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Music Review: Billy Idol – Greatest Hits

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There is something appealing about Billy Idol. The former Generation X singer had the ability to fuse a pop song with hard rock, and act like a punk rocker in the process.
The songs have aged well, and to this day, are still as appealing as when they were first released.

The irony about his punk look, is that he was embraced by mainstream audiences, rather than the audience he was going for.  He originally started out as a punk rocker, pledging his allegiance to the Sex Pistols, but ended up being a punk cliché.

This CD, is a collection of probably some of his biggest hits, even if it does miss some of his edgier songs that made Idol, Idol. Some of the more brilliant tracks of this are "Dancing With Myself," "Mony Mony," "Rebel Yell," and the blistering "White Wedding." All tracks that made Idol a big name in the 80s.

However the late 80s were not so charming for Idol, who dabbled in one too many drugs, and disappeared from the spotlight. He managed to make a comeback with "Sweet Sixteen", and his blistering cover of The Doors "LA Woman", which became the single for Speed.

The album rounds off with a acoustic version of "Rebel Yell", and a hardier version of Simple Minds, "Don’t You (Forget About Me)". Punk Rockers would be horrified that most people still consider Idol punk rock, but this album is a gem, and must have for fans of Idol’s snarling voice, spiked hair, and leather pants. But then they would even be more horrified to discuss the punk rocker had released a Christmas album, yet again drawing him into the stereotype of what a punk rockers should and should not do.

I am always drawn by good beats, and everyone of Idol’s songs have a beat that makes you want to toe tap your way through the whole song. "Cradle Of Love" is a fine example of that, and the drumming is the most evident instrument of the song.

"LA Woman" is a brilliant cover, and it showed that in the early nighties Idol still had it, although it was a shame that he could not go any further than that song. I think Jim Morrison would be thrilled with Idol’s attempt to cover him. It’s funny but every time I think of "LA Woman", I recall Idol had a horrific bike accident before the release of his Charmed Life album.

One thing can be noted, is that Idol probably started the phase of wanna-be punk rockers, and could be the father of imitation punk. The album, for me, is filled with nostalgic motifs, and if you want to hear someone who was probably an influence for the punkers of today, then this album is definitely worthy of a listen. Personally, I think it’s worthy anyway.

Defining moments: "Rebel Yell", "Dancing With Myself", "Mony Mony", "LA Woman" and "White Wedding".

I give this album 4/5

Record Label: Capitol
Year: 2001
Track listing:
1. Dancing With Myself
2. Mony Mony
3. Hot In The City
4. White Wedding (Part 1)
5. Rebel Yell Listen
6. Eyes Without A Face
7. Flesh For Fantasy
8. Catch My Fall
9. To Be A Lover
10. Don't Need A Gun (Single Edit)
11. Sweet Sixteen
12. Cradle Of Love
13. L.A. Woman (Single Edit)
14. Shock To The System List
15. Rebel Yell (Live And Acoustic)
16. Don't You (Forget About Me)

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