To Be a Lover

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"To Be a Lover"
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Whiplash Smile
Released 23 September 1986
Genre New wave
Length 3:52
Label Chrysalis
Writer(s) William Bell, Booker T. Jones
Producer(s) Keith Forsey
Billy Idol singles chronology
"Flesh for Fantasy"
"To Be a Lover"
"Don't Need a Gun"

"To Be a Lover" is a song by Billy Idol from his 1986 album Whiplash Smile. As the album's lead single, it became Idol's second top 10 hit in the US, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100[1] and No. 22 on the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Originally performed by William Bell (as "I Forgot to Be Your Lover"), the track was the second high-profile cover Idol had released as a single, after 1981's "Mony Mony." Idol would later top the Billboard Hot 100 (No. 7 UK), with a "live" version of "Mony Mony" in 1987.

The single was backed by Whiplash Smile album track "All Summer Single". Two different 12" singles were also released worldwide (1x UK and 1x Australia), featuring the aforementioned track and two extended remixes of "To Be A Lover (Mother of Mercy Mix)" (6:45) and "Rock'n'Roll Mix" (Australia only). The "Mother of Mercy Mix" differs quite significantly from the single version; it is a harder sounding song, with a prominent heavy guitar riff dominating most of the track and an 'interlude' with distorted female groans. It is this version that is featured on the remix compilation album Vital Idol 1987 US/1988 Japan editions.

The UK 12" was also released as a limited-edition picture disc.

Formats and track listings[edit]

7": Chrysalis - IDOL 8 (UK)[edit]

  1. "To Be A Lover" (3:50)
  2. "All Summer Single" (4:33)

12": Chrysalis - IDOLX 8 (UK)[edit]

  1. "To Be A Lover (Mother Of Mercy Mix)" (6:45)
  2. "To Be A Lover" (3:50)
  3. "All Summer Single" (4:33)
  • Also available as a picture disc (IDOLP 8)

12": Festival Records - X 14449 (Australia)[edit]

  1. "To Be A Lover (Rock N' Roll Mix)" (7:11)
  2. "To Be A Lover (Mother Of Mercy Mix)" (6:45)
  3. "All Summer Single" (4:33)


Chart (1986) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[1] 6


  1. ^ a b "Billy Idol | Awards". AllMusic. 1955-11-30. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  2. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 266. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]