Billy Idol – “Speed” (from the Speed Soundtrack) – Single Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the lack of success of ‘Cyberpunk’, Billy Idol was pretty quiet for many years with one minor exception.  He reunited with Steve Stevens for a song on the 1994 Soundtrack to the movie Speed starring Keanu Reeves.  Billy was having some disagreements with his label and having many issues with drugs (still), he needed something to get back in the fans good graces.

Billy and Steve were contacted by the soundtracks music director, Ralph Sall, to come up with the movie’s title song and Billy thought this would be a good opportunity.  The song was inspired by the movie and the rest of the soundtrack included songs that were either inspired by the movie or were just songs about Speed such as the Kiss song “Mr. Speed”.

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Track Listing for the Soundtrack

I am not reviewing the whole soundtrack as this is a Billy Idol series so we will focus only on Billy’s song.  And what a song it is.  It didn’t do well upon its release as this was 1994 and Billy’s style of Rock was no longer in fashion.  The movie did way better than the song for sure.

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Billy Idol – ‘Cyberpunk’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After ‘Charmed Life’, Billy wanted to do something different.  He didn’t want to keep repeating his previous work over and over again.  Let me tell you he completely succeeded.  The album is nothing like his previous work and I think was way ahead of its time. ‘Cyberpunk’ delivered Billy’s most experimental and most controversial album.

Billy became fascinated with technology and the cyberpunk movement of the early 90’s.  He saw how the advancement could be used to make music and in fact, this was one of the first albums to use ProTools for almost the entire recording of the album. He felt the use of the computers allowed him to do things faster and he felt it gave the whole feel of a garage band.  I don’t know about that last part, but it was the very early stages of how albums and music would be recorded down the road.

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When he released the single for “Shock to the System” he released it with a 3 1/2″ Floppy Disc.  MP’s eat your heart out.  The disc housed pictures, bios and all the things you now see issued in todays electronic press kits (EPK).  He was also was one of the first albums to actually have an email address in the booklet that came with the album (don’t try it, it no longer works).

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Turntables & Vinyl #20 – The Paris Adventure

For Spring Break this year, we had the pleasure of visiting a quaint little town in this little country.  The country was France and the little town was Paris.  It was a dream trip come true.  I had hoped to have a little time to have a little rock & roll adventure while I was there, but there was so much to see and so little time to do it.

I did hit a couple record stores, but didn’t get to as many as I had hoped.  I didn’t get to see Jim Morrison’s grave or visit the Place Vendome to see where the band got its name.  But we did do so much that I thought I would share a little of it with you.  Oh yeah, this a music site so we will get to what I bought by the end.

Now, we skipped the whole Hotel thing and rented an apartment for the family and an awesome neighborhood with lots of cafes and lots of pastries.  Below is the door to the courtyard.  It was a beautiful blue door and made it easy to find.

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There was so much room in the apartment which is surprising for Paris.  It was absolutely stunning. These were our windows right above that blue door.

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And the view down our street was awesome as well. The architecture was always amazing. The streets were so cute. This one was a one way with real small sidewalks and we loved being in that area.  Everyone was so nice and helpful.

We of course visited all the museums and the typical Paris sites, but nothing is better than the Eiffel Tower.  Every time we saw it, I had to stop and just admire.  It is breathtaking.  There is just something about it that is so special and I don’t know what it is.  Here are a couple of my favorites…

Oh!  And at night!!  She is even more beautiful…

Now, a week before we arrived, there was devastating news that Notre Dame Cathedral caught on fire.  That bothered me a lot as that was one of the top places I wanted to see while we were there. Now, we weren’t able to get inside, but we did go on Easter Sunday and take a look.  This was as close as we could get.  We weren’t the only ones that had that idea as the area was slammed with people.  I am glad I got to see her.

I have no real exciting stories to tell on this trip.  It went off without a hitch and we got to see so much. Nothing unusual or strange happened, the weather was beautiful and all was right with the world so I apologize for no real adventure.  Just a lot of beautiful places visited, memories had and unforgettable times with family.

