Before pursuing a successful solo career in the 1980s, Billy Idol was the vocalist for the Punk band Generation X. Another well-known member of the band was bassist Tony James, later of Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Sisters of Mercy. Generation X differed from most other late '70s Punk bands in that their songs were transparently inspired by mid-'60s British pop. Idol explained to the Daily Telegraph July 24, 2008: "We were saying the opposite to the Clash and the Pistols. They were singing 'No Elvis, Beatles or the Rolling Stones,' but we were honest about what we liked. The truth was, we were all building our music on the Beatles and the Stones. I didn't want to be in an 'agit-prop' band. I hated all those people in the student union, with their crummy political views, who had votes about squatting. We wrote 'King Rocker' about John Lennon and Paul McCartney having a fight with Elvis about who was the king of rock and roll."
This was Generation X's biggest hit in the UK. They had two other Top 40 entries, "Your Generation" (#36 in 1977) and "Valley of the Dolls" (#23 in 1979).