Generation X (band)

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Generation X
Generation X 1977.jpg
Generation X, 1977. L-R: Billy Idol, Tony James, Bob Andrews, and Mark Laff.
Background information
Also known as Gen X
Origin Chelsea, London, United Kingdom
Genres Punk rock, dance-punk,[1] pop punk[2][3][4]
Years active 1975–1981, 1993
Labels Chrysalis
Associated acts London SS
Subway Sect
The Clash
Sigue Sigue Sputnik
Cowboys International
Twenty Flight Rockers
Past members Billy Idol
Tony James
John Towe
Bob Andrews
Mark Laff
Terry Chimes
James Stevenson

Generation X (also known as Gen X) were an English punk rock band, formed on 21 November 1976 by Billy Idol, Tony James and John Towe.[1]


Three members of Generation X were previously in Chelsea, along with lead singer Gene October. They soon broke away from October and selected the name Generation X (after Jane Deverson's 1965 sociology book, a copy of which was owned by Idol's mother).[1] Idol switched from guitar to vocal duties, and Bob "Derwood" Andrews joined as lead guitarist after leaving the Fulham band Paradox. Generation X played their first concert on 14 December 1976 at The Roxy (becoming the first band to play at the venue).[1][5]

Towe was later replaced on drums by Mark Laff (ex-Subway Sect), to complete the 'official' line-up, before the band signed to Chrysalis Records and released their first single, "Your Generation" in September, 1977.[6] They played this song on Marc Bolan's afternoon variety show, Marc, that same month. This line-up of the band would remain through their first two albums, the self-titled, Generation X (1978), followed by Valley of the Dolls (1979).[6]

Rise to stardom[edit]

Generation X were one of the first punk bands to appear on the BBC Television music programme Top of the Pops.[7] Unlike other punk bands, Generation X ignored some of the 'rules' and 'ideals' adopted by UK punk rock bands, taking inspiration from British pop of the 1960s.[8] In 1977, they covered John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth", and in 1979 they teamed up with Ian Hunter who produced their second album, Valley of the Dolls.[7]

There were differences in the group's musical direction that they struggled to resolve.[7] They wanted to remain true to their punk roots while pursuing a heavier rock sound.[7] Internal disagreements came to a head in late 1979 during the recording of what was to have been the third Generation X album. This was released decades later as part of the Anthology boxed set under the title Sweet Revenge.

Personnel changes and break-up[edit]

In 1980, Andrews and Laff left the band (subsequently forming the post-punk band, Empire), to be replaced in Generation X by The Clash and Cowboys International's former drummer Terry Chimes, and former Chelsea guitarist James Stevenson.[6]

Generation X made a last stand, re-recording some of the Sweet Revenge material, as well as several new songs. With this final release, Kiss Me Deadly (1981), the band abbreviated its name to Gen X.[6] Kiss Me Deadly included a version of "Dancing with Myself", first recorded as part of Sweet Revenge with Andrews and Laff, and which Idol would later include on his first EP as a solo artist to kick-start his own career with a hit.

Idol went on to pursue a solo career in New York, where he became a substantial pop star.[9] James later formed Sigue Sigue Sputnik[7] and performed with bands including The Sisters of Mercy and, much later on, Carbon/Silicon. Stevenson later joined Gene Loves Jezebel, The Cult and, more latterly, The Alarm and the International Swingers.[6] Chimes rejoined The Clash.[6]

On 20 September 1993, during Billy Idol's No Religion Tour, Generation X had a one-time reunion performance at the Astoria Theatre in London.


Studio albums[edit]


Compilation albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

  • 2002 – Live at the Paris Theatre '78 & '81 (Reissued (and edited) in 2003 as One Hundred Punks - BBC Live In Concert.)
  • 2003 – Live at Sheffield
  • 2005 – Live

7" singles[edit]

  • 1977 – "Your Generation" b/w "Day by Day" UK No. 36
  • 1977 – "Wild Youth" b/w "Wild Dub" UK
  • 1978 – "Ready Steady Go" b/w "No No No" UK No. 47
  • 1978 – "King Rocker" b/w "Gimme Some Truth" UK No. 11 (released in five various album covers.)
  • 1979 – "Valley of the Dolls" b/w "Shakin' All Over" UK No. 23
  • 1979 – "Friday's Angels" b/w "Trying for Kicks" / "This Heat" UK No. 62
  • 1980 – "Dancing with Myself" b/w "Ugly Rash" (As "Gen X.") UK No. 62

[6] [10]

12" singles/EPs[edit]

  • 1980 – "Dancing with Myself" b/w "Loopy Dub" / "What Do You Want" (As "Gen X.") UK
  • 1981 – Dancing with Myself EP (As "Gen X.") UK No. 60
    • "Dancing with Myself"
    • "Untouchables"
    • "Rock On"
    • "King Rocker"
  • 1981 – "Dancing with Myself" b/w "Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Dubble" (As "Gen X.") US


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Generation X - A Punk Rock History with Pictures". Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  2. ^ "Generation X - A Punk Rock History with Pictures". Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  3. ^ Pop Punk Image via Wikipedia (2010-12-05). "Pop Punk". Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  4. ^ "IDOL LINKS - Popular Musicians". 1955-11-30. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  5. ^ The band's early performance at The Roxy and offstage interactions were included as part of The Punk Rock Movie (1978), a compilation of punk band performances at The Roxy during this period.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 472. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  7. ^ a b c d e "Biography by Greg Prato". Retrieved 29 April 2009. 
  8. ^ "King Rocker by Generation X Songfacts". 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  9. ^ Billy Idol: the return of Billy the kid The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 30 November 2011
  10. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). The Moon: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 224. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]