Here are a few more things we saw…

We saw the Louvre which houses the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo statue among many, many other things.  The Mona Lisa was tiny. She isn’t this grand painting and at times hard to imagine why this painting is so famous, but it is and we saw it.  The picture I took does it no justice so I am hoping my daughter with the good camera got some good pictures.

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We also went to the many churches and cathedrals and all were amazing.

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And the museums were boundless and if I never step into another one for rest of my life I am okay with that…just kidding.

And let’s not forget Versailles.  Wow!  What a place that small, tiny palace is.  I think they liked Gold…A LOT OF GOLD!!!

And the fountains were amazing at the palace as well…

Everywhere you went in the city there were statues and fountains as well.  I mean it, every time you came out on a new street, you had to stop and soak it all in.  There is nothing like that where I come from.

And of course the Arc de Triomphe…

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Okay, Okay…I have bored you enough with the pictures.  Let us get to the music.  The goal on the trip was to hit as many record stores as I could find and only buy things I couldn’t find here in the States.  It didn’t always follow that rule, but I stuck to it pretty hard.  The first store I went was a bust.  Nothing.  The rock section was weak.  The next store, which happened to be a block from our apartment was NEVER OPEN!! I think they went out of business.

I was getting worried.  We were traveling around so much, hitting museum after museum and walking mile after mile (we averaged around 8 miles a day walking) that there was little time to record shop.  I finally got out one afternoon and walked to a place called Betinos Record Shop.

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It was a great little store, but I didn’t find a lot.  I did find the UK pressing of Billy Idol’s Vital Idol with the different cover and one less track than the US version I have.  I was pretty excited about that.

I also found a 12″ Single of Billy Idol’s “To Be A Lover” from Whiplash Smile which I  could probably found in the states, but this was the French Edition.

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And the last thing at this store was a 12″ Single of Whitesnake’s Give Me More Time from the album Slide It In.  The B-Side was the song Need Your Love So Bad which was the bonus track on the Cassette.

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And that was it…only 17 Euros spent.  Not too bad.  After this stop, I continued over to Born to Be Bad Records and guess what, they were closed.  The website showed as open, but the site was wrong.  At this point, it was late and I headed back to the apartment so we could all go to dinner.

The next day, I was able to squeeze in a little time at the best record store I could find…Rock’n’Roll Voltage.  The specialize in Hard Rock, Thrash, Glam, Death, Doom and Black Metal…Heavy Metal Overload (HMO) would feel right at home in this store.

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I found a lot here!!  A LOT!!!  If I wanted to spend $1,000’s on 12″ Singles for Def Leppard, Kiss, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, etc…I could have gone broke.  I needed unlimited funds in this store which I didn’t have.  I walked out with two Non-Kiss items at this store.  The first was this beauty…

A 12″ Picture Disc of the Coverdale * Page song “Take Me For A Little While”.  It gives you two versions of that song (LP and Acoustic) as well as “Shake My Tree” (The Guitar Crunch Mix) and “Easy Does It”.

And to top it off, I found a 12″ of David Coverdale’s “The Last Note of Freedom” from the Days of Thunder Soundtrack.  This will work great in the David Coverdale series that will be starting soon on the site.

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Then I hit the mother lode of Bootlegs for Kiss.  The guy specializes in Bootlegs and he showed me all the bootlegs he had and he had tons!!!  We stayed focused with Kiss and I ended up buying 7 different Kiss concerts from his selection.  I am telling you, I needed unlimited funds and I would have enough material to write for years on this blog and never have to buy another thing.

Anyway, here are the shows I bought…

Kiss – The Summer of Satan: The Devils Ride Out! (Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ – July 10, 1976):

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Kiss – North Hampton, PA – March 19, 1975 (Roxy Theatre):

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Kiss – With Fire & Thunder (He Victory Burlesque, Toronto, ON, Canada – September 14th, 1974):

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Kiss – Return to Capital Center (Largo, MD – July 8, 1979):

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Kiss – Look Wot You Dun To Me: Kiss On Japan Tour 1988 (The Castle Hall, Osaka, Japan – April 18, 1988):

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Kiss – The Hottest Show On Earth (Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA – September 2010):

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Kiss – Accept No Imitations (T. H. Barton Coliseum, Little Rock, AK – November 29, 1985):

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And that was my haul.  Getting them back to the U.S. was a pain.  I had to borrow my daughters Paris bag she bought as it was the only bag that fit the albums and let me tell you, she wasn’t happy about that.  I had to carry them under my arm the whole way (except overhead bin when on the plane).  They weren’t light by any means, but no complaints from me.  All these Kiss Bootlegs will get reviewed for A Kiss Bootleg Series I will now do as a result.

