from the albums Charmed Life and The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane (Original Soundtrack) (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #2 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16
Today's song of the day comes from punk rocker turned pop star Billy Idol, who had scored a #1 pop hit in the U.S. with his cover of the Tommy James classic from the 60s "Mony Mony" in the fall of 1987. However, he sort of disappeared for the next three years in the States, possibly predicated by a falling out with his longtime guitarist and collaborator Steve Stevens. In 1990 he re-emerged with a new studio album, Charmed Life, with Stevens for the first time missing (Mark Younger-Smith filled in on guitar and co-wrote three of the tracks with Idol). The first single was also on the soundtrack to the Andrew "Dice" Clay movie The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane, which ended up being a relative flop. However, "Cradle Of Love", that song from the movie written by Idol with David Werner, was a success, giving Billy his second biggest hit after "Mony". Being in a bad motorcycle accident earlier that year, Billy ended up being shot in the background...
"Cradle Of Love" became Billy's ninth and so far last top-40 pop hit in the U.S., going to the runner-up spot in August of 1990. The song spent two weeks atop Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, and crossed over to #7 on their Modern Rock list. Internationally, the single reached the top ten in Italy, Austria, Finland, and Australia, and got to #34 in his native UK. The song was his third to be nominated for a Grammy for Male Rock Vocal performance, losing this time to Eric Clapton's "Bad Love".
Even with the success of "Cradle", Billy wasn't able to follow up in the States (not being able to sufficiently promote because of his injuries probably didn't help). The second single from Charmed Life, a cover of the Doors' "L.A. Woman" that was bittersweet since he lost out on a major role in that movie due to the crash, managed to get to #18 on the Mainstream Rock radio chart, but stalled at #52 in the US and #70 in the UK (although it did pretty well in the rest of Europe). A third single, the Idol-written "Prodigal Blues", got to #35 on the American rock chart at #47 in Britain.
In 1993, Idol released his fifth solo studio album Cyberpunk, which he changed his style from the bare-bones guitar-led punk to synth and computer sounds of new wave that was way ahead of its time in the hard rock genre. The lead track, a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Heroin", went to #16 on Billboard's Dance Club Play chart, while the radio single "Shock To The System" made it to #7 on the Mainstream Rock chart at #23 on the Modern Rock list, but it just missed the pop Hot 100 (appearing on Billboard's "Bubbling Under" list). The following year, he briefly reunited with Stevens for the title track on the soundtrack to Speed, which went to #38 on the American Rock chart and #47 in the UK. They came back together for another album in 2005 with Devil's Playground, with the single "Scream" reaching #26 on Mainstream Rock. His most recent set, Kings and Queens of the Underground in 2014, actually placed him Triple-A (adult album alternative, or "hipster rock") radio with "Can't Break Me Down" at #15 that was his best work in years. Not bad for a "punker" in his sixties.
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Billy finally ended up touring behind Charmed Life in 1991; here's his show in London's Wembley Arena...
Finally, we've got Billy and Steve reunited in 2001 on the VH1 Storytellers show with the song...
Up tomorrow: A killer metal band doesn't sleep at all.