New York Dolls (album)
|New York Dolls|
|Studio album by New York Dolls|
|Released||July 27, 1973|
|Recorded||April 1973; The Record Plant, New York City|
|Genre||Hard rock, proto-punk|
|New York Dolls chronology|
|Singles from New York Dolls|
New York Dolls is the debut studio album by American hard rock band the New York Dolls, released on July 27, 1973, by Mercury Records. It was recorded at The Record Plant in New York City and produced by Todd Rundgren. Upon its release, the album received overwhelmingly positive reviews from music critics, but only charted at number 167 on the Billboard 200.
In 1971, vocalist David Johansen formed the New York Dolls with guitarists Johnny Thunders and Rick Rivets, bassist Arthur Kane, and drummer Billy Murcia. After Rivets was replaced by Syl Sylvain in 1972, the band began playing regularly in lower Manhattan and earned a cult following within a few months. However, record companies were hesitant to sign them because of their cross-dressing attire and blatant vulgarity. While on the band's first tour of England in 1972, Murcia died consuming a combination of drugs and alcohol. The New York Dolls enlisted Jerry Nolan as his replacement before receiving an offer from Mercury Records. On March 20, 1973, they signed a two-album record deal and received a $25,000 advance.
The band recorded their self-titled debut album at New York City's The Record Plant in April 1973. It was produced by Todd Rundgren, who was known for his sophisticated pop sound. The band had played an intense style of rock and roll, and frontman David Johansen referred to Rundgren as "an expert on second rate rock 'n' roll." The band dressed in their usual flashy clothes while at the studio. Rundgren, who did not approve of their raucous sound, yelled at them during the sessions to "get the glitter out of your asses and play". The album was mixed in less than half a day. Rundgren minimized Nolan's drumming in the final mix.
Music and lyrics
New York Dolls features 10 original songs and 1 cover song. Music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine characterized it as "hard rock with a self-conscious wit, a celebration of camp and kitsch that retains a menacing, malevolent edge." "Personality Crisis" has boogie-woogie piano and raunchy dual guitar playing, while "Trash" is a punky pop rock song with bratty singing.
Johansen described the album as "a little jewel of urban folk art". According to him, "Frankenstein (Orig.)" is a song about "how kids come to Manhattan from all over, they're kind of like whipped dogs, they're very repressed. Their bodies and brains are disoriented from each other ... it's a love song." "Vietnamese Baby" deals with the impact of the Vietnam War at the time on everyday activities, whose fun is undermined by thoughts of collective guilt.
Release and promotion
New York Dolls was released on July 27, 1973, in the United States and on October 19 in the United Kingdom. Its controversial cover featured the band dressed in exaggerated drag, including high wigs, messy make-up, high heels, and garters. The photo was used for shock value, and on the back of the album, the band is photographed in their usual stage wear. Although it received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, it was not a success with consumers and only charted at number 116 on the Billboard 200. Two double A-sided, 7" singles were released—"Trash / Personality Crisis" in July and "Jet Boy / Vietnamese Baby" in November 1973; neither charted.
After the album's release, the New York Dolls toured the US as a supporting act for English rock band Mott the Hoople. Reviews complimented Thunders and Sylvain's guitar interplay, the band's songwriting, and noted their campy fashion and the resemblance of Johansen and Thunders to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. However, some critics panned them as an unserious group of amateurs who could not play or sing. During their appearance on The Old Grey Whistle Test in England, the show's host Bob Harris dismissed the band's music as "mock rock" in his on-air comments. Creem magazine's Ben Edmonds wrote that the New York Dolls became "the most walked-out-on band in the history of show business." The band also developed a reputation for rock-star excesses while on tour, including drugs, groupies, trashed hotel rooms, and public disturbances.
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
In a contemporary review for Rolling Stone magazine, Tony Glover wrote that the band's impressive live sound is mostly preserved on the album, although they "got too hung up with the toys of the studio — a few lead lines are all but buried in overdubs, some vocal choruses are just a bit too rich". Robert Christgau, writing for Newsday, hailed the New York Dolls as "the best hard rock band in the country and maybe the world right now", and said that their "special genius is a mixture of early-60s pop-song savvy with late-60s heavy-metal anarchism." He felt that the music's various emotions, "manic" approach, and "careering screech" convey "the oppressive close excitement that Manhattan holds for a half-formed human being" better than the Velvet Underground. In a decade-end list for The Village Voice, Christgau named it the fifteenth best album of the 1970s.
