Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Billy Idol

Anyone who remembers the early days of MTV and long afterward likely has some favorite moment related to Billy Idol.  For some, it is the inventive and creative music videos that he performed for songs like “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell” and “Eyes Without A Face,” among many other songs.  For some, it is seeing him perform in one of the last good Adam Sandler movies, “The Wedding Singer,” where he gives help to the titular singer.  For others, it will be the moment that “White Wedding” was used ironically on Married With Children, and for others it will be reflecting on the fact that it was a live performance in Lakeland, Florida that provided the hit version of his cover of Tommy James’ “Mony Mony.”  Whatever your particular favorite moment is, it is without a doubt that Billy Idol was one of the most inventive and thought-provoking and successful rock acts of the 1980’s.  Unfortunately, like many acts from his decade, he has failed to get his due from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  As for me, I have been a fan of Billy Idol since my childhood, like many people born in the 1980’s, and I found it somewhat interesting to ponder that not only has he not been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but also is not considered an obvious snub to it.

The Influence Of Billy Idol

At least some of the stories told in the previous paragraph can help indicate the nature of the influence of Billy Idol.  For example, his appearance on television shows like Married With Children and movies like The Wedding Singer indicated that even after his peak of commercial success that he was a recognizable figure that would elevate the quality of general culture as well.  Even some of his more bizarre musical decisions, like performing the song “Adam In Chains” with Dr. Timothy Leary (most famous for his support of the use of drugs like acid and LSD during the 1960’s) was a sign that Billy Idol was culturally significant, even in odd ways.  Yet for all of Billy Idol’s importance in the broader sphere of culture, there have been few people who have tried to cop his sound the way that others have been obviously inspired by other musicians.  Really, his most profound influence musically has been in pop punk, where his combination of a brash attitude and his solid understanding of pop hooks has been an inspiration to many.

Why Billy Idol Deserves To Be In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Ultimately, the reason why Billy Idol deserves to be in the fame is because of his music and because it has been not only popular but also lasting.  His first four studio albums and at least two (if not three) of his compilation albums have gone at least gold in the United States, and one album, Rebel Yell, went double platinum [1].  Despite the fact that his songs have endured to this day, they made surprisingly little impact on the U.S. charts, where one song, “Mony Mony,” went to #1, another, “Cradle Of Love,” went to #2, and two others, the #4 hit “Eyes Without A Face” and the #6 hit “To Be A Lover” hit the top 10.  Intriguingly, some of his songs have endured without high chart positions, as classic “Dancing With Myself” never even hit the top 100, “Rebel Yell” didn’t hit the top 40, and “Hot In The City” and “White Wedding” never even hit the top 20.  Billy Idol’s career is proof that good songs can last without having been initially popular on the charts, and his music has definitely endured, making his 1980’s and early 1990’s heyday one that deserves recognition even if the era has been rather ignored by the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Why Billy Idol Isn’t In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

It’s not clear why Billy Idol hasn’t been inducted, except that he seems to be lumped in with many peers as belonging to an era of Rock & Roll music that the hall has just rather overlooked.  He had a brash attitude and was quite an experimental and daring artist, and he lived a pretty serious rock & roll lifestyle that included a motorcycle crash, heavy drug use, and some notable relationships that bore children out of wedlock.  Without a question, he lived a rock & roll lifestyle and (so far) has lived to tell the tale, and his music is still remembered fondly to this day, even if it didn’t set the charts on fire when it was released.

Verdict:  Put him in already.

[1] See, for example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Idol_discography

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in History, Music History, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why Aren’t They In The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame: Billy Idol

  1. Della Wicks says:

    I absolutely agree! This has angered me since he was eligible in 2006 especially everytime i see some other horrible or unknown get inducted. Is this intentional?

    • I’m not sure if it’s intentional. I’ve never heard of Billy Idol being hated by anyone on the nominating committee and he seems honestly like a pretty awesome and friendly sort of person, but artists who were really popular in the 80’s, and that applies to Idol as well, have had a tough time being nominated for the RRHOF.

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