If you remember my discussions last week, while at a record show here in Charlotte, I came across that Billy Idol Picture Disc for “Eyes Without A Face”, but that wasn’t all I found. I also found a couple 7″ Singles from Billy Idol as well. First up was this release of “Hot in the City” with the B-Side “Catch My Fall”. The release was actually done in 1987 to promote the release of the classic Idol album ‘Vital Idol’. This version is the U.S. version of the single and nothing overly special, I like collecting all of Billy’s singles and if you get one with a half way decent picture slip cover, it is worth grabbing…in my opinion.
“Hot in the City” is about Billy’s time in New York and his love for the city. It is a slower dance track with some lovely ladies assisting with background vocals. He uses some synthesizers on top of the fantastic bass and drum rhythm section. It is really a stellar track and his scream of “New York” towards the end is epic. The version on this single is straight off the debut album, ‘Billy Idol’ from 1982. This is not a remix and it is not on the album ‘Vital Idol’ so a little strange. It is the same front cover as the original single back in the day, but the cover has the ‘Vital Idol’ album and not the debut, plus a different B-Side.
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.
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.
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.
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.