Cover image for Dancing with myself
Dancing with myself
Idol, Billy.
Personal Author:
First Touchstone hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Touchstone, published by Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Physical Description:
ix, 326 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
In this bold and candid memoir, music legend Billy Idol shares his life story, from his childhood in England to his rise to fame during the height of the punk pop revolution, revealing intimate details about the sex, drugs, and rock and roll that he is so fabulously famous for-all told in his own utterly indelible voice. An integral member of the punk rock revolution whose music crossed over into '80s pop mainstream--and one of MTV's first stars--Billy Idol remains an iconic music legend. Now, in his long awaited Dancing With Myself, he delivers a lively, candid account of his journey to fame, including intimate and unapologetic details about his life's highs and lows, all rendered with the in your face attitude and exuberance his fans have embraced. Idol brings to life the key events that shaped his life, his music, and his career, including his early childhood in England, his year at Sussex University, and his time spent hanging out with the Sex Pistols and as a member of punk bands Chelsea and Generation X. He shares outtakes from his wildly and unexpectedly successful solo career and stories behind his string of popular hits, including "White Wedding, " "Eyes Without a Face, " and "Rebel Yell, " which involved close collaboration with Steve Stevens and ultimately led to the creation of some of the most groundbreaking music videos ever seen. Featuring sixteen pages of full color, behind the scenes photos, Dancing With Myself is both a tale of survival and a celebration of the heady days when punk was born, a compelling and satisfying insider's tale from a man who made music history firsthand.
General Note:
Includes index.
They say if you hear the bang, you're still alive -- London. I let out my first rebel yell ; England swings like a pendulum do ; Rock 'n' roll high school: long hair, flares, and hash tobacco cigarettes ; Sucking in the '70s ; And then there was punk ; In a revolution, one year equals five ; Generation X marks the spot: William Broad becomes Billy Idol ; A night at the Roxy ; Punk comes of age when two sevens clash ; Youth youth youth: break on through to the other side ; White light, white heat, white riots ; Not selling out, but buying in ; Bands across the ocean ; Ready steady go ; And I guess that I just don't know ; You better hang on to yourself -- New York City. A rock 'n' roll conquistador invades America and burns his boats upon arrival ; Making mony mony: a left-coast fusion of punk and disco ; If you can make it here ; Hot in the city: the making of solo Billy Idol ; Hollywood daze and tequila nights ; I want my MTV: video thrills the radio star ; Rebel yell with a cause ; A change in pace of fantasy and taste ; Everybody must get rolling stoned ; The roar of the lion and a nonstop global orgy ; Just a perfect day ; King death: an aborted film project signals the end of an Idol maker ; Top of the world, ma ; Return to splendour ; The luck of the Irish -- Los Angeles. We need a miracle joy, we need a rock and roll boy ; La vie enchanté ; City of night ; Trouble with the sweet stuff ; Drunken, stupid, & naked ; I bear a charmed life, which must not yield ; Hollywood promises ; Have a fuck on me ; The madam and the preacher ; Mind fire ; Bitter pill ; My road is long, it lingers on.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML420.I32 A3 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
ML420.I32 A3 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Popular Materials-Biography
ML420.I32 A3 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
ML420.I32 A3 2014 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



"I am hopelessly divided between the dark and the good, the rebel and the saint, the sex maniac and the monk, the poet and the priest, the demagogue and the populist. Pen to paper, I've put it all down, every bit from the heart.
I'm going out on a limb here, so watch my back." -Billy Idol

An early architect of punk rock's sound, style, and fury, whose lip-curling sneer and fist-pumping persona vaulted him into pop's mainstream as one of MTV's first megastars, Billy Idol remains, to this day, a true rock 'n' roll icon.

Now, in his long-awaited autobiography, Dancing with Myself , Idol delivers an electric, searingly honest account of his journey to fame-from his early days as front man of the pioneering UK punk band Generation X to the decadent life atop the dance-rock kingdom he ruled-delivered with the same in-your-face attitude and fire his fans have embraced for decades. Beyond adding his uniquely qualified perspective to the story of the evolution of rock, Idol is a brash, lively chronicler of his own career.

A survivor's tale at its heart, this sometimes chilling and always riveting account of one man's creative drive joining forces with unbridled human desire is unmistakably literary in its character and brave in its sheer willingness to tell. With it, Billy Idol is destined to emerge as one of the great writers among his musical peers.

