William Michael Albert Broad was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, England on this day in 1955. He lived in New York for a few years as a child but was mostly brought up in England. Young William was a good student but he was bored, which led a teacher to write in the margin of his homework,"Billy is idle". When young William grew up and became a musician, he remembered that instructor's comment and renamed himself Billy Idol. (Or so the story goes.)
I used to watch him on MTV when I was small. I was totally hot for him when I was 6 (I liked the sneer, the body, and the accent). Still hot for him, in fact. And why not? He's still got the sneer and the body and the accent!
Two of my favorites of Billy's. The first is "Eyes Without a Face". The background singers are saying "Les yeux sans visage" which is "eyes without a face" in French (hopefully I spelled it right because I took Spanish instead of French). Random fact that has nothing to do with Billy Idol but everything to do with backing vocals in other languages: In the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go?", the background vocals on the second verse are just a repeat of the original lines but in Spanish and the Beatles sang "Frere Jacques" over and over as the backing vocal for "Paperback Writer."
The second is "Flesh For Fantasy".
"Do you like good music? Do you like to dance?"
And hey, look what I dug up? Billy Idol played Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve show back in 2005. And, coincidentally, today, Dick Clark (AKA "America's Oldest Teenager" partly because of his long stint hosting the music show for and with adolescents "American Bandstand" and partly because the man didn't age until he was, like, sixty) celebrates his birthday as well. He turns 80!
If you never saw "American Bandstand" you sure missed out on seeing some up-and-comers. Prince was on the show early in his career and refused to talk. And I don't mean he walked away from the interview. I mean whenever Dick Clark asked him a question, he answered with a frickin' hand gesture! And it was the first show that displayed the egomania that is Madonna. He asked what she wanted for her career and she replied," To rule the world!"
With red strings on her wrists and young Brazilian men by her side?
Nah. Kidding. She didn't add that part.
Anyway, do you see what I mean about Billy Idol still having the body? Have mercy!!!!