a solo career and Idol continued. A live cover of Tommy James' "Mony Mony" (the studio version of which was an Idol staple from early on) did well on MTV, and Idol played Cousin Kevin in a performance of Tommy.
Just before the release of Charmed Life in 1990, Idol was in a motorcycle accident in which he almost lost his leg. The album sold extremely well (led by "Cradle Of Love," from The Adventures of Ford Fairlane film), but Idol decided to take a break and acted in The Doors, directed by Oliver Stone. The follow-up to Charmed Life was 1993's Cyberpunk, which was a flop in the States, and Idol sank into drug addiction, nearly dying of an overdose in 1994.
Idol returned to the popular eye in 1998, when he played himself in The Wedding Singer, an Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore romantic comedy, where "White Wedding" was used as the title track. Idol appeared on VH1 Storytellers and issued a successful Greatest Hits CD in 2001.
Devil's Playground (album), which came out 22 March 2005, is his first new studio album in nearly 12 years.
Idol played a handful of dates on the 2005 Vans Warped Tour.
Billy Idol & Steve Stevens