William Broad, better known by his stage name, Billy Idol, is one of the biggest rock stars out there, and rightfully so. Emerging from England’s punk rock scene in the latter half of the 1970s as a part of Generation X, it was his move to America and pursuance of a solo career that shot him into the annals of rock fame, with numerous rock/pop crossover hits. The road has been long and grueling, but Idol has forever cemented his place in rock and roll lore and fame.
Dancing With Myself is the official autobiography from Idol, chronicling his early years, his rise to fame, and the numerous obstacles and inner demons he faced once he made it to the top, as well as coming to terms with balancing the rocker life with a more traditional one.
The book explores Idol’s young life and school years, including a short-lived stay in the United States for a few years as a child, the later years of his youth and his discover of music, the initial struggles of playing punk music in a disenfranchised climate that was trying to ban it, starting his solo career and forging a path with other musicians, his professional business relationships including that with former KISS manager Bill Aucoin, an accident that crippled him severely, and his relationship with his family members.
Dancing With Myself is a solid autobiography, and I cannot see any fan of Idol’s being disappointed with the end results here. It is well written, with chapters that are fairly simple and to the point, yet hold a wealth of information on nearly every facet of our hero’s fast-paced rock and roll lifestyle. You’ve heard the songs on the radio for years, but this book puts things in perspective and tells you the story of how these classic hits came to be, with no shortage of stories and obscure information.
It is also good to see that the book does not just cover the “popular” stuff from Idol’s career; even some of his lesser known releases and eras are given a decent enough emphasis here (does anyone remember the ill-fated 1993 Cyberpunk album?) With fine details that go from what has become legend to that which often gets overlooked, there is plenty to love about this release for an Idol fan.
In the end, Dancing With Myself is an easy recommendation to anyone who has long admired Idol’s music and his place in popular culture. Definitely pick this one up.