Generation X (also known as Gen X) were an English punk rock band, formed on 21 November 1976 by Billy IdolTony James and John Towe.

History[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Three members of Generation X were previously in 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 vocal duties, and Bob "Derwood" Andrews joined as lead guitarist after leaving the Fulham band Paradox which included well known local musicians of the time, Gary Claydon and Chris "Noggin" McCullough. 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 firstsingle, "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 (1977), followed by Valley of the Dolls (1979).[6]

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 rocksound.[7] Internal disagreements came to a head in late 1979 during the recording of what was to have been their third album. This was released decades later as part of the Anthology boxed set under the title, Sweet Revenge.

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 bandsincluding The Sisters of Mercy and, much later on, Carbon/Silicon. Stevenson later joined Gene Loves JezebelThe Cult and, more latterly, The Alarm.[6] Chimes rejoined The Clash.[6] Laff later rejoined Subway Sect.

Discography[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Studio albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

[6] [10]

Compilation albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Live albums[edit source | editbeta]Edit

  • 2002 – Live at the Paris Theatre '78 & '81 (Reissued (and edited) in 2003 as One Hundred Punks - BBC Live In Concert.)
  • 2003 – Live at Sheffield
  • 2005 – Live

7" singles[edit source | editbeta]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
  • 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 source | editbeta]Edit

  • 1980 – "Dancing with Myself" b/w "Loopy Dub" / "What Do You Want" (As "Gen X".) UK
  • 1981 – "Dancing with Myself EP" (As "Gen X".) UK No. 60
    • "Dancing with Myself"
    • "Untouchables"
    • "Rock On"
    • "King Rocker"
  • 1981 – "Dancing with Myself" b/w "Hubble, Bubble, Toil and Dubble" (As "Gen X".) US
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