Generation X – ‘Generation X’ Deluxe Edition – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

There is nothing like waiting over 40 years to release a deluxe edition of your debut album.  That is exactly what is happened with Generation X whose 1978 self-titled debut album finally received a deluxe edition in 2019.  And was it worth the wait?  That is what we are here to discover.

For those that don’t know and haven’t read the entire Billy Idol series.  Generation X is Billy’s band prior to him going solo in the 80’s.  The band wasn’t just Billy’s, but it also included Tony James, Bob “Derwood” Andrews and Mark Laff.  Generation X was a punk band out of the UK that tended to lean a little towards the Pop/Punk side of things rather than full on punk and they caught a lot of slack for that.  But who cares as here we are 40+ years later celebrating this release.

The Deluxe Edition is a 3 LP set consisting of a remaster of the debut album, an LP of Non-Album singles and B-Sides and a third LP of outtakes and remixes.  The reason to buy if for the 2 extra LPs…at least it was for me as I already had the original LP on vinyl.

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Generation X:

The first LP is a remastered version of the debut album.  The sound is sensational, crips and clear.  However, I prefer the original in all it’s former glory as that was the way it was intended to be heard.  I won’t go through a song-by-song breakdown as I have already done that before on the very first post of the Billy Idol Series.  You can read that here – Generation X – ‘Generation X’.

What you get for the set is a complete replica of that original disk…

And then a nice update on the inner sleeve and LP itself.  It is all very nice quality and high-end material. Very sturdy…

A-Sides and B-Sides:

The second LP is the cool one for me.  This has the a couple of Non-Album singles and all the B-Sides from the album.  I believe you could have gotten all these singles before (or most of them anyway), but I didn’t have them on vinyl so it was a no-brainer for me.  Since I actually have the U.S. version of the debut, I already had a few of these songs, but not all.

“Your Generation” was available on the U.S. version of the debut, but not the UK.  It was released prior to an album and I think displayed fully what the band was about.  It was uptempo, full of wild abandonment, aggression and a total blast.  Their punk roots were on full display and it summed them up nicely.

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The B-Side of the song was “Day by Day” which is on the album.  The album version was a little repetitive at times for me, but still packed full of attitude.  The one thing going for this song is Derwood’s guitar work which seems to be something I focus on more and more with this band.  A bright star that never fully shined.  This mix didn’t leave me feeling like it was too repetitive.  It was a richer and fuller sound.  I really like this version.

“Wild Youth” is another non-album track for the UK release.  It was also released prior to the album. It too made the U.S. version and should have been on both versions as it is awesome.  It is a shining example of punk attitude and youth rising up to be heard.

“Wild Dub” is the B-Side and was also on the U.S. release.  It is a complete remix of “Wild Youth” in the same vein you would get from Billy later with his Vital Idol releases.  It is full on dub and honestly, kind of annoying. I prefer the original song above.

“No No No” is the B-Side to “Ready Steady Go”.  Not on either releases of the album.  Derwood’s guitar riffs kick off the song.  It is 2 minutes full of speed and youth angst.  The cool thing is it ends with a little Elvis shout out and I am sure Billy had the snear going.

Next up is “Trying for Kicks” which was an outtake from 1977.  It actually ended up as a B-Side on the “Friday’s Angel” single from the “Valley of the Dolls’ album. Since I didn’t have this song, this was what I was after.  It is really early Generation X.  For an outtake, it is pretty awesome.  It is in the same vein as all their early stuff so nothing new to add other than it is a great addition to the collection.

The final track on this LP is “This Heat” which is another 1977 outtake and B-Side on “Friday’s Angel”.  A little slower tempo song and Billy sounds so young.  I see why it wasn’t an album track as it does have the same vibe or energy as those other tracks, but still a good song.  A very decent B-Side.

Outtakes and Rough Mixes:

The final LP consists mostly of remixes by both Phil Wainman who produced some songs, but not the album and Alan Winstanley who was the engineer on the album.  I am not a huge fan of remixes especially since most of these don’t stray too far from the originals. You get a some different arrangements, some added bits and difference in song lengths, but overall nothing better than the originals…in my opinion anyway.

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For me, this disk was great for 3 tracks.  The first is “Gimme Some Truth” which was an outtake and released on the U.S. version of the album. A punk cover of the John Lennon song.  It was a strange choice to be the song to kick off that album.  It captures the band’s essence so it works for Generation X.  A good choice of a cover.  They make it their own.

Another song is “Rock on Dub” which is an outtake and not on any album.  It is a rocking song that seems to be unbridled and out of control.  The dub style is obvious as it is in the title.  Another example of a great song, but not quite right for the album.  This is my favorite on this disk as I didn’t have this one either and plus it’s a lot of fun.

The last song on here I wanted was the Single version of “Promises Promises”.  The original is over 5 minutes.  This was streamlined down to 3:42, over 1 1/2 minutes chopped off.  Here’s what I said on the original version…“Promises, Promises” is more of a 70’s glam rock song than punk. At over 5 minutes it is not your typical length.  The song was inspired by Mott the Hoople both musically and lyrically.  I liked Derwood’s guitar work on this one as well.  It is a nice change of pace from the rest of the album.  The album had some really great moments on it and this was one of them.  I still stand by that.  This version just packs all the greatness into a smaller more manageable package.  I like this shorter version a little more.