Author Notes

William Michael Albert Broad, known professionally as Billy Idol, was born in Middlesex, England on November 30, 1955. In 1975, he went to Sussex University to pursue an English degree, but left after one year to pursue his singing career.

He is a rock musician, songwriter and actor. He first achieved fame in the punk rock era as a member of the band Generation X and then became a soloist. He had numerous hit songs including Dancing with Myself, Rebel Yell, and White Wedding. His autobiography, Dancing with Myself, was released in 2014.

(Bowker Author Biography)



Dancing with Myself PROLOGUE   THEY SAY IF YOU HEAR THE BANG, YOU'RE STILL ALIVE   By the morning of February 6, 1990, I'd been living on a fine edge for more than a decade, always courting disaster to experience the biggest high. I'd been living the deranged life. I felt so nihilistic, yet why hadn't I just tuned in and dropped out? Instead, I followed Jim Morrison's credo, the credo of Coleridge and, at one point, Wordsworth, the credo of self-discovery through self-destruction I so willfully subscribed to until this moment: Live every day as if it's your last, and one day you're sure to be right . On this fateful morning, I'm standing wide-awake at dawn in the living room of my house in Hollywood Hills, overlooking the Los Angeles basin that falls and stretches away toward the high-rising pillars of downtown. I haven't slept, still buzzing from the night's booze and illicit substances lingering in my bloodstream, staring at the view of the city beginning its early morning grumblings. Daylight unfolds and casts shadows within the elevation, as if God is slowly revealing his colors for the day from his paint box, the hues of brown and green of earth and foliage offset by the bleached white of the protruding rocks that hold my home in place on the hillside. Standing at my window, I hear sirens blaring in the distance. Some one wasn't so lucky , I think as I tune in to the rumble of cars ferrying tired and impatient commuters on the 101 freeway that winds through the Cahuenga Pass, the sound of a world slowly getting back in motion. The constant moan of the freeway echoes that of my tired and played-out soul. Just the night before, after almost two years of work, we put the aptly titled album Charmed Life to bed. I'm feeling some pressure, home early from the de rigueur studio party. I say that as if we threw one party to celebrate the completion of the album, but the truth is that the party went on for two years. Two years of never-ending booze, broads, and bikes, plus a steady diet of pot, cocaine, ecstasy, smack, opium, quaaludes, and reds. I passed out in so many clubs and woke up in the hospital so many times; there were incidents of returning to consciousness to find I was lying on my back, looking at some uniformly drab, gray hospital ceiling, cursing myself and thinking that I was next in line to die outside an L.A. nightclub or on some cold stone floor, surrounded by strangers and paparazzi. I've been taking GHB, a steroid, to help relieve symptoms of the fatigue that has been plaguing me and preventing me from working out and keeping my body in some semblance of good shape. If you take too much GHB, which I'm prone to do, it's like putting yourself in a temporary coma for three hours; to observers, it appears as if you are gone from this world. When we began recording in 1988, we promised each other we'd be cool and focused, and not wholly indulge in drugs and debauchery. But as weeks stretched into months, Fridays often finished early with "drop-time"--the moment we all took ecstasy. And then Friday soon became Thursday and so on, until all rules were taboo. We somehow managed to make music through the constant haze. It seemed like every few days I was recovering from yet another wild binge, and it took three days to feel "normal" again. The album proved to be slow going and the only way to feel any kind of relief from the pressure was to get blotto, avoid all human feelings, and reach back into the darkness once again. Somewhere in that darkness, I told myself, there was a secret of the universe or some hidden creative message to be found.   We'd invite girls to come to the studio to listen to the music. Mixing business with pleasure seemed the best way to see if the new songs worked. We'd be snorting lines of cocaine, and then the girls would start dancing. Before long, they'd end up having sex with one or more of us on the studio floor. Once the party was in full swing, we walked around naked but for our biker boots and scarves. Boots and Scarves became the running theme. The girls loved it and got in on the act. It helped that we recruited them at the local strip bars; they felt comfortable naked. We had full-on orgies in those studios we inhabited for months. It was like a glorified sex club. We were all about instant gratification, lords of the fix. I'd like to think this was all in the name of song-searching: the sex and drugs amped up the music, the songs arriving in the midst of chaos, cigarettes stubbed out into plates of food, the bathroom floor covered with vomit, sweaty sex going on all over the studio as we tried out our guitar riffs and mixes. The sound of our mixes, turned up loud, drowned out the background noise of sucking  and  fucking.  