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"Dancing with Myself" is a song written by singer Billy Idol and bassist Tony James, first recorded by their band Generation X in 1979. The song was re-recorded and commercially released by the band newly re-branded as Gen X as a 7" single and a 12" in October 1980, but was a sales failure, reaching only #62 in the UK Singles Chart. It was then included on the band's subsequent album Kiss Me Deadly (1981).

"Dancing with Myself"
Dancing With Myself.jpg
Single by Gen X
from the album Kiss Me Deadly
ReleasedOctober 1980
Format7", 12"
GenrePop punk
Length3:45 (album version)
3:30 (7" version)
4:06 (12" version)
Songwriter(s)Billy Idol, Tony James
Producer(s)Keith Forsey
Gen X singles chronology
"Friday's Angels"
"Dancing with Myself"
"Dancing with Myself"
Dancing with Myself Billy Idol.jpg
Single by Billy Idol
from the album Don't Stop
Recorded1980 (remixed in 1981)
GenreNew wave[1]
Length3:19 (single version)
4:50 (album version)
6:05 (12" version)
Songwriter(s)Billy Idol, Tony James
Producer(s)Keith Forsey
Billy Idol singles chronology
"Dancing with Myself"
"Mony Mony"
Music video
"Dancing with Myself" on YouTube

In late 1981, Idol, now a solo artist after Gen X's break-up, remixed and re-released "Dancing with Myself" as a single in the United States, fading down the guitar part from its dominance in the first release, and bringing forward the bass and his vocal tracks, to produce a milder overall sound. The release became his first hit in America, having become popular on the dance club scene, reaching #27 in the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. Two versions were 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.

Idol plays "Dancing with Myself" at most of his concerts, always introducing the song as having been originally written with Tony James or originally recorded by Generation X.



The inspiration for the song and its lyrics occurred during Generation X's first international tour in Japan in mid-1979, when Idol and Tony James, whilst visiting a disco club in Tokyo, were struck by the sight of the young Japanese crowd within dancing with their own reflections in walled mirrors, rather than with one another.[2]


For the guitar work on the released record Steve New played the lead, Steve Jones played the rhythm, with another guitar track being added to the single's mix by Danny Kustow.[3]

Formats and track listingsEdit

Gen X releaseEdit

7": Chrysalis - CHS 2444 (UK)Edit

  1. "Dancing with Myself" (3:30)
  2. "Ugly Rash" (4:30)

12": Chrysalis - CHS 12 2444 (UK)Edit

  1. "Dancing with Myself" (4:06)
  2. "Loopy Dub" (5:08)
  3. "Ugly Dub" (3:05)

Billy Idol releaseEdit

7": Chrysalis - IDOL 1 (UK)Edit

  1. "Dancing with Myself" (3:19) [Labelled as "Billy Idol featuring Generation X"]
  2. "Love Calling (Dub)" (5:33)

12": Chrysalis - IDOLX 1 (UK)Edit

  1. "Dancing with Myself" (6:05) [Labelled as "Billy Idol featuring Generation X"]
  2. "Love Calling (Dub)" (5:33)
  3. "White Wedding" (8:20)
  4. "Hot in the City" (5:20)
  • "White Wedding" is the 12" Shotgun mix, but not labelled as such.


Gen X versionEdit

Chart (1980) Peak
UK Singles Chart[4] 62

Billy Idol versionEdit

Chart (1981) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[5] 27
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 102
Chart (1983) Peak
RIANZ New Zealand Singles Chart 9
Canada Top 50 Singles (RPM) 39

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ "Civil Twilight turn Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" into a sparse, understated ballad — listen". 30 June 2016.
  2. ^ Billy Idol explaining the song's origin, 'Billy Idol Unplugged' (2001), (1.11. mins).
  3. ^ Interview with Tony James, April 2002, for the 'Generation X Anthology' (2003).
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 224. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "Billy Idol | Awards". AllMusic. 30 November 1955. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  6. ^ "The Donnas – Dancing With Myself (Mean Girls Single Version)". Amazon Music. Retrieved 17 December 2018.

External linksEdit