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 1976–81, 1993
Labels Chrysalis
Associated acts London SS, Chelsea, Subway Sect, The Clash, The Adverts, Paradox, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Cowboys International, Empire, Twenty Flight Rockers, Carbon/Silicon
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 the band 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 singing, 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]

  • 1999 – Live at the Paris Theatre '78 & '81 (Reissued (and edited) in 2002 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 – 4 EP (As "Gen X.") UK No. 60
    • "Dancing with Myself" (12" versions have an extended cut.)
    • "Untouchables"
    • "Rock On"
    • "King Rocker"
  • 1981 – "Dancing with Myself" b/w "Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Dubble" (As "Billy Idol and 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 (5 December 2010). "Pop Punk". Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  4. ^ "IDOL LINKS – Popular Musicians". 30 November 1955. 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". 24 July 2008. 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]