Dancing With Himself, as Only Billy Idol Can

Dancing with Myself By Billy Idol Touchstone Books, 336 pp., $28

When a young, snotty, peroxide-headed English punk rocker needed a moniker more in touch with his current life than what his birth certificate said, he recalled what a chemistry professor had once written across the top of a school report: "William is IDLE."

But since the country already had a famous Idle (that would be Monty Python's Eric), and the lethargy of the word did not match his explosive lifestyle or stage presence, he repositioned a few letters -- and, by default, its meaning. Thus, William Broad became Billy Idol, one of the most reliable hitmakers and video stars of the '80s.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero