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Customer Review

on 18 March 2003
If you love Billy Idol's songs but don't have any of his CDs, then this is really the only CD you'll need to buy. All of his top charting singles are here in this, the definitive GREATEST HITS of The Sneering One. :)
William Broad (his real name as most people know by now) came out of England's brief Punk Rock era in the late 1970's with his band Generation X (by far predating the common use of the term which only came into vogue in the '90's). When the band broke up in 1981, Billy then moved to New York City to pursue stardom on his own. Dissatisfied with some of the limitations of Punk, he sought to blend all of his influences--part Punk, part New Wave, and with a healthy dose of good ol' fashioned R & R--to create a sound that was all his.
He got his wish when he hooked up with pyrotechnical guitar wizard Steve Stevens, an American who had been involved with Punk on our side of the Atlantic and was also looking to branch out musically. Quickly signed to Chrysalis Records after releasing a successful EP (which included an amazing five-minute cover of the Tommy James and the Shondells classic "Mony Mony"), Billy Idol recorded his debut self-titled full-length LP in 1982 and took the world by storm. With the advent of MTV at around that time, millions of rock fans got to see Billy's showmanship talents and rugged good looks up front, as well as hear the cool music he made. With FM-radio staples such as "White Wedding," "Dancing With Myself" (a coy allusion to, er, self-gratification, and which he had originally sang with Generation X), and "Hot In The City," Billy achieved near-instant stardom. His follow-up, 1983's REBEL YELL, was even more successful, producing a string of Top Ten hits (on the Billboard Album Rock Chart) that really rocked: the title track, "Eyes Without A Face" and "Flesh For Fantasy." All of them showcased the prodigious guitar talents of Steve Stevens, and all of the videos showcased the sneering, swaggering Billy in all of his rocking glory--and the scantily clad babes in the videos didn't hurt, either!
REBEL YELL was the peak of Billy Idol's career, although he did have other major hits afterwards like "To Be A Lover," "Cradle Of Love" and his knife-edged remake of the Doors classic "L.A. Woman." In the early '90's he crashed his Harley and nearly lost his leg--and his life--in the process. He also had to undergo some major facial reconstructive surgery; his scars being fairly conspicuous in his cameo in the 1997 movie THE WEDDING SINGER.
Anyhoo, this CD has all the above smash hits (re-mastered to near-perfect clarity) plus two bonus tracks: A surprising accoustic version of "Rebel Yell" recorded live in 1993, and his brand-new cover of the Simple Minds mid-80's classic "Don't You (Forget About Me)." The former song works well, although I of course still prefer the blazing original. The latter cut is made ironic by the fact that I (and many others) had at first thought that the singer of "Don't You" was Billy Idol before learning with surprise that it was Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, a band that we had never heard of beforehand. Additionally, Billy Idol (along with Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry) had passed on doing this song--and Simple Minds themselves nearly passed on it as well!
Like his hero Elvis Presley before him, Billy's sneer and swiveling pelvic region became his trademark (as well as his peroxide-spiked 'do). Also like Elvis, he lived life in the fast lane; thankfully, he's still around to tell the tale. This CD tells the tale remarkably well. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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Product Details

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
£5.48+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime