Top 10 Billy Idol Songs
There’s little question to the influence that Billy Idol had upon rock music in the early ’80’s. Along with Duran Duran and Michael Jackson, the man born William Michael Albert Broad was one of the many reasons why video killed the radio star. From his snarling, cocky looks to his raspy gin-soaked vocals, Idol was the quintessential 80’s rock star. Let’s take a look at Billy Idol’s Top 10 Songs. We’re certain that by the end of the list, you’ll be crying for “More, more, more”
“Cradle of Love”
While Idol’s output in the 90’s didn’t quite match the brilliance of his work the prior decade, “Cradle of Love” was a pleasant exception to the rule. Although the song was not one of Idol’s hardest-hitting singles, the first entry in our list Top 10 Billy Idol Songs still boasted much of the take-no-prisoners approach and surprising sophistication that fueled his success in the prior decade.
“To Be a Lover”
Perhaps eager to prove that he was capable of more than a ‘Rebel Yell’, the heavily synthesized “To Be a Lover” put Steve Stevens’ typically powerful guitar on the back burner. Is it coincidence that echoes of the Doors run through this track when just a few years later Idol would appear in Oliver Stone’s biopic on the band? We’ll let you decide.
“Hot in the City”
Compared to other tracks listed here in our Top 10 Billy Idol Songs, this track is perhaps one of the most laid-back. Set to a slinky bass line and an unforgettable synth refrain, the machismo that Idol would come to be known for with his Rebel Yell album was kept at a steady simmer instead of being allowed to boil over.
“Catch My Fall”
Much like “Eyes Without a Face,” “Catch My Fall” served to show that Idol could branch out in unexpected directions. With a chorus buoyed by a memorable saxophone accompaniment, the song helps illustrate that Idol was always much more than a punk rocker with a sneer in his voice.
“Eyes Without a Face”
When it came to the singles released from the Rebel Yell LP, “Eyes Without a Face” stood out for a couple of reasons. Although the song still bares some of Idol’s attitude, the laid-back electronic-influenced arrangement lets Idol’s vocals remain front and center. Well, except for the famous and riff-tastic mid-song “Hanging out by the state line / Turning holy water into wine” section, of course.
“Flesh for Fantasy”
An infectious mix of pure unadulterated rock n roll, “Flesh for Fantasy” also nods rather heavily toward Idol’s New Wave history. The two styles meld seamlessly and flawlessly, with Idol’s almost inquisitive vocals during the song’s verses contrasting nicely to when he truly and confidently cuts loose in the song’s chorus.
Idol’s cover of this Tommy James & the Shondelles hit was a runaway success story … when given a second chance. Idol had initially covered the song on his 1981 debut EP Don’t Stop, but it was the live version contained on ‘Vital Idol’ combined with an energetic video that helped make the song such a smash.
Driven by a dominant bass-line with subtle electronic elements, the verses contained in this 1982 hit are comprised of a series of rhetorical questions, brought to a surprising close when Idol sings “Hey little sister shot gun!. Idol’s anguished cry of “start again” is arguably the song’s most memorable moment.
“Dancing With Myself”
Was it just a coincidence that after leaving Generation X that Idol would launch his solo career with the same song that was Generation X’s final single? No matter who was behind the decision, this track is one of Idol’s strongest and lands in second place in our list of Top 10 Billy Idol Songs. The song perhaps one of the best examples of Idol’s ability to meld rock with an undercurrent of dance music. Somehow in doing so he came up with a style that could appeal to the punks as easily as it could new wave fans.
It should be little surprise to anyone that the lead-off and title track from Billy Idol’s 1983 record would assume the No. 1 position in our countdown of Top 10 Billy Idol Songs. One of Idol’s most energetic singles, the song actually fell shy of hitting the Top 40 upon initial release but remains one of his most enduring and popular hits. The song’s iconic chorus is perhaps one of his — and indeed, the decade’s — finest fist-pumping moments ever.