William Michael Albert Broad (born 30 November 1955), known professionally as Billy Idol, is an English rock musician. A member of the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans, Idol first achieved fame in the punk rock era as a member of the band Generation X. Unlike other British punk rock artists, Idol claimed he was inspired by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He then embarked on a successful solo career, and was a member of the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” of the United States. A series of music videos for songs such as “Dancing With Myself”, “White Wedding”, “Rebel Yell” and “Eyes Without a Face” made him one of the first MTV stars. Idol continues to tour with guitarist Steve Stevens.
Photo Johnny Leo Johansen(c) Sweden Rock festival 2014
Idol was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, England. The name Billy Idol was inspired by a school teacher’s description of Broad as “idle”. In an interview on 21 November 1983 Idol also tells us that the name “was a bit of a goof, but also part of the old English school of rock. Billy Fury and all that. It was a ‘double thing’ not just a poke at the superstar-like people. It was the whole sort of – everyone was doing it too – it was fun, you know?”. He goes on to say the name “didn’t really ever backfire, only with the stupid people who took it seriously”.
Idol’s second LP, Rebel Yell (1983) was a major success and established Idol in the United States with hits such as “Eyes Without a Face,” “Flesh For Fantasy”, and the title cut. Tracks from the album featured in the 1988 Hollywood comedy film Big, which starred Tom Hanks. “Eyes Without a Face” peaked at number four on the United States Billboard Hot 100, and “Rebel Yell” reached number six in the UK Singles Chart. This album and its singles saw Idol become popular in other countries such as Germany, Italy, Switzerland and New Zealand.
Billy Idol’s current band consists of:
Steve Stevens – lead guitar (1981–1986, 2001–present)
Stephen McGrath – bass guitar, backing vocals (2001–present)
Billy Morrison – rhythm guitar, backing vocals (2010–present)
Erik Eldenius – drums, percussion (2012–present)
Paul Trudeau – keyboards (2014–present)