At the record show here in Charlotte back in May of 2022, I found a Generation X album on vinyl I didn’t know existed. It is ‘Demos 1977’ and was actually only released back in 2020 and with Covid going on, probably the reason I missed it. It is also a German release which adds to why I didn’t see it. It says these demos were recorded back in 1977 on February 16th presumable for Chiswick Records. The band at the time was Billy Idol, Tony James, Bob ‘Derwood’ Andrews and John Towe and the demos were recorded at De Lane Lea Studios in Wembley, North London.
Here’s the problem I have with this saying these are the demos for Chiswick Records. They actually only recorded 5 songs for Chiswick and there are 13 songs here. Plus only 4 of those 5 are on this recording. The other 9 songs are from other recording sessions between 1977 and 1980 I believe based on the songs.
The first four songs on the album appear to be the Chiswick demos, but it is missing “Kleenex” which is a shame as that is a great one to have as it has different lyrics than the final product for the debut album. It kicks off with “Your Generation” which would’ve been their first single they released independently with the original pressing only 250 copies and later they would go back and do another 500. The B-Side of that single was “Listen” also from these sessions. “Listen” would wind up on the debut album, however, it was omitted from the U.S. release of the album and “Your Generation” take its place as it did not make it on the UK debut.
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…
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.