Artists   >   N   >  New York Dolls
New York Dolls

New York Dolls

Fact Sheet

Country  USA
The New York Dolls were a glam rock band in the early 1970s which defined much of what was to come in the punk rock era. Influenced by the MC5, the Dolls influenced a whole era of musicians and bands such as Hanoi Rocks, London Cowboys,The Damned and even Morrissey. Perhaps their most lasting influence was on the sound and style of The Sex Pistols whose manager, Malcolm McLaren, was also involved with the Dolls for a time.

The band was fronted by David Johansen who looked like Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones; Johnny Thunders was the swaggering junkie lead guitar player, Arthur "Killer" Kane played bass; Sylvain Sylvain played rhythm guitar and the ill fated Billy Murcia played drums. Billy died before recording their first LP and was replaced by Jerry Nolan.

The New York Dolls only released two studio albums: the self titled New York Dolls in 1973 and the aptly titled Too Much Too Soon in 1974, by which point internal tensions and drugs had left the band on the edge of splitting. Johansen had a moderately successful solo career (later he began recording under the name of Buster Poindexter), and is currently active as a blues singer. Thunders and Nolan found a modicum of fame with The Heartbreakers.

Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans in 1991; Nolan died a few months later in 1992, both of an overdose.

British singer Morrissey, who in the 70s was president of the U.K. fanclub, organised a reunion of the three surviving band members (Johansen, Sylvain, Kane) for the Meltdown festival, which was rapturously greeted. All the greater was the shock when the news came of Arthur Kane's unexpected death on July 15, 2004 from leukemia. Whether the planned LP for Morrissey's Attack label will go ahead is unclear.