The Meaning of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”

Just a year after breaking up with his punk band Generation X, Billy Idol was working on his first solo album and penned a song about unrequited love that turns into a hellish marriage.

Produced by Keith Forsey, the former Rooney guitarist who also co-wrote “Flashdance…What a Feeling” with composer Giorgio Moroder and vocalist Irene Cara, billy idol was the punk rocker’s first release as a solo artist, and “White Wedding” was his second hit following 1981’s single “Dancing with Myself” – a song he originally wrote and released with Gen X in 1980 and later included in the 1983 reissue of her debut. In the charts, “White Wedding” reached No. 10 on the Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100 and No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100.

To this day, “White Wedding” remains one of Idol’s most recognizable hits, but the song has never been better. perfect as the title may have implied. In the song, Idol talks about his girlfriend who wants to marry someone else.

It’s not entirely about Billy Idol’s real sister.

Although Idol sings Hey little sister, what have you done, the song is not entirely about his real sister Jane Broad. At the time of writing the song, her sister was getting married and pregnant, which helped inspire the song, but that wasn’t all about her – “sister” is more slang in England for girlfriend , similar to “Bae”. The song also touches on his life as a rock star and leaves behind some of his old life.

“A lot of people ask if you really wrote that about your sister,” Idol said in 2002. song, you’re always looking for new situations, new circumstances, something that comes from your own life, but it’s never complete. My sister was pregnant. She was getting married and there was no argument or anything but I thought of all the different people and all the times that it was such a taboo thing I thought about it taboo nature and convention and marriage being such a celebration but then it turns into something like a shotgun wedding. Then it just went on from there,”

Idol added, “Then I thought of that incestuous kind of sick brother… galloping around the world on a savage, who knows what he’s looking for, leading a completely unconventional life, leaving behind all your friends and just back and forth and all these things started playing into the song.

The most important part of the song for Idol is in the middle. “I assumed that leaving home, leaving England and suddenly facing a new life, it made me feel like there’s nothing fair in this world,” Idol said. “There is nothing certain in this world. There is nothing pure in this world.

Hey little sister, what have you done
Hey little sister, who’s the only one
Hey little sister, who’s your superman
Hey little sister, who is the one you want
Hey little sister, shotgun

Hey little sister, who are you with
Hey little sister, what’s your vice and your wish
Hey little sister, shotgun (oh yeah)
Hey little sister, who’s your superman
Hey little sister, shotgun

no weapons

In one of the verses, Idols says Hey little sister, shotgun, but the line has nothing to do with firearms. Idol alludes to the female subject’s shotgun wedding and the fact that she might get pregnant and wanted to marry her other beau.

A Not so white wedding

Generally, a sham marriage is one in which the bride is still a virgin. In this case, Idol is being sarcastic because his girlfriend was far from innocent and he is still angry after being dumped.

It’s a beautiful day to start again
It’s a beautiful day for a white wedding
It’s a beautiful day to start again

Steve Stevens’ riff

The song begins with a unique guitar riff created by longtime Idol guitarist and collaborator Steve Stevens. Both wanted something distinct to open the song, and Stevens had no trouble finding it. (Learn to play the Stevens riff here.)

More gothic than “white”

In the video, directed by David Mallet – who has also worked on David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” and “Let’s Dance” and Queen’s “I’ve Got to Break Free” and Radio Ga Ga” videos – the visuals were more gothic, even nightmarish, than sheer and “white” with leather and chains, a motorbike crashing through a stained glass church window, and that bloody barbed wire ring. Idol to marry Perri Lister, who was his girlfriend at the time and also stars as one of three dancers dressed in black patent leather. “At that time, he was the greatest spectator and actor since Elvis”, Mallet said in the 2011 book ‘I Want My MTV,’ written by Rob Tannebaum. “Before ‘White Wedding,’ no one would have admitted it was even possible. One look at this video and they had it.

It’s not very pro-marriage.

Although the song has been used in real weddings, the lyrics are not very marriage-friendly. Instead, the song has found better big-screen placement over the decades. In 1993, he was featured in the romantic crime drama True Romance (tattoo scene with Alabama), 1998 Adam Sandler film The Wedding Singer, where Idol also makes an appearance and later helps reunite Sandler’s character with Drew Barrymore. Another rendition of the song by George Kostoglou was featured in the 2016 film Mand big greek wedding 2. There are also covers of “White Wedding” by Queens of the Stone Age, Rowland S. Howard, Janet Devlin, and more.

About Joan J. Hernandez

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