Favorites of the 80s - Best songs by Billy Idol
Dancing with Myself 1981
This song was originally released by Generation X, the band Billy Idol fronted before becoming a solo artist. He re-released it 1981. I think I became familiar with the song a couple of years later and through the 1980s really, it regularly received a lot of play on the radio and at high school dances. One of my favorite memories of this song is it being lip synched by a young look alike Billy at our junior high's air band competition. This song really helps you feel like letting loose and having a great time. The video features Billy wearing a pretty wild rope like vest with a bunch of strangely dressed people just letting off steam. The lyrics can be interpreted in many ways, but at the end of the day for me it's just a cool song about the joy of dancing and partying on your own terms.
Hot in the City 1982
This is one of my favorites by Billy Idol, and with a title like that it is a great tune to hear in the summer. It is pretty laid back and chill with a good beat to dance to, but eventually gets a bit bolder with the rock sound at the part where he ends up yelling "New York" in the coolest sounding way ever. This is one that still gets a a lot of radio play for good reason. Fun and forever cool.
White Wedding 1982/1983
This song was originally released on Billy's self titled album in 1982, but reissued in 1983. That is when I remember it being a huge radio hit that year. As a kid, I thought it just sounded so interesting and unlike any other songs I was listening to at the time. I loved singing along to it and wondered what he really meant by those lyrics. The guitar riff is great and the mood is a little dark in this song but it still made for a fantastic AM radio track to balance out the many soft pop hits of the time
Rebel Yell 1983
This is one of Billy's more wild and raw sounding songs (many were but this one really stands out) and is reminiscent of someone howling at the moon. Such a cool new wave synth intro and those unforgettable and intriguing lyrics "last night a little dancer, came dancing to my door" . Around this time, Billy Idol became one of the featured faces on the teen magazines with his good looks and spiky hair, starting to appeal to the young masses along with the other heartthrobs of the time. The great music he put out made for a great combination of image and talent.
Eyes without a Face 1983/84
This is such a wonderful (mostly) softer song by Billy Idol. the heartfelt and soulful expression in his blue eyes as he sings in the video is so moving. The lyrics 'i'm all out of hope, one more bad dream could bring a fall' are heartbreaking. Soon after though the tune breaks out into a rocking guitar riff and includes lyrics "steal a car and go to Las Vegas oh, the gigolo pool" just to keep things energized and not too melancholy. Unique and unforgettable song title and song.
Flesh for Fantasy 1983/84
I remember this song being released soon before the start of a junior high school year. My friends in the neighborhood and at school were excited that yet another Billy Idol track with a badass video were part of our music experience. This was the third release from the Rebel Yell album. It was a bit (ahem) mature for young people, but it was really not interpreted in a literal way by us youth of course, we just thought it was cool music and tough but sexy video images. "Do you like good music, do you like to dance" yeah those lyrics are innocent enough even though the song really isn't.
To Be A Lover 1986
After a couple years break from the big success of Rebel Yell, Billy Idol was back with the Whiplash Smile album in 1986.
To Be a Lover with it's more soulful (it was originally written in the late 60s) and blues like romantic sexy vibe (with a cool piano riff) was a change of pace from his earlier stuff. The video was wild and fun and even though I don't hear this track on rock radio as his other classics these days, it was a solid top 10 hit back then and one of my favorite songs by this awesome entertainer.
© 2019 Nella DiCarlo