William Michael Albert Broad popularly known as Billy Idol is a famous English musician, singer, songwriter, and actor. He is best known as the former lead singer of the 1970s famous English punk rock band “Generation X“. He is also famous for his hit albums like “Billy Idol”, “Rebel Yell”, “Whiplash Smile”, and “Charmed Life”. His albums ‘Devil’s Playground’ and “Kings & Queens of the Underground” reached number 46 and 34 on the Billboard 200 respectively.
Aside from music, Idol made a cameo appearance as himself in the romantic comedy film ‘The Wedding Singer’ in 1998. He has also appeared in the American biographical film “The Doors” which is about an American rock band of the same name and emphasizes the life of its lead singer, Jim Morrison. In the film, Idol played Jim Morrison’s drinking pal, Cat.
His autobiography titled “Dancing with Myself” was published on October 7, 2014, and became a New York Times bestseller.
He is quite active on social media platforms with around 565k followers on Instagram @billyidol and around 262k followers on Twitter @Billyidol. He also wons a self-titled YouTube channel “Billy Idol” which has around 431k subscribers.
What is Billy Idol famous for?
- Famous as the lead singer of the 1970s famous English punk rock band “Generation X”.
- His hit albums like “Billy Idol”, “Rebel Yell”, “Whiplash Smile”, and “Charmed Life”.
Where was Billy Idol born?
Billy Idol was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, England, the United Kingdom on November 30, 1955. His birth name is William Michael Albert Broad. He was born to his father, Bill Broad, and mother, Joan Broad. He has a younger sister named Jane Broad. Billy moved to New York with his parents when he was two years old but his family returned to England after four years and settled in Dorking, Surrey. His family moved to Bromley in southeastern London in 1971. Albert Broad and Naomi Heslop were his grandparents.
He holds an English nationality and belongs to the White ethnicity. His zodiac sign is Sagittarius. He is of English and Irish descent. He believes in Anarchist.
Regarding his education, he attended Ravensbourne School for Boys in Bromley, Southeastern London. Later, he also attended Worthing High School for Boys in West Sussex. He then enrolled at the University of Sussex to pursue an English degree in September 1975 but he left after a year in 1976.
Billy Idol Career Highlights
- Billy Idol was interested in music and also used to play guitar from his early age. Also, he was a fan of punk rock band Sex Pistol.
- Billy began his musical career as a guitarist of the newly formed West London 1960s retro band ‘Chelsea’ in late 1976.
- After few weeks of performing with Chelsea, Billy co-founded the band “Generation X” along with Tony James, John Towe, and Bob Andrews. In the band, Idol became the lead singer/frontman, Tony James played the bass, John Towe played the drums and Bob Andrew played guitar.
- The band released its first self-titled studio album “Generation X” in 1978 which was followed by the release of their second studio album “Valley of the Dolls” in 1979 but the band broke up in 1980.
- Thereafter, Idol moved to New York to pursue a solo career in 1981 where he found a new partner Steve Stevens who played the guitar.
- In 1981, Idol released his first EP ‘Don’t Stop’ which included the Generation X song ‘Dancing with Myself’, and a cover of Tommy James & the Shondell’s song ‘Mony Mony’.
- In the following year, Idol released his self-titled debut studio album, Billy Idol, by Chrysalis Records. Upon its release, the album received generally positive views from music critics and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
- His second studio album “Rebel Yell” was released on November 10, 1983, which was a huge success. The album’s single ‘Eyes Without a Face’ peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and ‘Rebel Yell’ reached number six in the UK Singles Chart.
- On October 20, 1986, Idol released his third studio album “Whiplash Smile” which includes the hits ‘To Be a Lover’, ‘Don’t Need a Gun’ and ‘Sweet Sixteen’.
- He released a remix album titled ‘Vital Idol’ in 1987 which featured a live rendition of his cover of Tommy James ‘Mony Mony’.
- In 1991, he appeared in the American biographical film “The Doors” which is about an American rock band of the same name and emphasizes the life of its lead singer, Jim Morrison. In the film, Idol played Jim Morrison’s drinking pal, Cat.
- Idol released his fourth studio album “Charmed Life” on 1st May 1990 by Chrysalis Records. The album’s lead single ‘Cradle of Love’ appeared on the soundtrack of the action comedy film, ‘The Adventures of Tord Fairlane’ and won the 1990 MTV Video Music Award for Best video from a film. Charmed life was certified Platinum by the RIAA and Silver by BPI in 1990.
- On June 29, 1993, Idol released his fifth studio album Cyberpunk by Chrysalis Records. The album was successful in UK and Europe but didn’t perform well in the USA.
- In 1994, Billy Idol along with Steve Stevens released a song titled ‘Speed’ to the soundtrack of the eponymous film.