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Overall, if you don’t have the original album on vinyl, then skip getting that and go after this box set.  It isn’t over-priced and all the little extras will add to the experience.  It captures the essence of the band and you will get a good education in to the roots of Billy Idol.  And that was the joy for me.  Like I said earlier, I could do without the remixes.  If the 2nd LP would have added the 3 songs from the 3rd LP and made the set two disks, I would give it a higher score.  For now, it is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.  The original album got a 3.5 score, but having this overall great package, it gets a higher score.

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Now, if you want to check out the full reviews and the entire Billy Idol Series, click on any and all of the links below…

  1. Generation X – ‘Generation X’
  2. Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’
  3. Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’
  4. Generation X – ‘The BBC Transcription Disc Series No. 126 1978’
  5. Billy Idol – Don’t Stop E.P.
  6. Billy Idol – Billy Idol
  7. Billy Idol – Rebel Yell
  8. Billy Idol – Whiplash Smile
  9. Billy Idol – To Be A Lover – Single Review
  10. Billy Idol – Vital Idol
  11. Billy Idol – Charmed Life
  12. Billy Idol – Cyberpunk
  13. Billy Idol – “Speed” (song from the Speed Soundtrack)
  14. Generation X – K.M.D. Sweet Revenge
  15. Billy Idol – VH1 Storytellers (Live)
  16. Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground
  17. Billy Idol – Happy Holidays
  18. Billy Idol – The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself
  19. Billy Idol – Kings & Queens of the Underground
  20. Billy Idol – BFI Live (#RSD 2019)
  21. Billy Idol – Revitalized
  22. Generation X – Your Generation (7″ Record Store Day Release)
  23. Generation X – Generation X Deluxe Edition
  24. Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked From Worst to First

January 2020 Purchases – Vinyl & CDs

Welcome to the new decade and my monthly recap of purchases that I make.  I do this as not everything I buy ends up on the site so you can see some of the items in my collection. Also, it helps me remember when I bought something and now I have it stored in the Internet universe forever (or as long as I keep paying annually for my site).

On the weekend before New Year’s Day, I went and did a little digging. Now, I know that is not January, but I had already finished and edited my December post and I didn’t have time to update.  So, these purchases get to be a part of this post.

First up was a trip to Lunchbox Records in Charlotte, NC.  My oldest daughter wanted to go and being the good dad, how could I say no.  I did some digging and found somethings, but nothing that I hadn’t seen before or that was priced right.  I found my way over to the 45’s and the 10″ records and there I saw and old Cheap Trick 10″ called ‘Found All the Parts’.  I know it probably isn’t super rare, but I had never seen one so I grabbed it.  I tell my daughter the fun thing about digging is finding that one thing you haven’t seen before.  And when you see it, you better buy it.  I haven’t always followed that rule and I have a couple regrets on that.

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Billy Idol – The Albums Ranked Worst to First (The Billy Idol Series)

For the past 8 to 9 months, I have been reviewing the entire Billy Idol catalog from Generation X back in 1978 through his solo years and even a Generation X single released in 2019 on Record Store Day.  It has been such a fun journey and I hate it has come to an end.  To wrap it up, we are going to rank all the studio albums from his very worst (and it is bad) to his very best (which is sensational).

 

THE WORST – HAPPY HOLIDAYS (2006):

 

 

I am not sure what Billy was thinking, but this should have never been released and probably never recorded.  Hell, it is so bad that even Steve Stevens wasn’t involved with recording it.  That should tell you something right there!!  It is a rehash of classic Christmas songs that we are better off listening to the originals as these do not spark any Christmas cheer.

The original songs Billy wrote throw every cliche in the book out as lyrics and they are sappy, crappy songs.  The best thing about “Happy Holidays” is that it is only 2 minutes.  The only good thing about “Christmas Love” is that it does eventually end. My Christmas gift to you is to avoid this at any cost.

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Generation X – “Your Generation” 7″ Record Store Day Release – Single Review (The Billy Idol Series)

This is the last in the Billy Idol Series.  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have in writing it.  There could be one more in the series if I get the Generation X Deluxe Set that was just released, but I have not grabbed a hold of yet.  When I get it, I will do a review of it, but for now, we will end the series with this beauty right here.  I started with a Generation X release and I will end with one as well.

For Record Store Day 2019, Generation X released a special 7″ Single of the band’s debut song “Your Generation”.  The song is not the original version, but the Winstanley Mix which is done in conjunction with the release of a Deluxe Edition of the band’s debut album.  This remix is not on the box set, but in addition to and a must grab for Generation X fans.

The original song was released as a single in 1977, however, it did not show up on the debut album.  It wasn’t until the 2002 re-issue of the debut that this song saw new light.  The B-Side of this single  is “Trying for Kicks” which was also on the 2002 re-issue and not used for the original album.

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The 7″ Single release was on red vinyl and is absolutely beautiful and a nice add to the collection.

