The beginning of the 1980s introduced many of us to a newly-solo punk rock artist: Billy Idol and a song from his past that led to his future: Dancing With Myself.
Having some success with Generation X at the end of the 1970s, Idol (a moniker he chose, real name William Broad), left the band and moved to New York City in 1981 with fellow musician Steve Stevens to forge a new path as a solo artist.
Working with KISS manager Bill Aucoin, Idol and Stevens brought more glam rock and pop into their music and worked on a debut EP, Don’t Stop, which was released by Chrysalis Records in October 1981.
The EP included Mony, Mony, a cover of a song originally done by Tommy James and the Shondells, an original song (Baby Talk) and two songs from Idol’s past.
Dancing With Myself (and The Untouchables which was included on the EP) had been recorded by Generation X for their third and final album, Kiss Me Deadly. The single had been released in October 1980, but when song and album had little significant sales, the failure contributed to the break-up of the band.
As a solo artist, Idol’s song Dancing With Myself and its accompanying music video was perfect time for MTV, which included the song on regular rotation, part of its so-called second British music invasion. The video, directed by Tobe Hooper, was promoted on MTV for six months, while the song got regular airplay on radio across North America and the UK.
In July 1982, Chrysalis Records released Billy Idol’s first self-titled solo album, including the two songs from the EP, other popular singles White Wedding and Hot in the City, all tracks written by Idol.
The glam, punk, new wave and pop combination Billy Idol album was a commercial success, the album peaking at number 45 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and certified gold. And as the decade began, Idol’s career as a solo artist was just kicking into gear.