Billy Idol Biography

Billy Idol is a rock musician known for his work with the band Generation X and also acclaimed for his successful solo career. This biography of Billy Idol provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: William Michael Albert Broad

Nationality: British

Birth Date: November 30, 1955

Age: 62 Years

Sun Sign: Sagittarius

Height: 1.75 m

Born in: Stanmore, Middlesex, England, UK

siblings: Jane

Spouse/Partner: Linda Mathis

children: Willem Wolf Broad, Bonnie Blue

Net worth: $50 million as of Jan 2017

More Facts

education: Ravensbourne School for Boys, Worthing High School for Boys, Brighton Polytechnic,

awards: 1990 - MTV Video Music Award for Best Video from a Film
1991 - BRIT Award for Best British Video

Pictures Of Billy Idol

Image Credit
Cite This

Billy Idol is a punk rock musician who rose to fame as a member of the band Generation X. Born as William Michael Albert Broad, he adopted the name Billy Idol when he embarked on a musical career. He was a bright teenager though he was not really academically inclined. His teacher had once called him “idle” and as a joke, he started calling himself “Idol”! His parents wanted him to go to college and he enrolled at the Sussex University to pursue a degree in English. However he found studies to be extremely boring and dropped out within a year to join the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans. At the initial stages of his musical career he played the guitar for the band Chelsea. Along with a band mate Tony James he co-founded Generation X and he made a switch from being the guitarist to become the lead singer. The team went on to release three successful albums and was one of the first punk bands to be featured on the BBC Television music programme ‘Top of the Pops’. He built up a “bad boy” image which was well loved by the fans of rock music when he embarked on a solo career post the disbanding of Generation X.

Continue Reading Below
Billy Idol
Childhood & Early Life
  • He was born as the eldest child of Bill and Joan Broad. He has one younger sister, Jane.
  • He attended the Ravensbourne School for Boys before moving to the Worthing High School for Boys.
  • He went to the Sussex University in 1975 to pursue a degree in English. But he left after a year as he had no academic ambitions.
  • He began his musical career as a member of the punk rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1976. After a short stint he quit to join Chelsea as a guitarist in 1977. Here he met Tony James.
  • Idol co-founded the band Generation X in which he became the lead singer. Tony James played the bass while John Towe and Bob Andrews played the drums and guitar respectively. The band’s first single ‘Your Generation’ was released in 1977.
  • The band released its self-titled album ‘Generation X’ in 1978. It contained the singles ‘Ready Steady Go’, ‘Listen’ and ‘From the Heart’. It was followed by the release of their second album ‘Valley of the Dolls’ in 1979 which had the hit single ‘King Rocker’. The band broke up in 1980.
  • Idol went to New York City in 1981 to pursue a solo career. By now he had created a “bad boy image” for himself which was much loved by the rock fans. He found a new partner in Steve Stevens who played the guitar.
  • He released an Extended Play (EP) titled ‘Don’t Stop’ in 1981. It featured a cover of Tommy James and the Shondells’ song ‘Mony Mony’. The popularity of the EP prompted him to release his full length album, ‘Billy Idol’ in 1982.
  • His next album ‘Rebel Yell’ was released in 1983. He collaborated with Steve Stevens and Keith Forsey to make this highly successful album. The album spawned four singles which reached the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 charts.
  • In 1986, his next album ‘Whiplash Smile’ was released. It had the singles ‘To Be a Lover’, ‘Sweet Sixteen’, and ‘Don’t Need a Gun’. He also filmed a video for ‘Sweet Sixteen’.
  • During the 1990s he released only two albums, ‘Charmed Life’ (1990) and ‘Cyberpunk’ (1993). The latter was an experimental move and was recorded in a home studio. It was however a flop and received negative reviews.
  • He suffered from several personal and health problems during the 1990s because of which he could not concentrate much on his career. After a long time, he released his album, ‘Devil’s Playground’ in 2005. He embarked on a world tour of rock festival appearances in 2005 and 2006 in support of this album.
  • His last album till date is ‘Happy Holidays’ which was a Christmas album released in 2006. It included several popular traditional Christmas songs and some original compositions.
Major Works
  • His album ‘Rebel Yell’ is his biggest success so far. The album peaked at No.6 on the U.S. Billboard 200 album chart and had the highly popular singles ‘Rebel Yell’, ‘Eyes Without a Face’, and ‘Flesh for Fantasy’. The album went multi platinum in Canada and the U.S.
  • The album ‘Whiplash Smile’ also went multi platinum in Canada and Platinum in the U.S. The single ‘To Be a Lover’ was a big hit and reached No.6 in the U.S.
Awards & Achievements
  • He 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 Best British Video for the same video in 1991.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He was in a long term relationship with Perri Lister with whom he has a son. He was involved with another woman Linda Mathis with whom he has a daughter.
  • This singer is known for his trademark spiky platinum blonde hair and sneer.

See the events in life of Billy Idol in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Billy Idol Biography
- Editors,
Last Updated
- September 28, 2017

People Also Viewed

Charlie Parker
Romeo Santos
Linda Ronstadt

John Belushi
Gary Allan

Pictures of Billy Idol