Billy Idol - Hot In The City - Meaning of the song
An early Billy Idol song, the punk rocker wrote it himself. It's all about running wild and free in New York City on a summer night, something Idol did plenty when he moved to New York from London in 1981 after his band Generation X split up. Idol found himself once again moving to an unfamiliar city to follow his dreams: in 1976 he left his hometown of Bromley, England and moved to London. This song reflects his optimism and assurance: Don't be afraid of the world we made On a hot summer night
Many of the lyrics aren't that easy to understand, but Idol is very clear when he sings the line, "I can really feel the heat now... New York!" Idol's record company, Chrysalis, created customized versions of the song with "New York" replaced with the names of various other cities, and those versions were sent to radio stations in those cities, giving them custom versions of the track for their local listeners. So if you were in Kentucky, you might hear Idol sing, "I can really feel the heat now... Lexington!"
This was Idol's second single as a solo artist, following his cover of "Mony Mony." That one stalled at #107, which Idol blamed on the packaging: the cover art showed him as a fully fledged punk rocker, with spiked hair and his trademark snarl. This apparently dissuaded American program directors, most of whom were unfamiliar with Idol, from giving it a chance. So, the "Hot In The City" single was issued in America with no Billy on the cover, just an overhead shot of a city street. The ploy apparently worked, as the song got plenty of airplay and rose to #24 in America, clearing a path for Idol's successful solo career.
Hot In The City - Lyrics
Stranger, stranger, stranger, stranger It's hot here at night, lonely, black and quiet On a hot summer night Don't be afraid of the world we made On a hot summer night 'Cause when a long-legged lovely walks by Yeah you can see the look in her eye Then you know that it's Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight Hot in the city, hot in the city tonight, tonight Stranger, stranger For all the dreams and schemes, people are as they seem On a hot summer night Don't be no fun, don't forget you're young On a hot summer night A sometime someone you're not Don't wait to see what you got 'Cause you know that you're We'll walk until my feet drop I'm a train when I'm hateful Yeah, lay right down now And ride until your head breaks I'm a-walkin' 'til my brain pops I will move with the beat now I'm a chain 'round an A-bomb I'm a ribbon in the heat now New York!