It’s the spring of 1986. You jump into your Chevy Monza, click on your Pioneer AM/FM/cassette player, and “Beat’s So Lonely” comes on. Yeah, it sounds like Billy Idol in his Elvis crooner phase, but it’s Charlie Sexton, who recorded this very ‘80s blend of rockabilly and new wave when he was just sixteen.
There’s no shame in thinking it’s Billy Idol. “Beat’s So Lonely” was produced by Keith Forsey, who handled all the big Billy Idol hits – including “To Be a Lover,” “White Wedding,” “Hot in the City,” and “Rebel Yell.”
Forsey also co-wrote and produced “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” for “The Breakfast Club,” Simple Minds’ biggest hit and a song that Billy Idol actually turned down. John Hughes, of course, directed “The Breakfast Club” so it’s not a coincidence that “Beat’s So Lonely” ended up in Hughes’ “Some Kind of Wonderful” – although not actually on the soundtrack album.
Charlie Sexton never got a second pop hit, but he’s always been working as a guitarist and a producer. He formed Arc Angels with the bassist and drummer from Stevie Ray Vaughan’ Double Trouble. He joined Bob Dylan’s touring band in 1999 and, other than a couple brief departures, has played with him ever since. Sexton’s also a popular hired gun in the studio, recording with everyone from Fastball to Boz Scaggs. Here he is with Edie Brickell and a song that got cut from the Farm Aid 2020 virtual festival.