Rock and Roll kicked off youth culture and it runs like a thread through popular music. Originating in the blues played by musicians such as T-Bone Walker the music evolved into Rhythm and Blues with players such as Jolly Roll Morton and Fats Domino evolving through Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins into the Rock and Roll of Jimmy Preston, Ike Turner, Sun records, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Initially the UK imitated but in the 60’s it picked the thread up with the blues influenced bands that led the British invasion, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Cream. Meanwhile in the states Garage bands such as the MC5 and The Stooges developed a more aggressive, raw form of Rock and Roll.
The 70’s in the UK kicked of the with a new form of rock and roll that married rock with an androgynous ‘glitter’ aesthetic first witnessed on Top of the Pops when Marc Bolan and T- Rex played ‘Hot Love’.
So what has all of this got to do with the New York Dolls? The Dolls took the Rock and Roll swagger and licks of the Rolling Stones and the British invasion bands, played it like the Stooges, raw and aggressive and looked Glam with platforms and big hair, creating something new and exciting, the next step in the development of Rock and Roll and the precursor to Punk and Hard Rock bands like Kiss. They were like the Velvet Underground one of those bands who at the time hardly sold any records but who have been hugely influential.
Although a pivotal band in the development of Rock and Roll their 1973 debut album doesn’t capture the true spirit of the Dolls for that you need to see some live footage, but it is still full of raw sex, sleaze and aggression all perfectly encapsulated in the opening track ‘personality crisis’, it is one of those albums that you going back too.
The original line up of the dolls went on to release a second album ‘to much to soon’ another great album, but it was not long after, that drugs and personal differences began to tear the band apart. Having been influenced by the British Invasion bands and British Glam Rock they gave something back, the last few weeks of their existence saw them being managed by Malcolm Mclaren who would go back to London to form ‘The Sex Pistols’ who’s sound and look were heavily influenced by The Dolls. Thunders and Nolan even ended up supporting The Pistols as the ‘The Heartbreakers’.
The New York Dolls pretty much kick started the CBGB scene which spawned The Ramones, Blondie, Television, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Talking Heads, they influenced British punk bands such as The Pistols, they were key to the development of hard rock bands such as Kiss and Aerosmith as well as numerous terrible ‘hair metal’ bands of the 80’s. The UK fan club was run by one Stephen Patrick Morrisey and Michael Stipe was a huge fan. That’s why this is such an important album.