Billy Idol/Generation X/Tony James “Dancing with Myself” – The full in bloom Chronicles – Gen X

Tony James: July 1980, Keith Forsey suggested Billy Idol and I take a stroll while he mixed our new song, “Dancing with Myself.” We walked to Regents Park in the sunshine. I found myself in that very spot this morning, back there where it all started. Love you, Billy. Good to be alive.

“Dancing with Myself” is a rock song first commercially released in the United Kingdom in October 1980 by the New Wave band Gen X, where it reached #62 in the Singles Chart. It was re-mixed and re-released by the band’s singer/frontman Billy Idol as a solo artist in the United States in 1981, where the song reached #27 in the U.S. Billboard’s Hot Dance Play Chart.

“Dancing with Myself” was written and first recorded by Generation X during demo sessions in mid-1979 at Olympic Studios in West London (this demo-recording was first commercially released retrospectively on the long-player K.M.D.-Sweet Revenge (1998). After that band had split later in that year Billy Idol and Tony James re-branded the act as ‘Gen X’, and in production sessions with Keith Forsey for a new long-player at AIR Studios in London in mid-1980 the song was re-recorded for commercial release as a single. The guitar parts of the song were a mix of the playing of three guitarists with distinctively differing styles, viz. Steve New playing the lead, Steve Jones playing rhythm, with another layer being added by Danny Kustow. On commercial sale in October 1980 as a pre-release single from the new band’s forthcoming long-player Kiss Me Deadly (1981), ‘Dancing with Myself’ was a retail failure, reaching only #62 in the UK Singles Chart.

In late 1981 Idol, now a solo artist after Gen X had broken up, had Forsey remix the record for its release as a single in the United States, fading down the guitar(s) and bass tracks from their dominance in the 1980 U.K. release and accentuating the vocal and percussion tracks to produce a more rhythmic sound for the American commercial market. It became his first hit single in the United States and launched his career there, two versions being issued: the 3:20 single version (which was later included on Idol’s 11 of the Best compilation) and the 4:50 extended version that appeared on Idol’s Don’t Stop EP.

The inspiration for the song occurred during a tour of Japan by the English post-punk band Generation X in mid-1979, when its vocalist/frontman Billy Idol and its bassist Tony James were struck by the sight of the young crowd in a Tokyo discotheque dancing with their own reflections in walled mirrors rather than with one another. –Wikipedia