It wasn’t long before Broad realized that he too could be the frontman of a punk band, and assumed the name Billy Idol shortly thereafter. After a stint playing guitar in a group called Chelsea didn’t pan out (interestingly, the group featured future Clash guitarist Mick Jones and future Damned guitarist Brian James), Idol put down the guitar and picked up the mic, and recruited bassist Tony James, drummer John Towe, and guitarist Bob Andrews, forming Generation X in 1976. Named after a 1960s paperback book, the band signed a recording contract with Chrysalis shortly thereafter (Towe was replaced with new skinsman Mark Laff) — resulting in such releases as 1978’s self-titled debut, 1979’s Valley of the Dolls, and 1981’s Kiss Me Deadly — before splitting up. Disappointed with Generation X’s demise, Idol relocated to New York City, where he pursued a career as a solo artist,. Hooking up with Kiss manager Bill Aucoin, Idol issued the 1981 EP Don’t Stop (comprised of a cover of Tommy James’ ’60s hit ‘Mony Mony’ and a pair of remixed Generation X tracks), which helped the singer score another record deal with his former band’s label, Chrysalis. Idol found the perfect collaborator and partner in guitarist/Johnny Thunders look-alike Steve Stevens, and issued a self-titled debut in July of 1982. A pair of eye-catching videos for the tracks ‘White Wedding’ and ‘Dancing With Myself’ (the latter a remake of a Generation X composition) scored major air time on MTV, with both clips focusing in on Idol’s spiky, peroxide blonde hair and Elvis-like sneer. The debut eventually obtained gold certification, and set the stage perfectly for Idol’s big commercial breakthrough, 1984’s Rebel Yell. Rebel Yell became the singer’s best-selling album of his career (eventually going double platinum), spawning such big-time MTV/radio hits as the album’s anthemic title track, ‘Eyes Without a Face,’ and ‘Flesh for Fantasy,’ establishing Idol as an arena headliner stateside. 1987’s Whiplash Smile was another sizeable hit on the strength of such hits as ‘To Be a Lover’ and ‘Sweet Sixteen,’. Idol’s next release, 1990’s Charmed Life, the singer was involved in a serious motorcycle accident (in which he almost lost his leg), forcing the singer to walk with a cane for a period of time; the video for the album’s lead-off single, ‘Cradle of Love,’ featured the singer filmed from the waist up. The ploy worked, as the single (which was also used as the theme song in the Andrew ‘Dice’ Clay movie, Ford Fairlane) was another smash hit, making Charmed Life the fourth Idol album in a row to achieve at least reach platinum sales. In 1998, he made a cameo appearance (as himself) in the hit Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy The Wedding Singer, which resulted in renewed interest.