William Michael Albert Broad (born 30 November 1955), better known by his stage name Billy Idol, is an English rock musician. He first achieved fame in the punk rock era as a member of the band Generation X. He then embarked on a successful solo career, aided by a series of stylish music videos, making him one of the first MTV stars. Idol continues to tour with guitarist Steve Stevens and has a worldwide fan base.
Idol was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, the son of a salesman. He attended Tideway School in Newhaven, Sussex. The name Billy Idol was inspired by a schoolteacher's description of Broad as "idle".
In 1958, when Idol was two years old, his parents moved to Long Island, New York. The family returned four years later (with a younger child, Jane, who had been born in the US), settling in Dorking, Surrey. In 1971 the family moved to Bromley, where Idol attended Ravensbourne School for Boys. In October 1975, Idol went to Sussex University to do an English degree and lived on campus (East Slope) but left after year one (1976). He then went on to join the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans. Idol first joined the punk rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees (before the band had decided on that name) in 1976, but soon quit and joined Chelsea in 1977 as a guitarist. However, he and Chelsea bandmate Tony James soon quit that group and co-founded Generation X, with Idol switching from guitarist to lead singer. Generation X signed to Chrysalis Records and released three albums and performed in the 1980 film, D.O.A., before disbanding. Idol moved to New York in 1981 and began working as a solo artist working with Steve Stevens, Phil Feit and Steve Missal, for Idol's debut solo album, "Billy Idol", which was released in July 1982.