There you have it. The Paris trip in a nutshell.  Thanks for taking the journey with me and I hope you enjoyed it.  It was the trip of a lifetime for us and memories the kids will have forever.  We did New York City last year, Paris this year…what will next Spring Break hold??? We will have to wait and see (I am thinking Hawaii or London; the kids are thinking LA/San Francisco)

Billy Idol – ‘Charmed Life’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

Billy Idol’s world was different now after ‘Whiplash Smile’ and ‘Vital Idol’.  Steve Stevens was gone, his manager Bill Aucoin was gone and he needed a fresh start.  After reconciling with his girlfriend, Perri Lister, they moved from New York City to Los Angeles to give things a go.

Billy and Perri had a baby boy, Billy bought himself a motorcycle, Billy got the acting bug and Billy couldn’t stay faithful to Perri.  A lot was going on.  Oh yeah, and he continued to use drugs.  So, where to begin.  I will give a Cliff Notes version as it would be a rather long synopsis if I didn’t.

I guess we will go with the fact that he had a baby and was now a dad, but it didn’t seem to stop his infidelity. He continually cheated on Perri and even fell for a girl 13 years younger than him.  Well, he knocked her up and she gave Billy a beautiful baby girl.  This of course was the end of Billy & Perri when she found out.

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Billy also met a lot of people in the movie business and actually got a big role in the Oliver Stone movie ‘The Doors’ about Jim Morrison and the band.   But before he could do that role, Billy went and had himself a little motorcycle accident which nearly cost him one of his legs.  As a result, he couldn’t do the role and had to settle for a much lesser role in the movie.  In fact, it was so bad he wasn’t able to promote his new album he had been working on called ‘Charmed Life’.  He did appear in the video for the first single (more on that later), but not much else.

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Billy Idol – ‘Vital Idol’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

Mid-way through the tour for Whiplash Smile, there was a new head at Chrysalis Records named Mike Bone.  He wanted to immediately make his mark with Billy and suggested putting a compilation together of Remixed songs along with a live version of “Mony Mony”.  Billy was on board and while on tour, they recorded the live version, slapped a bunch of remixes together and bam…you had an album.

All this above was from Billy’s book, ‘Dancing With Myself’, but doesn’t make sense to me.  As the time in the book was around 86/87 and this compilation had already been released in 1985 in the UK.  In September 1987, ‘Vital Idol’ was released in the US.  Plus, my version doesn’t have a “Live” version of “Mony Mony”.  At least it doesn’t sound live.  Not sure Billy’s memory was correct in the order of things as the book doesn’t mention the UK version and the live take of “Mony, Mony” was on the greatest hits collection that came out in 1988 not the 1987 version of Vital Idol.  Sorry, not completely true as a 1988 Japanese version of Vital Idol does have the live version.  Confusing.

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The UK and US version also differed ever so slightly.  The UK version had one less song and the track order was different.  The US version had a remix of a track off Whiplash Smile which the UK version was out before that album was even released so it wouldn’t have it.

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Billy Idol – ‘Whiplash Smile’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the tour for Rebel Yell, Billy Idol continued to live like he was on tour.  The drug use was getting worse, his relationship with Perri Lister was over and even his manager, Bill Aucoin was absent due to his own drug issues.  Billy’s world was slowly spiraling out of control.  And so was his ego.

When work was started on his next album ‘Whiplash Smile’, Billy’s ego started to get in the way.  He wanted control.  He wanted to write all the songs.  He wanted to add more synthesizers, more sounds, more stuff that wasn’t Steve Stevens.  And it is noticeable in the music.