Songs must be written. The ideas must flow. The flow must go to one's most base desires. Without constraint. Now that it's all said and done, I feel exhausted and shattered. The keyed-up feeling that prevents me from sleeping is the result of the care and concern I put into making a record that will decide the course of my future. That's the sort of pressure I put on myself every time. Then there's the fact that the production costs have been astronomical; the need to keep the bandwagon rolling has drained my spirit and sapped my will. Months later, Charmed Life will go on to sell more than a million copies. The "Cradle of Love" single and video, directed by David Fincher, will both become massive hits. But I don't know this when I retreat to my home alone at  2  a.m.,  intending  to  get  some  rest after wrapping recording. The breakup of my relationship with my girlfriend, Perri, the mother of my son, Willem, has left me bereft, but finishing the album has been my only priority. "If the thing is pressed . . . Lee will surrender," Lincoln telegraphed Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox in 1865. And then: "Let the thing be pressed." That's a rock 'n' roll attitude. The difficult has to be faced straight-on and the result forged out of sweat and tears. That's where I take my inspiration.   The wide-screen version of the last few years' tumultuous events plays in my subconscious and cannot be ignored. What can I do to keep away these blues that rack my thoughts and creep into my bones? It's a fine day, warming up, the sun burning off the morning smog. Still, I feel uneasy, dissatisfied in the pit of my stomach. With the album now finished, I'll have to take stock of life and contemplate the emptiness without Perri and Willem. The bike will blow away these post-album blues , I think. As I open the garage door, the chrome of my 1984 Harley-Davidson Wide Glide gleams with expectation, beckoning me. The L.A. traffic is thick and the warmth of the sun is fresh on my face, its glow spreading over my bare head. California has yet to pass legislation making the wearing of helmets compulsory, and I've always liked the feel of the wind in my hair. My bike clears its throat with a deep, purring growl. The gleaming black tank and chrome fixtures flash in the sharp, sacrosanct daylight. I've opted for all denim to match the blue-sky high. Excerpted from Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prologue: They Say If You Hear the Bang, You're Still Alivep. 1
Part I London
1 I Let Out My First Rebel Yellp. 9
2 England Swings Like a Pendulum Dop. 16
3 Rock 'N' Roll High School: Long Hair, Flares, and Hash Tobacco Cigarettesp. 28
4 Sucking in the '70sp. 39
5 And Then There Was Punkp. 50
6 In a Revolution, One Year Equals Fivep. 55
7 Generation X Marks the Spot: William Broad Becomes Billy Idolp. 60
8 A Night at the Roxyp. 70
9 Punk Comes of Age When the Two Sevens Clashp. 78
10 Youth Youth Youth: Break On Through to the Other Sidep. 85
11 White Light, White Heat, White Riotsp. 88
12 Not Selling Out, But Buying Inp. 92
13 Bands Across the Oceanp. 102
14 Ready Steady Gop. 108
15 And I Guess that I Just Don't Knowp. 120
16 You Better Hang On to Yourselfp. 124
Part II New York City
17 A Rock 'N' Roll Conquistador Invades America and Burns His Boats Upon Arrivalp. 135
18 Making Mony Mony: A Left-Coast Fusion of Punk and Discop. 142
19 If You Can Make It Herep. 149
20 Hot in the City: The Making of Solo Billy Idolp. 153
21 Hollywood Daze and Tequila Nightsp. 160
22 I Want My MTV: Video Thrills the Radio Starp. 170
23 Rebel Yell with a Causep. 177
24 A Change in Pace of Fantasy and Tastep. 184
25 Everybody Must Get Rolling Stonedp. 189
26 The Roar of the Lion and a Nonstop Global Orgyp. 196
27 Just a Perfect Dayp. 202
28 King Death: An Aborted Film Project Signals the End of an Idol Makerp. 210
29 Top of the World, Map. 214
30 Return to Splendourp. 224
31 The Luck of the Irishp. 232
Part III Los Angeles
32 We Need a Miracle Joy, We Need a Rock and Roll Boyp. 239
33 La Vie Enchantép. 245
34 City of Nightp. 249
35 Trouble with the Sweet Stuffp. 253
36 Drunken, Stupid, & Nakedp. 257
37 I Bear a Charmed Life, Which Must Not Yieldp. 262
38 Hollywood Promisesp. 269
39 Have a Fuck on Mep. 274
40 The Madam and the Preacherp. 281
41 Mind Firep. 287
42 Bitter Pillp. 293
43 My Road Is Long, It Lingers Onp. 298
Epiloguep. 307
Acknowledgmentsp. 313
Indexp. 315