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Generation X – ‘K.M.D. Sweet Revenge’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the release of Generation X’s second album, “Valley of the Dolls”, the band started recording the follow-up release.  However, during the recording the band started having some creative issues with each other. The album was demoed, but never finished before the band broke-up.  Billy Idol and Tony James decided to continue on and they rebranded themselves as Gen X.  They released ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ in 1980 to little or moderate success.  So, the 3rd Generation X album never saw the light of day.

Well, it never saw the light of day until 1998 when former Generation X guitarist Derwood Andrews released it due to some contract obligations without the consent of Billy Idol and Tony James.  Billy & Tony were able to block the release in the U.S., but not anywhere else.  The songs were in demo form and not fully realized tracks.

Now in 2003, Billy finally did release the songs (from a different audio source) on a Generation X Anthology that he did approve.  The songs I have that I will discuss are for the Anthology and not the actual Sweet Revenge release as I am still trying to get my hands on it.  When I do, I will update the post.

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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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Gen X – ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After touring the band’s second album, ‘Valley of the Dolls’, the band was in shambles.  During the recording of their third album, Derwood Andrews decided to leave the band.  And shortly thereafter, Billy asked drummer, Mark Laff, to leave…well, he fired him as he didn’t feel his style was appropriate for the new sound.  Generation X was done.  That third album would not be released for another 20 years.

Remaining players, Billy Idol and Tony James, decided to keep going, but now they were called Gen X.  First the band needed a new manager,  Tony found a guy by the name of Bill Aucoin.  If you are a Kiss fan, that name should ring some bells pretty loudly.  The band then got drummer Terry Chimes and they auditioned several guitarists while recording the new album.

The band’s style was no longer punk.  They were going to ride the New Wave sound that was starting to sweep across England.  That sound would be what carried Billy into his solo career.  Speaking of solo career, Bill Aucoin wasn’t overly impressed with Gen X.  His real interest was Billy Idol and what he could with him in America, but that would come just a little later down the line.

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Generation X – ‘Valley of the Dolls’ – Album Review (The Billy Idol Series)

After the moderate success of their debut album, the band went in to record their sophomore album with famed musician and producer, Ian Hunter.  Yes, the Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople.  The album would come out just a few months later in January 1979.  Before the album was released, the record company, Chrysalis, came to the band and basically told them, the album better succeed or they were to be dropped from the label…no pressure.

The album was quite different than the first album.  It had some of the punk sound from the first album, but there were elements of some glam (thanks to Ian) and even more of an American sound ala Springsteen (or at least what they felt was like Springsteen). The songs were a little more complex than the first album and the writing was more mature, but I am not sure it was good yet.

The two writing contributors were Billy Idol and Tony James so everything was based around what they wanted.  Heck, in fact when promoting the debut album, it was only Billy sent to America to promote it.  That started putting thoughts in Billy’s head about what he could do on his own. However, on this album, most of the influence on the album seem to be coming from Tony (he even picked the producer).  It was the start of things to come.

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

Welcome to first review in the Billy Idol Series.  I am going to do album reviews for all albums by the 80’s icon, Billy Idol.  We will start with his stint in the band Generation X from 1978 all the way up to his 2018 release ‘Vital Idol: Revitalized’ (assuming that is the latest release by the time I get to it).

I was going to wait until I got the debut album on vinyl to start the series, but I am not the most patient person and since I have the next 7 or so on vinyl already, I will go ahead and start now.  So, without further adieu, here is the first of many reviews…

Generation X

Back in 1976 at the tender age of 21, guitarist William Broad joined the band Chelsea after answering an ad for musicians.  Also answering that add were bass player Tony James and drummer John Towe.  They would join up with singer John O’Hara to form the band.  The band would tour and do mostly covers, but William and Tony became fast friends and felt they could do better so they grabbed John Towe and all left the band.

They would be the founding members of the band that would become known as Generation X.  Now, where did the name come from.  It wasn’t based on the fact that people born in this time were known as Gen Xers.  The name actually came from a book William’s mom was reading called Generation X which was book on popular youth culture from 1965 by British journalists Jane Deverson and Charles Hamblett.

This new band needed a guitarists so they hired 17 year old guitarist Bob “Derwood” Andrews from a band called Paradox.  That wasn’t the only change.  They needed a guitarist because William decided to drop the guitar and become the lead singer.

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Turntables & Vinyl #13 – The New York Adventure

The family and I took a wonderful Spring Break vacation to the bustling city of New York.  What an amazing city.  There are so many things to see and so little time to see it all, but we crammed in as much as we could.  I was even able to take a few hours and visit some record stores while we were down in Greenwich Village. Lucky Me!!

Before we get to that, let’s talk a little about the trip.  We arrived on Sunday afternoon and had a little time to run down to Time Square to check things out.  The kids were stunned by the huge, bright, flashing billboards and all the people…all the interesting and very strange people.

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We saw where the film the Late Show with Steven Colbert, where the Broadway Show Rocktopia was playing which was starring Pat Monahan from Train while we were there (didn’t see it though), we of course saw Time Square and even went and snapped a picture at Radio City Music Hall.

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