- In 1995, Idol performed Christmas in the USA along with Steve Stevens, Duff McKagan, and Matt Sorum on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.
- Idol appeared in a live version of The Who’s album ‘Quadrophenia’ in 1996.
- In 1998, Idol made a cameo appearance as himself in the romantic comedy film ‘The Wedding Singer’ in which he played a pivotal role in the plot.
- He was invited to be a guest vocalist on Tony Iommi’s debut album ‘Iommi’ in 2000. The same year, he voiced the character of Odin in the animated fantasy film, ‘Heavy Metal’ 2000 and also providing a song for the soundtrack.
- On April 16, 2001, Idol appeared on VH1’s documentary TV series ‘Behind the Music’.
- In the 2002 NRL Grand Final in Sydney, Idol entered the playing field for the half-time entertainment on a hovercraft to the intro of White Wedding, of which he managed to sing only two words before a power failure ended the performance.
- His sixth studio album ‘Devil’s Playground’ released on March 22, 2005. For the album, he reunited with guitarist Steve Stevens and producer Keith Forsey. The album reached number 46 on the Billboard 200.
- In 2006, Idol appeared headlining the Sunday night of ‘GuiFest’. The same year, he appeared in the reality show, ‘Viva La Bam’ where he helped Bam Margera succeed in creating a sunroof for his Lamborghini Gallardo and performed live for April Margera for his birthday.
- In November 2006, he released a Christmas album titled ‘Happy Holidays’. It includes renditions of many traditional songs and two original songs ‘Happy Holiday’ and ‘Christmas Love’.
- He performed at the Congress Theater, Chicago for the United States live concert television series ‘Soundstage’ in July 2009.
- On February 16, 2010, Idol was announced as one of the acts to play at the Download Festival in Donington Park, England.
- He appeared on the third episode of the BBC Four series ‘How the Brits Rocked America’ in 2012.
- Idol released his eighth studio album, “Kings & Queens of the Underground” on October 17, 2014. The album debuted at number 34 on Billboard 200 albums chart and also peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Top Rock albums chart for the week of November 8, 2014.
- His autobiography titled “Dancing with Myself” was published on October 7, 2014, and became a New York Times bestseller.
- On October 30, 2018, former Generation X members Billy Idol and Tony James joined with former members of Sex Pistols, Steve Jones and Paul Cook to perform a free gig at the Roxy in Hollywood, Los Angeles under the name “Generation Sex”, playing a combined set of the two former band’s material.
- In February 2020, Idol starred in a public service campaign titled “Billy Never Idles”, intended to fight the unnecessary idling of automobile engines in New York City, to reduce air pollution. He teamed with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to open the campaign, which features Idol saying, “If you’re not driving, shut your damn engine off!” and other strong advice.
- He was featured as a guest vocalist on the song “Night Crawling” from Miley Cyrus’ album “Plastic Hearts” which released on November 27, 2020.
- On February 7, 2021, Idol performed ‘Night Crawling’ and ‘White Wedding’ along with Miley Cyrus and Joan Jett at the Super Bowl LV pregame during the concert for health care workers outside Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium.
Billy Idol Awards and Nominations
- Billy Idol won the MTV Video Music Awards for Best Video from a film for the Video Cradle of Love in 1990. He also won the BRIT Award for the Best British Video for the same video in 1991.
- He achieved three Grammy nominations as Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for Rebel Yell, To Be a Lover, and Cradle of Love in 1985, 1987, and 1991 respectively.
Billy Idol Girlfriend
Billy Idol had numerous love affairs but never been married. He was in a long-term relationship with an English singer, dancer, and former Hot Gossip member Perri Lister in the 1980s. They have a son Willem Wolf Broad who was born on June 15, 1988, but their relationship ended in 1989.
He has also dated actress Linda Mathis who was thirteen years younger than Billy. They began dating in 1988 and also have a daughter together named Bonnie blue Broad who born on August 21, 1989. The couple separated in 1990.
He was also romantically linked with several women including Joan Jett, Julia Roberts, Melissa Gilbert, Lindsay Cross, and China Chow.
Billy Idol Height and weight
Billy Idol is a handsome man in his mid-60s. He has an athletic body build. He stands at a tall height of 1.75m (5 feet and 9 inches) and his body weighs around 70kg (154 lbs.). His hair color is blonde and his eye color is blue. His sexual orientation is straight. However, there is no detailed information regarding his body measurements, shoe size, and dress sizes.
Billy Idol Net Worth
Having a successful career as a musician from decads, Billy Idol has garnered a huge amount of money. His major source of income is from his blockbuster hits albums. As of 2021, his net worth is estimated to be $55 million.