Formed in the autumn of 1976 in London, three members of the punk outfit, Chelsea, had defected to set out their own stall. Switching from guitar to vocals, the ambitious Billy Idol started the group with Tony James (bass) and John Towe (drums). Later roping in lead guitarist Derwood / Bob Andrews, they decided on Generation X, a moniker lifted from Charles Hamblett & Jane Deverson’s book on popular youth culture.
In 1976, they played the first ever punk gig at mecca club, The Roxy, alongside friends from the Bromley contingent Siouxsie & The Banshees, a band featuring a young Sid Vicious. The band’s first single ‘Your Generation’ was released alongside a promotional Top Of The Pops appearance and national tour, culminating in a top 40 hit. However, it was the single’s B-side, ‘Day By Day’, that was preferred by proper pinheads.
Unlike other punk bands, Generation X never turned a blind eye to any “accepted” ideals, covering a John Lennon song and hooking up with veteran rocker, Ian Hunter, to handle the production chores of their sophomore effort, Valley of the Dolls, released in 1979.
Gradually band members left one by one, until Idol & James were the only originals remaining. The two founding members rechristened the band Gen X and with renewed spirit and producer Keith Forsey at the helm, they went on to release one more LP, Kiss Me Deadlyin 1981. After neither the album nor the singles ‘Dancing With Myself’and ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ took the charts, the band broke up. Idol joined up with NYC based Kiss manager Bill Aucion, re-releasing ‘Dancing with Myself’ and the rest, as they say, is history.