Monday, June 7, 2010

Generation X: Radio 1 Sessions

At the height of Billy Idol Mania (circa 1984) you could get all the Generation X L.P.'s for cheap. They'd all been re-released to capitalize on the dizzying ascent of Idol's (the Class 0f '77's Most Likely To Suc(k)ceed). I never hated those Idol hits, then or now, but it was the then-seemingly perverse fact that Billy the Idol had once been in a punk band that made me lie down the $5.99 to buy the first Gen X album, a mere six years after it's debut. Despite it's lack of currency, I ended up converting much of my high school to that album (via cassette tape). I suppose some of us enjoyed listening to an unpopular album by a a popular artist but also the fact was that if you'd grown up on old Glam Rock (i.e. Bowie, T. Rex and especially The Sweet) that first album made perfect sense.

This out-of-print odds n' sods collection of work the band did for the BBC won't convert the skeptical but it's a fascinating document that traces phase one of Idol's transformation from punk singer to pop star.

Radio 1 Sessions link is in the Comments.

Speaking of comments, Give us you take on the the man known as Billy Idol.

Generation X albums are still cheap at Amazon!

This one is for the 'mazin' Marky Dread - go check out his King Rocker Rocks On for way more Idol-ness.


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  2. I haven't done the download, but I always loved Gen X the first time around. I played them a lot on college radio, circal '78-81.

    My take on Billy Idol is just what do you do when you're not an angry young kid riding the trend? His later stuff wasn't as much fun, but it wasn't bad. The videos were ubiquitous and made people hate him, though.

    Meanwhile, 30 years later, Gen X -- like a lot of the '70s punk stuff -- sounds really pop. More pop than later Billy Idol!

  3. I have this on cd,i think it's better than their albums...Billy wasn't too big here in Italy,but well known among young people for the videos,well no one of my friends like him,but i've ever liked Eyes Without A Face for it's summer night romantic feel...old skeletons in the closet...

  4. Thanks, Jeffen!

    Can anyone tell me why the superior sounding version of 'Gimme Some Truth' from the North American release of Generation X was left off the re-issues and singles compilations?

    I cringe every time I hear the replacement.

  5. These BBC sessions are great and a couple of tracks were used by the band as B-sides. I don't shy away from the fact that I dig Billy's solo stuff either. Generation X were just as much maligned by press and public alike as was Billy in his solo incarnation. They both are great by me. I love all Generation X stuff they were a brilliant band.

    Thanks for your kind words Jeff appreciated as always.

  6. Always liked Gen X and have been looking for this one for a long time. Some of those early tracks sound like the album versions though?!

  7. My mate Eoin is his second or third cousin and got mistaken for him in Japan.

  8. Billy Idol rocks! I was into Gen X back in my High School days, bought every 7" single (in all the different coloured vinyls), then when I was at college I had dyed my hair Platinum Blonde and bought all Billy's solo stuff...These Radio 1 sessions are gonna be awesome!!


  9. The second Generation X album remains a favourite. Watching the videos, I'm surprised at the mop Idol wore. As someone else wrote, I bought all the solo stuff in the 80s...while I regret all the money I spent on imports, it was part of the journey.

  10. I really like Generation X, that's not to say that I don't like some Idol solo, but Gen X is just ... different. My favourite albums are the first one and the sweet revenge album (their third thought to be lost album).

    Great upload.

    Apparently they did a cover of the Black Sabbath song "Paranoid". I would love to hear this, but have no idea where to get it. This site lists it as the B-side to Day By Day (Live in Sheffield).



  11. Elmer
    You summed up everything so succinctly - I'll just say, Amen.

    Yeah those hits are pretty good - I never feel the need to listen to them but they don't make me change the station either.

    To me that Generation X album is supposed to start with Gimme Some Truth (good version) - putting it on the 2nd album for the re-issues officially makes Chrysalis the worst label for re-issues (Specials 1st album without "Gangsters"? SLF albums without singles? WTF?)

    Good to hear someone stand up for Billy. I'm a little more tepid on the solo stuff but I do think that "Do Not Stand in the Shadows" is one of the best songs of his entire career.

    Matt M
    I was thinking the same thing about some of these versions - odd.

    That's funny - must make visiting Japan fum for him.

    Andie James
    Yeah My Gen X phase in high school was pretty intense too - good times.

    I liked the 2nd album less than the first (and more than the 3rd one) but it does have "King Rocker" which is one of my favourites of his.

    I should go back and re-listen to Sweet Revenge (I gather it's the original band version of the 3rd album that Billy later re-made after everyone else quit.
    I should check out their cover of "Paranoid" even if it'll never replace The Dickies version!

  12. Fantastic! Big thanks!

  13. Thanks. I have some other Gen X live but not this one. I always thought the band was hit or miss...(much more hit than miss though). Their "hits" were brilliant classic punk, but thought some of the deeper album cuts wore a bit thin at times. Still, a good band in my book, and that's why I'm definitley looking forward to hearing this.

  14. Here is a download for Paranoid.

    stay IDOL...

  15. Generation X had it all. They were there from the start, had the musicians, had the look and the songs, and maybe that's what the problem was. They were so bloody good that everyone liked them and not just the punks.
    So when someone sayed they were into the Clash, Pistols Damned etc the reaction whould be "Huh, you like that punk shit" followed by a sneer, but if you said that you liked Generation X it would be "yeah, I seen them on top of the pops, brilliant aint they".
    Unfortunately any self respecting punk at the time couldn't admit to liking anyone that everyone else did so Billy and the boys would be lambasted as being nothing more than a pop band.
    It was a pathetic stance to take, but many took it and it's taken all these years for GenX to finally get the kudos from the old punks.
    Billy was possibly also far too much of a rock star for them to.
    Personally I've always loved them and juts over the last few weeks my girlfriend has went on a real Billy Idol kick.

  16. Anon
    Big "You're welcome"!

    Mister Maniac
    There's a reason they called their best of "Perfect Hits" though I do think the North American version of the first album is pretty filler-less ("Wild Dub" possibly accepted).

    Anon II
    Ex-cell-ent - I added your link to the last Gen X post but I had to give credit to 'anonymous', thoguh I can change that if you'd like...

    Its a
    Damn, you just encapsulated the whole Gen X conundrum better then I ever could have - nice work!

  17. that first album was almost perfect- kiss me deadly is on my songs to be played at my funeral list

  18. Amen on the first album (North American version) but I do wonder how Billy, never the best lyricist, manged to pull off such a well-written piece as "Kiss Me Deadly".

    1. Odd as it sounds, Tony wrote ALL the lyrics, and Billy wrote the music (recall he was the guitarist in Chelsea, not the singer...) until the third record, tracked initially mostly with Laff and Derwood still in the band,resulting in the aborted Sweet Revenge lp) because by the third lp,Tony was, um, preoccupied...It wasn't until then that Billy stared writing lyrics, out of need...the weakest of their albums.

    2. I gotta be honest, I'm pretty convinced by your well-explained argument but I'd still appreciate some sort of reference before I go quoting you on this.

  19. It's taken me a while to come back for this one, thanks a lot for this.

  20. You can find the original first LP CD US issue with Gimme some Truth here on this blog

    Along with some other rare Gen X goodies

  21. Thanks a lot for the GEN X stuff! Great blog.

  22. Hello,
    can we have it again please?


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