What is also noticeable, is that with everyone leaving his life, the loneliness found its way into the music.  And an album that found about as much success as its predecessor, it wasn’t not quite the Billy Idol album people wanted or critics even liked.  It was an album that would lead to the end of a relationship between musicians that really needed each other.

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Billy Idol – ‘Rebel Yell’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the success of his self-titled debut album, Billy Idol, teamed back up with producer Keith Forsey and guitarist Steve Stevens.  And in late 1983, we were treated to his second album, ‘Rebel Yell’.  The collaboration with Steve Stevens grew immensely with this album.  On the first, Steve only had his hand in writing two songs.  On ‘Rebel Yell’, he contributed to all but one song that was only written by Idol.  The bond had grown so much, that Steve even made the back cover of the album.

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The duo of Billy and Steve was complete and you couldn’t have one without the other, at least for a long while anyway.  If you notice on the back cover, the songs are broken out into Sides 3 and Sides 4.  This was because the debut was 1 and 2, so these naturally would be 3 and 4, he would do this at least one more time for the next studio album.  I liked the concept.

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Billy Idol – ‘Billy Idol’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

Billy Idol was loving his time in New York and it showed in his writing as the album seemed to be inspired by what he was doing in the city.  After the mild success of his 1981 E.P., Don’t Stop, he and the band went to work on the debut album simply titled ‘Billy Idol’.  It is his album and he is the main focal point so why not call it ‘Billy Idol’.

Released in 1982, Billy was discovering who he was as an artist and what it was like to now be the main focal point.  His meeting of Steve Stevens seemed to be a match made in Heaven…well rock & roll heaven anyway.  Steven even contributed a couple writing credits on this release.  The two together would become one of the great teams in music.  You have McCartney & Lennon, Elton John & Bernie Taupin and now you have Idol & Stevens…okay, that is stretching it too far, but you know what I mean.

When the album was originally released in 1982, the album cover looked like this…

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I don’t have this cover, yet, but I will find it one day and get a hold of it.  I don’t like this one as much as the alternate cover I have.  It is a little too feminine compared to the toughness of the one I have with the black leather jacket (not that there is anything wrong with that).  The new cover fits the attitude and the snarl so much better.

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Billy Idol – ‘Don’t Stop E.P.’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the demise of Generation X and Gen X, Billy would follow Bill Aucoin, his manager and Kiss’ former manager, to New York City to start a solo career.  When Billy signed on with Gen X as their manager, he quickly learned that the star of this band was not the band, but its lead singer, Billy Idol.

When Billy got to New York, he met a lot of interesting people and really loved the club scene…and of course, the drug scene was something he enjoyed as well.  If you read his book, “Dancing With Myself you can find out all about it so I won’t spoil the details here.

Billy was introduced to a guitarists at this time that would become just as big a part of Billy’s solo career as he was.  He met Steve Stevens.  There is no Billy Idol sound without Steve and his guitar playing is what makes Idol’s solo songs that much better.

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With Steve Stevens in tow along with Phil Feit on bass and Gregg Gerson on drums, the band set out to record Billy’s first solo album.  As a teaser and build up to his career, it was decided an E.P. would be put out, I guess to whet everyone’s whistle and draw up buzz on the singer.  ‘Don’t Stop’ was the result.  It was more of a dance album than the former punk sound Billy had and you could see the magic being developed on what would become an amazing run of albums in the 80’s.

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Generation X – The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978 – (The Billy Idol Series – Bonus Edition)

Before I get to the next studio album in the Billy Idol series, I thought I would throw in a bonus Generation X Bootleg album out of Italy.  This 2LP Set is called the BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 – 1978.  It is live show from December 8th, 1978 out of Sheffield, England.  It is an unofficial release so therefore, a bootleg.  And it is fantastic.

I was in New York at this great little record store in Greenwich Village and came across this disc.  I was talking with the clerk asking about any Generation X on vinyl and he told me I needed this one and man he was right.

Generation X was criticized on their studio albums for trying to be more commercial than Punk.  Well, the live album shows they were a real Punk band.  I find this live show to really show off what this band was all about.  You can hear the attitude in the guitar playing and the drumming.  And of course, Billy’s snarling and attitude is pure punk with a big FU to everyone.

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