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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 265 - Generation X

Valley of the Dolls - Generation X
Produced by Ian Hunter
Released 26th January 1979
UK Chart #51

Original Tracklist
A1 Running With The Boss Sound    
A2 Night Of The Cadillacs    
A3 Paradise West    
A4 Fridays Angels
A5 King Rocker    
B1 Valley Of The Dolls
B2 English Dream    
B3 Love Like Fire
B4 The Prime Of Kenny Silvers (Part One)
B5 The Prime Of Kenny Silvers (Part Two)
Bonus Tracks on Playlist
Gimmie Some Truth (B-Side of King Rocker)
Shakin' All Over (B-Side of Valley of the Dolls)
Trying For Kicks (B-Side of Fridays Angels)
This Heat (B-Side of Fridays Angels)

    Billy Idol − vocals
    Tony James − bass
    Bob "Derwood" Andrews − guitar
    Mark Laff − drums

Singles from Valley of the Dolls
Click On The Links Below To Listen to More from Generation X

5th January 1979
UK Chart #11

Issued in Five Different Picture Sleeves, four being Limited Edition Coloured Vinyl

30th March 1979
UK Chart #23

Issued on Limited Edition Brown Vinyl

15th June 1979
UK Chart #62

Issued on Limited Edition Red Vinyl

After a blistering Debut Album in 1978 that was produced by Martin Rushent and peaked at #29 in the charts, Generation X tried to up the ante by going for a bit more of a heavier sound. This  moving away from the Punk/Pop sound caused some rifts down the line that would eventually see Mark Laff and Derwood Andrews leave the band and their prospective third album put on the shelf!

That was for a day to come, for the moment there was the matter of a new album. A few weeks prior to release King Rocker was issued as a single and became their biggest hit by far reaching #11. Where previous singles  had failed to make it into the Top 30 (Your Generation stalled at #36, Wild Youth didn't chart, and Ready Steady Go only got to #47) the plan to release the single in four different sleeves featuring a different member of the band and also in a variety of coloured vinyls no doubt was one of the reasons for the song rising so high in the charts. 

As for the album, they dispensed with the production services of Martin Rushent and brought on board Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople fame. As the album kicks off with Running with the Boss Sound you got the impression that it wasn't that much different to tracks on the Debut like Promises/Kiss Me Deadly/Youth Youth Youth but it was a much cleaner sound bringing out Derwood's guitar abilities to the fore.

Night of the Cadillacs sounded almost metal at times, which no doubt would have annoyed many a Punk who already thought that Generation X were not even to be considered in the same league as bands like The Clash, The Pistols and The Damned.

Fridays Angels I thought was pretty poor, not sure why they released it as a single either! Whilst King Rocker (the B-Side Gimmie Some Truth was taken from a Peel Session) was an excellent choice for a single and one of the better tracks on the album. The title track was another good one and I thought it was a cracking single as well (the B-Side Shakin' All Over was taken from a Peel Session).

English Dream was pretty impressive whereas Love Like Fire was pretty naff! The Prime of Kenny Silvers (Part 1 & 2) was just too long and uninspiring.

Second Albums don't always live up to the standards set by the Debut and that was clearly the case with Valley of the Dolls. The band showed that they had made some progress musically speaking but sometimes the quality of the songs didn't really measure up. Five of the songs I thought were brilliant but the other half of the album not so much.

As I mentioned above come the end of 1979 the band had imploded, the third album Sweet Revenge was shelved (though it was finally released in 1998 by Empty Records). What was left of the band (Idol and James) recruited James Stevenson (ex-Chelsea - guitar) and Terry Chimes (ex- The Clash - drums) and shortened the name to Gen X. When the third album Kiss Me Deadly finally appeared in 1981 it featured several different guitarists: Rich Kids' Steve New, Danny Kustow from Tom Robinson Band, future Siouxsie and the Banshees guitarist John McGeoch and ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones. The album failed to chart.

Billy Idol departed to the USA to begin a solo career. Tony James later formed Sigue Sigue Sputnik and played with The Sisters of Mercy and also later would form Carbon/Silicon. James Stevenson would join Gene Loves Jezebel (and a host of other artists down through the years). Terry Chimes rejoined The Clash following the sacking of Topper Headon. Mark Laff formed Empire and later Twenty Flight Rockers and in 2007 returned to drum for Subway Sect (where he started) for their 1978 Now album. Derwood Andrews joined Laff in Empire before moving on to Westworld and a number of other bands as well as a solo career.

 Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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