The Current

Great Music Lives Here
Listener-Supported Music
Donate Now
The Morning Show - With Jill Riley

November 30 in music history: Happy Birthday, Billy Idol

Billy Idol
Billy IdolMPR / Nate Ryan

November 30, 2023

History Highlight:

William Michael Albert Broad — better known as Billy Idol — was born on this day in 1955, making him 68 today. First achieving fame in the ‘70s London punk rock scene as the lead singer of the group Generation X, he really made it big when he kicked off his solo career which led to international recognition and becoming a key player in the "Second British Invasion" in the United States. Legend has it that his stage name "Billy Idol" was inspired by a teacher's description of him as "idle". But that’s hardly the life he’s lived across his many decades of performing. Still going strong at 67, earlier this fall he released a four song EP titled The Cage.

Also, in:

1969 - The Monkees made what would be their last live appearance for 15 years when they played at The Oakland Coliseum in California.

1969 - Simon & Garfunkel hosted their first television special, Songs of America, which caused controversy when it showed footage of Robert Kennedy's funeral and the Vietnam War, which led to their original sponsor to disassociate itself from the special.

1971 - Sly and the Family Stone were at No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart with "Family Affair", their fourth and final No. 1. Rolling Stone magazine later ranked the song #138 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

1972 - Wings released the single "Hi, Hi, Hi" which was banned by the BBC due to having lyrics "unsuitable" for broadcast. The song would later reach number five in the U.K. & number ten in the U.S.

1974 - Elton John's Greatest Hits album hit No. 1 in America, where it stayed for the last five weeks of 1974 and first five of 1975.

1977 - Bing Crosby's last Christmas special aired. The program was recorded in September, and Crosby died that October. The show is remembered for Crosby's unusual duet with David Bowie, where they sang a modified version of "Little Drummer Boy," with Bowie singing the new "Peace On Earth" lyrics composed by the show's writers.

1979 - Pink Floyd released The Wall, which sold over 13 million copies. The powerful concept album's themes of isolation and despair resonated with legions of fans, and it even spawned a No. 1 single - "Another Brick In The Wall (part II)”.

1982 - Michael Jackson releases Thriller, which becomes, by far, the best-selling album worldwide.

1994 - Tupac Shakur was shot five times during a robbery outside a New York City recording studio.

1996 - Ice Cube obtained a restraining order to keep an obsessed fan away from him and his family. Cynthia Renee Collins was told to stop harassing the 26-year-old rapper, and stay at least 100 feet away from him.

1997 - Chumbawamba's Danbert Nobacon was arrested by Italian police for wearing a skirt and was detained in police cells overnight.

1997 - Metallica were at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with Reload, the band's third U.S. No.1 album.

2003 - A block of East 2nd Street in New York City was officially renamed Joey Ramone Place. It is the block where Joey once lived with band mate Dee Dee Ramone and is near the music club CBGB, where the Ramones played their first gigs. In 2010, it was reported that "Joey Ramone Place," was New York City's most stolen sign. The sign has since been moved to 20 feet above ground level.

2010 - Seven months after being released from jail after serving three years for tax evasion, Ronald Isley of The Isley Brothers releases the album Mr. I, with contributions from Lauryn Hill and T.I.

2012 - Glen Campbell played the very last live performance of his lifetime when he appeared at Uptown Theatre in Napa, California. Campbell revealed his Alzheimer's diagnosis to the public in 2011, and had set out on his Goodbye Tour as a way to say farewell to his fans. He passed away August 8, 2017.

2019 - Celebrated portrait photographer Raeanne Rubenstein died at age 74. She began her career in New York City in the 1960s, where she worked primarily at the Fillmore East, documenting such icons as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Lou Reed, Pink Floyd and Joe Cocker. Rubenstein visited Nashville in 1975, where she became a fan of the personalities of country music, eventually photographing artists including Dolly Parton, Lynn Anderson, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Gram Parsons, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.


Dick Clark was born in 1929.

Deep Purple and Rainbow bassist Roger Glover is 78.

June Pointer of the Pointer Sisters was born today in 1953.

John Ashton, guitar player for the Psychedelic Furs, is 66.

Cherie Currie, solo artist and former lead vocalist of the Runaways, is 64.

Des'ree is 55.

Clay Aiken is 45.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in MusicSong Facts and Wikipedia.