After fronting the English punk-rock band Generation X, ’80s icon Billy Idol moved to New York in 1981 and began dancing with himself in pursuit of solo stardom.
And it was his first summer of baking in the Big Apple that would inspire his breakout solo hit, 1982’s “Hot in the City.”
“New York just had this great energy because anything went, you know?” Idol, 67, told The Post. “And it fired me up … just living through this kind of really humid, hot summer. It was totally different to a summer in England. But also, yeah, I felt like I was hot — you know, sexually hot — as well. I’m living in the clubs and meeting girls that way and sleeping with them and carrying on that rock and roll existence.”
It was those debaucherous days that fleshed out Idol’s self-titled solo debut, which came out in July 1982. A new expanded edition celebrates the 40th anniversary of the album that gave us “Hot in the City” and “White Wedding” — leather-clad classics that Idol will be rocking when he plays Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre on Tuesday.
Fittingly, the concert will take place on the same night as this year’s MTV Video Music Awards — because Idol is one of the video visionaries who helped put the music network on the map after it launched in 1981.
“I did have an American manager, Bill Aucoin, [who also] managed Kiss,” said Idol, who was born William Michael Albert Broad. “And he knew MTV was coming … This 24-hour cable music channel was coming that he said I was going to be perfect for. So it was a bit like readying yourself for that as much as your solo thing.”
After Generation X (also known as Gen X) had first released “Dancing with Myself,” Idol remixed and re-released it as a solo single as he relocated from London to Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. And the song provided the sonic springboard for his debut album in the city’s new-wave movement.
“I went to a club on the West Side in the 80s, and they were playing ‘Dancing with Myself,’ and I realized … young people were into it,” said Idol.
But it was during a studio session in Los Angeles that “White Wedding” came to him.
“My sister was getting married in England, and she was pregnant getting married, and in the old days that would have been, like, a terrible thing,” said Idol, who was inspired to write lyrics such as “Hey little sister, what have you done?” and “Hey little sister, shotgun.”
Turning Idol into an MTV sensation, the “White Wedding” video depicted some goth nuptials, with the bride played by the singer’s then-girlfriend Perri Lister.
Although the two spilt in 1989, they share a son, Willem Wolfe, 35, who is an electronic musician and DJ.
“He’s always done his own kind of music. He wasn’t trying to be me or anything,” said Idol, who also has a 34-year-old daughter, Bonnie Blue, with ex Linda Mathis.
Now a grandfather of two, Idol works out to keep belting out his ’80s hits — including “Eyes Without a Face,” “Mony Mony” and the anthemic “Rebel Yell,” which turns 40 in October — on tour.
“I do try to do things to make sure I’ve got the breath, the power,” he said. “I do Pilates, TRX [training] and some weights every week.”
And while he’s hitting the gym, he’s not hitting the clubs anymore.
“I’m not partying or anything like that,” said the Los Angeles-based Idol, who became an American citizen in 2018. “In the old days, we could party all night long and do a gig, and then party all night to another gig. But that wouldn’t work today.”
“That’s not what the audience wants to see — and it’s not what I want to be.”
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