Billy Idol – To be a lover
On September 22, 1986, a genius of the 80s released the first single from one of his most successful albums. He was able to play a very original character, aggressive only at first sight, with great intelligence, and with an excellent quality of music, in my opinion. He would then release his album in october, after some weeks, and Whiplash Smile will become one of the most famous albums by Billy Idol. The single that opened the door to this success was To Be a Lover.
In 1986 Billy Idol was already a real protagonist of the ’80s, after the success of his previous albums. He was a real trademark of the ’80s, starting with the story of his nickname, the teacher forcing him to write “William is idle” lots of times to punish him for low attention, and the sentence turning slowly into “Billy Idol”. it sounds weird today, to figure a lazy and distracted Billy Idol: he has always shown great attention and study in everything he did, actually, he created a look with humour but also boldness, and he always surrounded himself with excellent musicians who are definitely part of his success, I just mention Stevie Stevens, to make an example.
Actually To be a lover was a cover, and also quite dated, having been composed in 1968. Since then it had already been covered several times over the years. Of course Billy Idol made a version of it his own way, enthralling and full of energy. It wasn’t the first time Billy had brought a song back to success. It had already happened in the early years of his career with Mony Mony, another song that already had a few years and versions on his shoulders.
The video is truly spectacular. Billy Idol climbs into a ring, like a kind of Rocky Balboa but with a leather jacket and all the parade of studs and rivets. In the ring he finds an old friend, Stevie Stevens, strangely waiting for him at a keyboard, even if it is clearly seen that behind his back his fantastic guitar is slung over his shoulder. Billy Idol interprets the song in his own way, in a crescendo of energy and if we want also of sensuality, until Stevie guitar solo starts, and Billy can leave the ring and go on stage with the other musicians and the three backup singers, for a grand finale of energy.
Speaking of backup singers, do you seem to see any familiar face? Probably yes: the girl in the middle, dressed in white, is an absolute protagonist of the 80s videos! Did you recognize her? She’s Bunty Bailey, the girl who starred with Morten Harket in the best video of the 80s, Take on me by a-ha! Bunty (her real name was Theresa) and Morten then had an affair, and she also appeared with a-ha in the video for The sun always shines on T.V. She had also appeared in Duran Duran’s Wild Boys, but she is hardly recognizable.
Whiplash smile, with the stage set by this version of To be a lover, was clearly a success … and I would say that with a Billy Idol like this, it couldn’t be otherwise !!
Billy Idol on Wikipedia