Generation X

Generation X was an English rock band that emerged from the first wave of UK punk. They released the 1978–81 albums Generation X, Valley of the Dolls, and Kiss Me Deadly. Singer Billy Idol became a rock icon during the 1980s.

Members: Billy Idol (vocals), Tony James (bass), John Towe (drums, 1976-77), Bob Andrews [aka Derwood Andrews] (guitar, 1976-80), Mark Laff (drums, 1977-80), Terry Chimes (drums, 1980-81), James Stevenson (guitar, 1980-81)

Generation X took root in a musical partnership between singer William Broad and bassist Tony James, who met in the summer of 1976 through a network centered around the Sex Pistols and their management.

James played briefly in the rehearsal act London S.S. along with future Clash guitarist Mick Jones and eventual Damned members Brian James and Rat Scabies. Broad was part of the Bromley Contingent, an early group of Pistols followers that also included future Siouxsie and the Banshees members Janet Ballion (aka Siouxsie Sioux) and Steve Baily (later “Havoc” and ultimately “Severin.”)

With Broad on guitar and James on bass, the two formed Chelsea with drummer John Towe and vocalist Gene October. After a series of gigs in the fall of 1976 — including an opening slot at the infamous COUM Transmissions event under the moniker “LSD” — October quit over a personality clash with Broad.

October retained the name Chelsea on his lookout for new musicians. This freed Broad to assume the mic under his newly adopted stagename, Billy Idol. Roping in guitar prodigy Bob Andrews, they renamed the band Generation X, a term Idol took from a 1964 book on British youth culture by journalists Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett. They made their live debut on the opening night of the Roxy Club in Convent Garden. In the coming months, this served as the breeding ground for London’s upstart rockers.


In July 1977, Generation X signed with Chrysalis, a label established in the late-sixties with an array of legacy rock and folk acts (Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, Ten Years After, Procol Harum, Steeleye Span, Robin Trower, Rory Gallagher, UFO) and a growing list of newer acts (The Babys, Blondie, Split Enz).

On September 2, 1977, Generation X released “Your Generation,” a brisk lampoon of the 1965 mod anthem “My Generation” by The Who.

A. “Your Generation” (3:14)

B. “Day By Day” (2:05)

On November 18, Generation X released “Wild Youth,” a mid-tempo rocker in the T. Rex vein backed with a dub version.

A. “Wild Youth” (2:52)

Over the winter, they recorded their first album at TW Studios, Fulham, with producer Martin Rushent.


Generation X

Generation X released their self-titled debut album on March 17, 1978, on Chrysalis. The original UK release features 11 songs, characterized by the brash angularity of “From the Heart” and “One Hundred Punks” and the expressionistic abandon of “Youth Youth Youth,” where Andrews flexes his Tony McPhee-esque chops over a lengthy post-vocal playout. Elsewhere, they show harmonized cohesion on the beat-inflected “Ready Steady Go.” The album’s two epics — the long-unfolding “Promises Promises” and the explosion/crescendo-laden “Kiss Me Deadly” — exhibit James’ ambitious songcraft and Idol’s narrative storytelling.

1. “From the Heart” (2:08)
2. “One Hundred Punks” (3:08)
3. “Listen” (3:24)
4. “Ready Steady Go” (2:58)
5. “Kleenex” (2:06)
6. “Promises Promises” (5:18)
7. “Day by Day” (2:05)
8. “The Invisible Man” (2:56)
9. “Kiss Me Deadly” (4:24)
10. “Too Personal” (2:17)
11. “Youth Youth Youth” (6:07)

Recorded November–December 1977
Studio TW Studios, Fulham, London
Producer Martin Rushent
Billy Idol − vocals
Tony James − bass, vocals
Bob “Derwood” Andrews − guitar, vocals
Mark Laff − drums, vocals
Alan Winstanley – engineer
Gered Mankowitz – photography, design concept

“Ready Steady Go” / “No No No”
Released: Feb 1978

Generation X reached No. 29 on the UK Albums Chart.


Valley of the Dolls

Generation X released their second album, Valley of the Dolls, on January 29, 1979, on Chrysalis.

1. “Running with the Boss Sound” Idol, James, Bob Andrews (5:03)
2. “Night of the Cadillacs” (3:20)
3. “Paradise West” (5:28)
4. “Fridays Angels” (3:19)
5. “King Rocker” (2:16)

1. “Valley of the Dolls” (3:34)
2. “English Dream” (4:57)
3. “Love Like Fire” (3:02)
4. “The Prime of Kenny Silvers (Part One)” (3:55)
5. “The Prime of Kenny Silvers (Part Two)” (3:22)

Studio Wessex Sound Studios, London
Producer Ian Hunter
Billy Idol − vocals
Tony James − bass, vocals
Bob “Derwood” Andrews − guitar, vocals
Mark Laff − drums, vocals
Additional musician
Clive Bunker – drums
Gary Edwards – engineer
Peter Wagg – art direction
Janusz Guttner – design
Rod Delroy, Paddy Eckersley – photography

“King Rocker” / “Gimme Some Truth” John Lennon 2:23
Released: 5 January 1979 reached #11 in the UK Singles Chart

“Valley of the Dolls” / “Shakin’ All Over” Johnny Kidd, Gus Robinson 2:45
Released: 30 March 1979 reached #23

“Fridays Angels” / “Trying for Kicks” / “This Heat”
Released: June 1979


“Dancing with Myself”

In October 1980, Generation X released “Dancing with Myself,” an advance single backed with “Ugly Rash.”

A. “Dancing with Myself” (3:30)
B. “Ugly Rash” (4:30)

12″: Chrysalis – CHS 12 2444 (UK)
“Dancing with Myself” (4:06)
“Loopy Dub” (5:08)
“Ugly Dub” (3:05)


Kiss Me Deadly

Generation X released their third album, Kiss Me Deadly, on January 23, 1981, on Chrysalis.

1. “Dancing with Myself” (3:45)
2. “Untouchables” Idol (3:37)
3. “Happy People” (4:28)
4. “Heavens Inside” Idol (2:56)
5. “Triumph” Idol (3:24)

1. “Revenge” (4:19)
2. “Stars Look Down” (4:39)
3. “What Do You Want” (4:04)
4. “Poison” (2:59)
5. “Oh Mother” Idol, James, Terry Chimes (3:33)

Studio AIR Studios, London
Producer Keith Forsey
Billy Idol − vocals, guitar
Tony James − bass guitar
Terry Chimes − drums
James Stevenson − guitar (credited on sleeve but didn’t participate in the recording)
Steve Jones − additional guitars (tracks 1, 2)
Danny Kustow − additional guitars (track 1)
John McGeoch − additional guitars (tracks 3-10)
Steve New − additional guitars (tracks 1, 2)
Nigel Walker − engineer “at the controls”
Rick Isbell − engineer “button man and key grip”
Brian Aris − photography


  • Generation X (1978)
  • Valley of the Dolls (1979)
  • Kiss Me Deadly (1981)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *