Understanding Billy Idol’s White Wedding Video

Billy Idol’s music video to White Wedding is definitely one of the most memorable of the era. When it was shown on VH1’s Pop-Up Video program in the early 90s, it was claimed that the song was about Idol’s dissatisfaction with his sister getting married because she was “knocked up” by her fiancé. Incidentally, the phrase “Little Sister” does not mean that Idol really sings about his little sister. In the 80s the term was used colloquially for the own partner. However, Billy Idol later stated that his little sister’s wedding was the inspiration for the song. After the general idea was born, he took the song in an entirely different direction. And really, the lyrics tend to support Idol’s take, as the song doesn’t seem to be one about a brother worried about a sister’s marriage.

The real plot of this track and video is that the singer’s ex has just engaged in a “shotgun” wedding which he is not pleased about. In fact, there is no actual indication that they have even broken up. So throughout the song, he is questioning her decision. He also presents the world as an unfair, dangerous place from which, via her marriage, she is basically trying to derive some good from. Or as Idol puts it, she is making an effort to “start again”. The bride in the video is Perri Lister, Billy’s girlfriend at the time, who was known as a background singer in the band Visage and also appeared in many videos for Duran Duran.

“In those days, he was the greatest looker and mover since Elvis. ”

David Mallet

White Wedding definitely helped a lot in launching Billy Idol into stardom. David Mallet, who also worked with Queen and David Bowie, was the director for the music video. In the book I Want My MTV, Mallet was quoted: “In those days, he was the greatest looker and mover since Elvis. Before White Wedding, nobody would have admitted that was even possible. One look at that video and they got him.”