Dancing with Myself

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"Dancing with Myself"
Dancing With Myself.jpg
Single by Gen X
from the album Kiss Me Deadly
ReleasedOctober 1980
Format7", 12"
GenrePop punk, new wave
Length3:45 (album version)
3:30 (7" version)
4:06 (12" version)
Songwriter(s)Billy Idol, Tony James
Producer(s)Keith Forsey
"Dancing with Myself"
Dancing with Myself Billy Idol.jpg
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Don't Stop
Recorded1980 (remixed in 1981)
GenreNew wave[1]
Length3:19 (single version)
4:50 (album version)
6:05 (12" version)
Songwriter(s)Billy Idol, Tony James
Producer(s)Keith Forsey
Billy Idol singles chronology
"Dancing with Myself"
"Mony Mony"
Music video
"Dancing with Myself" on YouTube

"Dancing with Myself" is a pop song first commercially released in the United Kingdom in October 1980 by the New Wave band Gen X, where it reached #62 in the Singles Chart. It was re-mixed and re-released by the band's singer/frontman Billy Idol as a solo artist in the United States in 1981, where the song reached #27 in the U.S. Billboard's Hot Dance Play Chart.


The inspiration for the song occurred during a tour of Japan by the English post-punk band Generation X in mid-1979, when its vocalist/frontman Billy Idol and its bassist Tony James were struck by the sight of the young crowd in a Tokyo discotheque dancing with their own reflections in walled mirrors rather than with one another.[2]


The song was written and first recorded by Generation X during demo sessions in mid-1979 at Olympic Studios in West London (this demo-recording was first commercially released retrospectively on the long-player K.M.D.-Sweet Revenge (1998)).[3] After that band had split later in that year Billy Idol and Tony James re-branded the act as 'Gen X', and in production sessions with Keith Forsey for a new long-player at AIR Studios in London in mid-1980 the song was re-recorded for commercial release as a single. The guitar parts of the song were a mix of the playing of three guitarists with distinctively differing styles, viz. Steve New playing the lead, Steve Jones playing rhythm, with another layer being added by Danny Kustow.[4] On commercial sale in October 1980 as a pre-release single from the new band's forthcoming long-player Kiss Me Deadly (1981), 'Dancing with Myself' was a retail failure, reaching only #62 in the UK Singles Chart.

In late 1981 Idol, now a solo artist after Gen X had broken up, had Forsey remix the record for its release as a single in the United States, fading down the guitar(s) and bass tracks from their dominance in the 1980 U.K. release and accentuating the vocal and percussion tracks to produce a more rhythmic sound for the American commercial market.[3] It became his first hit single in the United States and launched his career there, two versions being issued: the 3:20 single version (which was later included on Idol's 11 of the Best compilation) and the 4:50 extended version that appeared on Idol's Don't Stop EP.

Music video[edit]

For the 1981 United States single release a music video for use on the newly launched MTV was made, directed by Tobe Hooper, with Billy Idol in a scenario drawn from the 1971 cinema film The Omega Man playing a lone figure in a post-apocalyptic cityscape besieged upon a skyscraper rooftop by partying mutant street-waif punks.[3]

Cover art[edit]

The portrait image of Billy Idol on the cover of the 1980 release was photographed by Iain McKell.

Formats and track listings[edit]

Gen X release[edit]

7": Chrysalis - CHS 2444 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Dancing with Myself" (3:30)
  2. "Ugly Rash" (4:30)

12": Chrysalis - CHS 12 2444 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Dancing with Myself" (4:06)
  2. "Loopy Dub" (5:08)
  3. "Ugly Dub" (3:05)

Billy Idol release[edit]

7": Chrysalis - IDOL 1 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Dancing with Myself" (3:19) [Labelled as "Billy Idol featuring Generation X"]
  2. "Love Calling (Dub)" (5:33)

12": Chrysalis - IDOLX 1 (UK)[edit]

  1. "Dancing with Myself" (6:05) [Labelled as "Billy Idol featuring Generation X"]
  2. "Love Calling (Dub)" (5:33)
  3. "White Wedding" (8:20)
  4. "Hot in the City" (5:20)
  • "White Wedding" is the 12" Shotgun mix, but not labelled as such.


Gen X version[edit]

Chart (1980) Peak
UK Singles Chart[5] 62

Billy Idol version[edit]

Chart (1981) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[6] 27
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 102
Chart (1983) Peak
RIANZ New Zealand Singles Chart 9
Canada Top 50 Singles (RPM) 39

Appearances in popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ "Civil Twilight turn Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" into a sparse, understated ballad — listen". 30 June 2016.
  2. ^ Billy Idol explaining the song's origin, 'Billy Idol Unplugged' (2001), (1.11. mins).
  3. ^ a b c Idol, Billy (2014). Dancing with Myself. Simon & Schuster.
  4. ^ Interview with Tony James, April 2002, for the 'Generation X Anthology' (2003).
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 224. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ "Billy Idol | Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 18 July 2016. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  7. ^ "Gia (1998) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Mean Girls (2004) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Flushed Away (2006) Soundtracks". IMDb. Retrieved 20 August 2019.

External links[edit]