How Billy Idol Got His Name

In 1976, Billy Idol was the retro-rock band Chelsea’s guitarist after responding to the ‘Melody Maker’ advertisement for the band searching for new musicians. It was Idol’s first step to a professional career as a musician, and he and bassist Tony James became more dominant in the band’s creative direction and musical style. So this bothered Gene October, causing tensions between the band members.

As a result, James and Idol went their way and co-founded the iconic punk rock band Generation X. The group was the starting point for the musician, whose journey would be full of success thanks to his critically acclaimed works. From the self-titled first studio album released on March 17, 1978, to the breakup, Idol gained international popularity as a frontman with his unique style and memorable stage name.

Billy Idol’s Teacher Inspired Him Unintentionally

After Generation X, Idol continued his career as a solo artist and shared his debut solo record entitled ‘Don’t Stop’ on October 24, 1981. The popularity of its track ‘Dancing with Myself’ and the other works contributed significantly to his popularity. In addition, the more Idol became famous, the more his fans wanted to know many details about his personal life, and the origin of his stage name was one of them.

Billy Idol was William Michael Albert Broad until his chemistry teacher commented on him while writing a school report card. As the musician mentioned several times, he failed his classes at school, even getting 8 out of 100 in chemistry. Since he was a person with a passion for creating and working on his music, his classes weren’t interesting to him.

Thus, the teacher described him as ‘idle’ due to his marks and lack of attention to chemistry. Instead of being angry or regretful after this word, Idol decided to use it as his new name while starting his musical journey as a professional. However, he wanted to change it and didn’t use ‘Billy Idle,’ which could cause a misunderstanding because ‘Monty Python’ star Eric Idle. From that on, he chose to become ‘Billy Idol’ who would be one of the greatest and most striking singers of all time.