One the first rock artists to achieve massive success in early '80s thanks to widespread exposure on MTV, Billy Idol came to fame mixing his Elvis sneer and bad-boy good looks with an appealing blend of pop hooks, punk attitude and danceable rock. British singer Idol originally fronted the popular 70's UK punk band Generation X before embarking on a solo career.
The vocalist quickly rocketed to stardom worldwide, scoring hits such as "White Wedding" and "Dancing With Myself" from his self-titled debut. His big commercial breakthrough came in 1984 with the release of his album 'Rebel Yell.' Powered by songs written with flamboyant guitar wizard Steve Stevens, the record spawned big time MTV/radio hits such as the title anthem, "Eyes Without a Face," and "Flesh for Fantasy," eventually going double platinum and establishing Idol as an arena headliner stateside.
Though hits would continue to come for Idol, his huge success came with sizeable distractions (Idol's drug problems and crash-and-burn relationships were well-documented in an episode of VH-1's "Behind the Music") that slowed his production. After "To Be a Lover" and "Sweet Sixteen" from the 1987 album Whiplash Smile and "Cradle of Love" from 1990's Charmed Life, Idol's dismal '93 effort Cyberpunk all but killed his career with its half-baked futuristic theme and techno beats.
The vocalist would resurface not in music but in film with his entertaining cameo in Adam Sandler's "The Wedding Singer" playing himself. A reunion tour playing classic songs with Stevens and a best-selling greatest hits collection followed. Idol hadn't released a proper new album since Devil's Playground in 2005 (not counting his Christmas album Happy Holidays from the following year), but the singer finally issued a new collection of songs with the slick Trevor Horn produced disc Kings & Queens of the Underground last fall. Idol plays new songs alongside fan favorites when he, Stevens and his current band come to Oakland for this sold-out show at the Fox Theater. Bronco opens the show.
Sunday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m. $55 (sold out)