Idol began his music career in late 1976 as a guitarist in the punk rock band Chelsea. However, he soon left the group. With his former bandmate Tony James, Idol formed the band Generation X. With Idol as lead singer, the band achieved success in the United Kingdom and released three albums on Chrysalis Records before disbanding. In 1981, Idol moved to New York City to pursue his solo career in collaboration with guitarist Steve Stevens. His debut studio album, Billy Idol (1982), was a commercial success. With music videos for singles "Dancing with Myself" and "White Wedding" Idol soon became a staple of then-newly established MTV.
Idol's second studio album--Rebel Yell (1983)--was a major commercial success, featuring hit singles "Rebel Yell" and "Eyes Without a Face". The album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipment of two million copies in the US. In 1986, he released Whiplash Smile. Having accumulated three UK top 10 singles ("Rebel Yell", "White Wedding" and "Mony Mony") Idol released a 1988 greatest hits album entitled Idol Songs: 11 of the Best; the album went platinum in the United Kingdom. Idol then released two studio albums: Charmed Life (1990) and the concept album Cyberpunk (1993).
Idol spent the second half of the 1990s out of the public eye focusing on his personal life. He made a musical comeback with the release of Devil's Playground (2005) and again with Kings & Queens of the Underground (2014).
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