White Wedding (song)

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"White Wedding"
Billy Idol - White Wedding 1982 single picture cover.jpg
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Billy Idol
A-side "White Wedding (Part 1)"
B-side "White Wedding (Part 2)" (12-inch only)
Released 23 October 1982
Format Vinyl (7" and 12")
Recorded 1981
Genre Rock, new wave
Length 4:11 (album version)
3:30 (7")
8:19 (12")
Label Chrysalis
Writer(s) Billy Idol
Producer(s) Keith Forsey
Billy Idol singles chronology
"Hot in the City"
"White Wedding"
"Rebel Yell"
Audio sample
file info · help

"White Wedding" is a song by Billy Idol that appeared on his album Billy Idol (1982). It is often considered one of his most recognisable songs, although other Idol songs charted higher. It reached No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 on its original release, and reached No. 6 in the UK Singles Chart upon its re-release there in 1985, when it was reissued to promote the Vital Idol remix album.

1982 release[edit]

7″: Chrysalis - CHS 2656 (UK)

  1. "White Wedding" (3:30)
  2. "Hole in the Wall" (4:14)

12″: Chrysalis - CHS 12 2656 (UK)

  1. "White Wedding (Parts 1 and 2)" (8:20)
  2. "White Wedding" (3:30)
  3. "Hole in the Wall" (4:14)

12″: Chrysalis - 4V9 42685 (US)

  1. "White Wedding (Parts 1 and 2)" (8:20)
  2. "White Wedding (Part 2)" (4:27)

1985 re-issue[edit]

7″: Chrysalis - IDOL 5 (UK)

  1. "White Wedding" (3:30)
  2. "Mega-Idol Mix" (5:34)
  • 7" Mega-Idol comprises "Flesh For Fantasy" and "Hot in the City"

12″: Chrysalis - IDOLX 5 (UK)

  1. "White Wedding Parts I & II (Shot Gun Mix)" (8:20)
  2. "Mega-Idol Mix" (7:50)
  • 12″ Mega-Idol comprises "Flesh For Fantasy," "Hot in the City" and "Dancing With Myself"

Music video[edit]

The music video, featuring Idol attending a gothic wedding, is one of his best-known. The bride is played by Perri Lister, Idol's real-life girlfriend at the time. She is also one of the three dancers clad in black leather, who slap their buttocks in time with the clap track in the song as they shimmy downwards near the end. "That's the kind of thing they love in England", says Idol.[1]

In one scene from the video, Idol forces the barbed-wire wedding ring onto the bride's finger and cuts her knuckle. Lister insisted that her knuckle actually be cut in order for the scene to appear more realistic.[1] MTV initially removed this scene from the video.[2] Also controversial were the apparent Nazi salutes made by the crowd toward the couple. Director David Mallet says he was merely "playing with the power of crowd imagery" when he had the extras reach toward the bride and did not realize how it looked until later.[1]

The MTV-edited version of the video is included on the DVD portion of The Very Best of Billy Idol: Idolize Yourself CD/DVD package.

Other versions and appearances[edit]

The song has been covered by many bands including the Young Werewolves, Murderdolls, Umbra et imago, Deathstars, Doro, Rowland S. Howard, Sentenced, Aiden and the band Queens of the Stone Age. Serbian punk rock band KBO! recorded a version on their 2001 cover album (Ne) Menjajte Stanicu (which translates as (Do Not) Change the Station). Post-hardcore band Aiden recorded a version of "White Wedding" for UK rock magazine Kerrang!'s cover CD High Voltage!: A Brief History of Rock and on their EP Rain in Hell. Part of it is included in Franz Ferdinand's cover of Gwen Stefani's "What You Waiting For?". Also, the gothic rock/steampunk band Abney Park recorded a cover on their 2005 album Taxidermy. The Swedish rock singer Jay Smith recorded a version, included on his first album, self-titled Jay Smith. Metal band Powderburn recorded a cover as part of a medley with "Rebel Yell" for their Come and Take It EP. Herman's Hermits did a version released on the album When Pigs Fly: Songs You Never Thought You'd Hear.

It was featured in the 1998 film, The Wedding Singer (in which Idol appears), on the American TV series My Name Is Earl and on the British TV series Blackpool. It was also featured in the 1993 film True Romance during the scene where Alabama is being tattooed. It was also featured in the skate video CKY.

The line, "It's a nice day to start again", was featured on the sticker on the front of Idol's 2005 album, Devil's Playground.

The song was remixed as (Trashcan Jack vs Billy Idol) "Club Wedding" (Frenetic) under Digital Dog's Jack Rokka guise. It has appeared on numerous dance compilations such as Wild Bassline (CD2 Mixed by Brooklyn Bounce) and Clubland 12.

The song is included in the video games Rock Band 2, Rock Band Unplugged, Guitar Hero Van Halen, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and as DLC in Rocksmith.

The song was also used in an advertisement for British soap opera Hollyoaks, promoting the week of a wedding storyline. It also featured in an episode of the 2004 BBC miniseries Blackpool as part of the story.

The track also appeared on an advert for Coronation Street in 2003, promoting the climax of a bigamous storyline involving the character Peter Barlow. Barlow, portrayed by Chris Gascoyne, was seated at a table, reflectively spinning his two wedding rings around.

On The Colbert Report, a couple who had been prevented from wedding at the Jefferson Memorial, by the 2013 government shutdown, were married. The couple's first dance was to Audra McDonald singing the song.[3]

H.P. Baxxter, frontman of German band Scooter occasionally sings this song unplugged on TV events.

A Greek sung version by George Kostoglou appeared in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.


Chart (1982/1985) Peak
UK Singles Chart[4] 6*
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[5] 36
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks[5] 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 10
Can. RPM RPM Top 50 Singles 5


  • * - UK re-release in 1985


  1. ^ a b c Marks, Craig; Tannenbaum, Rob (2011). I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. New York, NY: Dutton. pp. 124–125. ISBN 978-0-525-95230-5. 
  2. ^ Billy Idol, Biography, A & E
  3. ^ Randee Dawn (2013-10-04). "Stephen Colbert marries couple whose wedding was shut out by shutdown". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 266. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  5. ^ a b "Billy Idol | Awards". AllMusic. 1955-11-30. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 

External links[edit]