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.
Back in April 2019, the family took a trip to Paris and I found a lot of records while shopping in a few really cool French Record Shops. This particular one, which I am not sure why I didn’t include in the Billy Idol series in the timeline it belongs, was nothing really special. It didn’t have any thing I didn’t already have, but I didn’t have it. That was the only reason I bought it. I guess the really cool thing it has is this French price sticker in the upper right corner of the back cover.
The single is a 12″ Max-Single of the single “To Be A Lover” off the album ‘Whiplash Smile’. Now this also has two other songs. A remix of the single as well as another song off the album called “All Summer Long”. Let us get in to the music.
“To Be A Lover” (Mother of Mercy Mix) opens it up and this should really be called the Sex Mix with the woman practically orgasming with her sultry, seductive voice throughout. Damn!! A total blast. This is the version you can find on the 1987 album ‘Vital Idol’ along with 7 other re-mixes of Idol’s hits up to that point. This was not on the UK version released 2 years earlier as ‘Whiplash Smile’ album was not out yet.
This was the first single of the album ‘Whiplash Smile’ and it was a cover of William Bell’s “To Be A Lover” which was co-written by Booker T. Jones back in 1968. Billy completely modernized the song and turned it in to a dance track. It has some great soulful female backing vocals and fancy piano riffs and an all around fantastic track. The song is actually quite poignant in that with his longtime girlfriend leaving him since he “forgot to be a lover” with his drug use and sexcapades with other women. It felt like he was confessing that he screwed up.
Then comes “All Summer Single” which has too many effects and no substance. It is plain and dull for me and I never connected to this one. It feels lonely like Billy was without his girlfriend Perri…so sad.
And there you have it…a little bonus edition of the Billy Idol Series. We have one more coming up soon on the Deluxe Edition of the Generation X the band’s debut album.
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…
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.
We are to the final studio album released in our Billy Idol Series which means we are really close to the end of the series which makes me a little sad as I have enjoyed doing this series. The next album up for review is a remix album of Billy’s hits called ‘Revitalized’ which was released in September 2018 and is 31 years after the release of his first remix album called ‘Vital Idol’.
Billy’s songs are brought into the 21st century with remixes coming from some of the best EDM artist of 2018 including Paul Oakenfold, Moby, The Crystal Method, CRAY and many more. The original album has 11 tracks where the digital version gives you an additional 4 tracks for 15 songs total.
I guess I will preface this by saying the album is full of hits songs and the remixes are all worth a listen, but nothing beats the original songs and actually nothing is better than Vital Idol. These songs are good and give us a look at them in a new, modern light. For fans it is fun and a must have for the collection; however, nothing groundbreaking here like Vital Idol was.
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.