Billy Idol, whose real name is William Michael Albert Broad, was born in London on November 30, 1955. He began his career in the early 1970s and was initially a guitarist in the punk rock band Chelsea. Idol then formed the punk rock band Generation X with Tony James, and Idol became the band’s lead singer. With Generation X, Idol released four studio albums, six compilation albums, three live albums, three EPs, and 11 singles. After Generation X disbanded in 1981, Billy Idol moved to New York City as he had decided to launch his career as a solo artist. He released his self-titled debut album in 1982. During his career, Billy Idol has released seven studio albums, seven video albums, six compilation albums, two EPs, one live album, and 37 singles. Here are all the Billy Idol studio albums ranked.
7. Devil’s Playground (2005)
Of all the Billy Idol Albums, ‘Devil’s Playground’ was the least commercially successful, although it did reach number 15 in Germany. When Idol released this album in 2005, it was his first release for 12 years. While his previous albums were released on the Chrysalis label, this album was Idol’s first release with Sanctuary. Idol reunited with Steve Stevens and Keith Forsey to create this album, and Idol wrote or co-wrote all the songs except ‘Plastic Jesus,’ which was one of the singles released from the album, and it was written by Ed Rush and George Cromarty. The other singles released from the album were ‘Scream,’ ‘Rat Race,’ ‘Sherri,’ and ‘Yellin’ at the Xmas Tree.’ In the same year as he released this album, Billy Idol won the Classic Rock Roll of Honour Award for Comeback of the Year.
6. Billy Idol (1982)
Billy Idol released his self-titled debut album in 1982. Although it did not chart in his homeland, the UK, it reached number 45 in the United States, which he by then made his home. However, it was most successful in New Zealand, where it reached number five on the album charts. Of the ten tracks on the original album, Idol was the sole writer of five. He co-wrote one track with Phillip Hawk and two tracks each with Keith Forsey and Steve Stevens. The two singles released from the album were ‘Hot in the City’ and ‘White Wedding.’
5. Kings & Queens of the Underground (2014)
Billy Idol made a comeback in 2014 with the release of his seventh studio album, ‘King & Queens of the Underground,’ and it was his first new music for nine years. The album was more successful than its predecessor, as it was a top ten hit in Germany and Switzerland. In the UK, it peaked at number 35, and it reached number 34 on the Billboard 200. Of the 11 tracks on the album, Billy Idol co-wrote five songs with Steve Stevens and Billy Morrison. Other songwriters who contributed to the album were Eric Bazilian, Glen Gloss, Greg Kurstin, Dan Nigro, George William, Lewis Kurstin, and Brian Tichy. Idol released only two singles from the album, including ‘Can’t Break Me Down’ and ‘Save Me Now.’
4. Cyberpunk (1993)
‘Cyberpunk’ was Billy Idol’s fifth studio album, and it did not achieve the same level of success as Idol’s previous three albums, reaching only number 48 on the Billboard 200 and number 20 on the charts in the UK. However, it did better elsewhere, reaching number five in Australia and six in Finland. The name of the album reflects the cyberpunk-style narrative of the tracks. Idol was also experimenting with new music styles, incorporating industrial influences and incorporating synthesized vocals. He recorded the content of the album at his home studio in Los Angeles. From this album, Idol released the singles ‘Heroin,’ ‘Shock to the System,’ ‘Adam in Chains,’ and ‘Wasteland.’
3. Charmed Life (1990)
In 1990, Idol released his fourth studio album, ‘Charmed Life.’ It is his only album to have topped the charts in any country, as it was a number one hit in Finland. The album was also a top ten hit in Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway. Its lead single, ‘Cradle of Love,’ appeared on the soundtrack of ‘The Adventures of Ford Fairlane’. The other singles released from the album were ‘Prodigal Blues’ and ‘L.A. Woman.’ The latter was a cover of the song by The Doors.
2. Whiplash Smile (1986)
Idol’s third studio album was ‘Whiplash Smile,’ which achieved the same level of success in the United States as its predecessor, reaching number six on the Billboard 200. It was Idol’s first top ten album in the UK, and it was also a top ten hit in Australia, Finland, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, and Switzerland. Idol released the singles ‘To Be a Lover,’ ‘Don’t Need a Gun,’ and ‘Sweet Sixteen’ from this album. He also released ‘Soul Standing By’ in Australia and New Zealand.
1. Rebel Yell (1983)
According to Return of Rock, the best Billy Idol studio album was ‘Rebel Yell,’ which was Billy Idol’s second studio album. It was his first top ten album on the Billboard 200, peaking at number six. It reached number two on the charts in both Germany and New Zealand, and it peaked at number 36 in the UK. Most of the tracks on the album were a collaboration between Idol, Steve Stevens, and Keith Forsey. Stevens also featured as the guitarist on many of the tracks. The singles released from this album were ‘Rebel Yell,’ ‘Eyes without a Face,’ ‘Flesh or Fantasy,’ and ‘Catch My Fall.’