Dancing With Himself: The Tragic Way Billy Idol Undermined his Best Song

Billy Idol recorded two versions of “Dancing With Myself.” The first was with his ’70s punk group Generation X; the second was as a solo artist. The Generation X version is a pop punk classic. The solo version—far more widely known—is a vaguely punk inflected ’80s pop song that could fit comfortably into Cyndi Lauper’s catalogue.

Here’s the Generation X version. Note how the punk guitar slashes through the mix at 0:35. Even when it drops out in the next verse, the energy it infused never goes away. The band repeats the first verse as the third verse only with those power chords throbbing underneath the reiterated words.

Below is the video for Idol’s inferior solo version. By the way, the video is amazing. Director Tobe Hooper (of original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist fame!) creates this amazing ’80s urban dystopia by way of Andrew Lloyd Webber stage production tableau. Billy idol is all synthetic charisma, like an English punk rock Michael Jackson.

But when the guitar kicks in in the chorus, it’s much lower in the mix and sounds kind of flat. The punk edge is absent and the energy drops as a result. It’s a bummer.

We live in an age of miracles and abundance, so you have instant access to the superior Generation X version at will.

Published by Mister Bulger

Adam Bulger is the editor in chief of BTRtoday.com and a frequent contributor to the parenting website Fatherly.com. He's also recently written for the wedding site ThePlunge.com and the college student aide Coursehero.com. Less recently, he's written for The Believer, Forbes, The Atlantic's website, Suicidegirls, Inked Magazine and probably about a dozen other places that are too obscure or defunct to bother listing.

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