William Michael Albert Broad (born November 30, 1955), known professionally by his stage name Billy Idol, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor. He first achieved fame in the 1970s as a member of the punk rock band Generation X. Subsequently, he embarked on a solo career which led to an international recognition and made Idol one of the lead artists during the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” in the United States.
Born in Stanmore, Middlesex, Idol began his career in late 1976 as a guitarist in the punk rock band Chelsea. However, he soon left the group and along with his bandmate Tony James formed Generation X with Idol being the lead singer. The band achieved success in the United Kingdom and released three albums on Chrysalis Records before disbanding. In 1981, Idol moved to New York City to pursue his solo career in collaboration with guitarist Steve Stevens. His debut studio album Billy Idol (1982) was a commercial success and with music videos for singles “Dancing with Myself” and “White Wedding” Idol soon became a staple of then newly established MTV.
His second studio album Rebel Yell (1983) was a major commercial success with hit singles “Rebel Yell” and “Eyes Without a Face”. The album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of two million copies across the United States. He followed with a number of successful albums, including Whiplash Smile (1986), Charmed Life (1990) and Cyberpunk (1993). Idol spent the second half of the 1990s out of the public eye focusing on his personal life. He made a musical comeback with the release of Devil’s Playground (2005) and again with Kings & Queens of the Underground (2014).