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The Rebel Still Yells

Billy Idol has long been one of the great symbols of ’80s-era rock. So badass that he became a new breed of punk rock, so cool that he was rock ‘n’ roll through and through and even catchy enough that he could successfully wriggle his way into the pop world he remains one of that decade’s most prominent and enduring musical figures. Idol is so tied to that era that he had a role in The Wedding Singer as himself. How’s that for recognition of stature in the ’80s music canon?

You’ve probably been living under a rock the size of Texas if you’ve never heard of the British rocker, or at least heard one of his songs. “White Wedding” easily ranks among his most popular tracks to date, “Rebel Yell” is the sort of driving punk rock anthem people still bang their heads and raise their fists to today and, be honest, you love to shout along with Idol on “Mony Mony” regardless of whether anyone is watching or not. Hell, even lesser known tracks like his eponymous contribution to the 1994 film Speed still rock and stand as examples of his ability to comfortably cruise multiple genres.

Idol’s image is just as noteworthy as his songs. The spiked, bleached blond hair. The leather jacket. The trademark sneer. In an age where Andre Agassi famously proclaimed in TV ads “image is everything,” Idol demonstrated just how true this was, as he quickly became one of the most recognizable music celebrities in the world. And he still is. Maybe Idol should have been the one doing those commercials.

Need more proof he transcends stereotypical music genres and audience types? His show will be at the Hult Center. Chew on that one for a bit.

Billy Idol plays 8 pm Sunday, Oct. 28, at the Hult Center; $39-$69.