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

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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