White Wedding (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"White Wedding"
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Billy Idol
A-side"White Wedding (Parts 1 and 2)"
B-side"White Wedding (Part 2)"
ReleasedOctober 23, 1982
GenreRock, new wave[1]
  • 4:12 (album version)
  • 3:30 (7-inch version)
  • 8:25 (12-inch version)
Songwriter(s)Billy Idol
Producer(s)Keith Forsey
Billy Idol singles chronology
"Hot in the City"
"White Wedding"
"Rebel Yell"
Music video
"White Wedding Pt 1" on YouTube

"White Wedding" is a song by Billy Idol that was released as the second single from his self-titled studio album in 1982. Although not Idol's highest-charting hit, it is often considered one of his most recognizable songs. In the US, it peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart on 27 November 1982,[2] then reached No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 2 July 1983 after it was re-issued.[3] In the UK, it reached No. 6 in the UK Singles Chart upon its re-release there in 1985, when it was re-issued to promote the Vital Idol remix album.


Cash Box called it "a powerful entry" whose "ominous guitar intro" and "accusatory tone" command attention.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video, featuring Idol attending a goth 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.[5]

In one scene, Idol forces a wedding ring made of barbed wire onto Lister's finger and cuts her knuckle. Lister insisted that her knuckle actually be cut in order for the scene to appear more realistic.[5] MTV initially removed this scene from the video.[6] 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 after it was filmed.[5]

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 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.

Idol performed the song as part of the pre-game entertainment for the 2002 NRL Grand Final in Sydney, Australia. Idol entered the playing field on a hovercraft when he managed to sing only two words before a power failure prematurely ended the performance.[7]

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 is featured in the 1985 Italian horror film Demons.[8]

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 shared their first dance as Audra McDonald sang the song.[9]

The German heavy metal singer Doro Pesch featured a cover of "White Wedding" on her 2000 album Calling the Wild.[10]

The American metal band In This Moment was set to collaborate with Idol on the track "Black Wedding" off their sixth album Ritual; the song's chorus contains the line, "it's a nice night for a black wedding," an obvious homage to Idol's "White Wedding." Due to claimed scheduling difficulties, Rob Halford of Judas Priest was featured on the track instead.[11]

Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison's side project – the US horror punk band Murderdolls – reached number 24 on the UK Singles chart in 2003 with their cover of "White Wedding."[12]

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)

7″: Chrysalis – CHS 2648 (US)

  1. "White Wedding" (3:30)
  2. "Dead on Arrival" (3:54)

12″: Chrysalis – EPC 5002 (US)

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

1983 release[edit]

12″: Chrysalis – 4V9 42685 (US)

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

7″: Chrysalis – CHS 42697 (US)

  1. "White Wedding" (3:30)
  2. "Dead on Arrival" (3:54)

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"


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1982–1983) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[13] 9
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[14] 1
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[15] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[16] 36
US Billboard Top Tracks[16] 4
US Billboard Dance/Disco Top 80 10
Chart (1985) Peak
UK Singles (OCC)[17] 6

Year end charts[edit]

Chart (1983) Position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[18] 61
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[19] 21
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[20] 11
Chart (1985) Position
UK Singles (OCC)[21] 58


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Gold 400,000

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Breihan, Tom (26 March 2021). "The Number Ones: Billy Idol's "Mony Mony". Stereogum. Retrieved 8 November 2023. The truly iconic Billy Idol rockers, songs like "Rebel Yell" and "White Wedding," typically didn't do too well on the pop charts...
  2. ^ "Bubbling Under the Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 94, no. 47. 27 November 1982. p. 68. ISSN 0006-2510.
  3. ^ "Top 100 Songs - Billboard Hot 100 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 14 May 1983. p. 9. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Billy Idol, Biography, A & E
  7. ^ "Idol idle: rebel's yell silenced". The Age. 7 October 2002. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Demons soundtrack info on IMDB". IMDb.
  9. ^ Randee Dawn (4 October 2013). "Stephen Colbert marries couple whose wedding was shut out by shutdown". TODAY.com. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  10. ^ Doro - White Wedding, retrieved 25 February 2023
  11. ^ Blabbermouth (12 May 2017). "In This Moment's Ritual Album to Feature Guest Appearance by Judas Priest's Rob Halford". blabbermouth.com. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
  12. ^ "MURDERDOLLS - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 147. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. The Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA from mid-1983 until 12 June 1988.
  14. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6259." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  15. ^ "Billy Idol – White Wedding". Top 40 Singles.
  16. ^ a b "Billy Idol | Awards". AllMusic. 30 November 1955. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  18. ^ "Kent Music Report – National Top 100 Singles for 1983". Kent Music Report. Retrieved 5 August 2020 – via Imgur.com.
  19. ^ "The Top Singles of 1983". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  20. ^ "Top Selling Singles of 1983". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  21. ^ "Top 100 Singles". Music Week. London, England: Spotlight Publications. 18 January 1986. p. 10.
  22. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Billy Idol – White Wedding". Music Canada. Retrieved 20 July 2023.
  23. ^ "British single certifications – Billy Idol – White Wedding". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 September 2022.