According to Jon Matsumoto of the Los Angeles Times, New York Dolls "often is cited as one of the building blocks of the late '70s punk movement." In a review upon the album's 1987 CD reissue, the newspaper's Robert Hilburn said that the "sassy music and David Johansen's vocals were mostly warmed-over Stones, but the attitude was classic and several songs [on the album] still stand as colorful, if exaggerated, expressions of teen alienation." Ira Robbins of Trouser Press called it a "genuine rock classic". Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine called New York Dolls "a noisy, reckless album that rocks and rolls with a vengeance" and cited it as "the definitive proto-punk album, even more than anything the Stooges released. It plunders history while celebrating it, creating a sleazy urban mythology along the way." According to The Mojo Collection, the album "lit the fuse to punk, and contains enough attitude, enthusiasm and excess to incite more revolutions in the future." Piero Scaruffi called the album's songs "eight fired-up masterpieces which do away with years of sonic rubbish and create a bridge between underground and punk." He also called it the greatest glam rock album of all time.
In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked New York Dolls number 213 on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. "Personality Crisis" was ranked number 271 on the magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. The magazine wrote that New York Dolls "captures both the glory and sorrow of glam, the high jinx and wasted youth, with electric photorealism". Joe Gross, writing in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), called it "absolutely essential" and "epic sleaze, the sound of five young men shaping the big city in their own scuzzy image." Q magazine hailed it as "a lurid clarion call to the musically disaffected". In his list for The Quietus in 2010, English recording artist Morrissey named New York Dolls as his favorite album.
|1.||"Personality Crisis"||David Johansen, Johnny Thunders||3:43|
|2.||"Looking for a Kiss"||Johansen, Thunders||3:20|
|4.||"Lonely Planet Boy"||Johansen, Thunders||4:10|
|5.||"Frankenstein (Orig.)"||Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain||6:00|
|7.||"Bad Girl"||Johansen, Thunders||3:05|
|8.||"Subway Train"||Johansen, Thunders||4:22|
|10.||"Private World"||Johansen, Arthur Kane||3:40|
|11.||"Jet Boy"||Johansen, Thunders||4:40|
Note: In some liner notes the song "Private World" is credited to David Johansen and Johnny Thunders.
- New York Dolls
- David Johansen – vocals, harmonica, gong
- Arthur "Killer" Kane – bass guitar
- Jerry Nolan – drums
- Sylvain Sylvain – rhythm guitar, piano, vocals
- Johnny Thunders – lead guitar, vocals
- Additional personnel
- Todd Rundgren – piano, keyboards, Moog synthesizer
- Buddy Bowser – saxophone
- Alex Spyropoulos – piano
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "New York Dolls". Allmusic. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "New York Dolls". Allmusic. Archived from the original on August 11, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- Hermes 2012, p. 18.
- Agarwal et al. 2007, p. 316.
- Gimarc 2005, p. 7.
- Matsumoto, Jon (September 29, 1994). "The New York Dolls". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- Glover, Tony (September 13, 1973). "New York Dolls". Rolling Stone (Wenner Media). Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- Taylor 2006, p. 163.
- Gimarc 2005, p. 8.
- Strong 2002, p. 126.
- Pilchak 2005, p. 105.
- Pilchak 2005, p. 106.
- Pilchak 2005, pp. 105–6.
- McLeese, Don (November 4, 1987). "Reissue of Dolls' debut is stiletto-sharp". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 52. Retrieved June 22, 2013. (subscription required)
- Christgau 1981, p. 279.
- Hilburn, Robert (November 17, 1987). "Compact Discs". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
- "Review: New York Dolls". Q (London): 139. May 2002.
- "Review: New York Dolls". Rolling Stone (New York): 74. April 27, 2000.
- Gross et al. 2004, p. 583.
- Scaruffi, Piero (1999). "Johnny Thunders (New York Dolls, Heartbreakers)". pieroscaruffi.com. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- "New York Dolls - New York Dolls". Sputnikmusic. Scroll down to Dave Donnelly STAFF.
- Christgau, Robert (1973). "New York Dolls Manuscript". Newsday. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Christgau, Robert (December 17, 1979). "Decade Personal Best: '70s". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Robbins, Ira. "New York Dolls". Trouser Press. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Scaruffi, Piero (1999). "Best Glam Albums of All Times". pieroscaruffi.com. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- "New York Dolls - New York Dolls". rollingstone.com. Wenner Media. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- "New York Dolls, 'Personality Crisis'". rollingstone.com. Wenner Media. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- Gross et al. 2004, p. 584.
- "Morrissey Reveals His Favourite LPs Of All Time". August 13, 2010. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
- Agarwal, Manish et al. (2007). The Mojo Collection (4th ed.). Canongate Books. ISBN 184767643X.
- Christgau, Robert (1981). Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251.
- Gimarc, George (2005). Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide To Underground Rock, 1970-1982. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 0879308486.
- Gross, Joe et al. (2004). Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
- Hermes, Will (2012). Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever. Macmillan. ISBN 0374533547.
- Pilchak, Angela (2005). Contemporary Musicians:Profiles of the People in Music 51. Gale. ISBN 1414405545.
- Strong, Martin Charles (2002). The Great Rock Discography. The National Academies. ISBN 1841953121.
- Taylor, Steve (2006). The A to X of Alternative Music. Continuum. ISBN 0826482171.