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Generation X

Generation X emerged during the punk explosion of 1976. Singer Billy Idol had previously worked with bassist Tony James in the short-lived band, Chelsea.

With Bob Andrews on guitar and John Towe on drums, Generation X made their debut in London during December 1976. By the following May, Towe had been replaced by Mark Laff. Towe reappeared in The Adverts.

The band signed with Chrysalis Records and soon arrived in the lower regions of the UK chart with Your Generation and Ready Steady Go.

genx8The latter, strange for a punk group, was an affectionate tribute to the 1960s, full of references to Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Cathy McGowan (legendary presenter of the 1960s UK music programme Ready, Steady, Go!).

Their biggest commercial success was with their 1979 single King Rocker, which reached #11 in the UK.

As lead singer and visual focus of the band, blonde Billy Idol received most of the media’s attention, to the point of making him England’s first teeny-punk heartthrob.


Gen X called it a day early in 1981 with Idol going on to an extremely successful solo career, especially in the USA. Chimes rejoined The Clash, Tony James later formed Sigue Sigue Sputnik, while Stephenson joined Gene Loves Jezebel and eventually The Cult.

Billy Idol
Bob ‘Derwood’ Andrews
Tony James
Bass, vocals
Mark Laff
Terry Chimes
James Stephenson
John Towe