Top 10 New York Dolls Songs

New York Dolls Songs

Photo: Libertinus [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

The New York Dolls were an American hard rock band formed in New York City in 1971. Along with The Velvet Underground and The Stooges, they are considered one of the key bands of proto-punk. Although their original line-up was short-lived, their first two albums, 1973’s self-titled New York Dolls and 1974’s Too Much Too Soon, are considered among cult rock’s best albums. Their line-up in the early years consisted of vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders, bassist Arthur Kane, guitarist/keyboardist Sylvain Sylvain, and drummer Jerry Nolan, who had replaced Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia in 1972.

The New York Dolls were also known for their outlandish dress sense, which included wearing high heels and makeup. As a result, they have influenced many bands in the glam rock genre and punk. Groups who have cited them as an influence include the Sex Pistols, Kiss, The Ramones, Guns N’ Roses, The Damned, and The Smiths, whose frontman Morrisey organized a reunion show for the surviving members in 2004. After this, they released three more albums: 2006’s One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, 2009’s Cause I Sez So, and 2011’s Dancing Backwards in High Heels. After touring with Alice Cooper, they have since been inactive, and the band’s touring guitarist, Earl Sick, stated that they decided to split up after the Alice Cooper tour.

# 10 – Vietnamese Baby

Kicking off our Top 10 New York Dolls Songs list is this great track from the self-titled debut The New York Dolls released in 1973. Legendary producer and artist Todd Rundgren produced the band’s debut album. The New York Dolls were not a band of very competent musicians. They were also a reckless bunch. The marriage of the New York Dolls and Todd Rundgren in the studio was like a school teacher trying to manage a rowdy bunch of students in class. Nonetheless, the result was groundbreaking albums due to Todd Rundgren’s talents and The New York Dolls’ wild energy.

# 9 – Stranded in the Jungle

The band released their second album, 1974’s Too Much Too Soon, just a year after their first. It would be their last album for another thirty-two years. “Stranded in The Jungle” covered the great Jayhawks song. It was also included on their 1994 compilation album Rock n Roll. Despite not being their own song, it was so connected to the band that a biography about drummer Jerry Nolan was named after it. Also, Johansen included a live version of it on his 1982 album Live it Up.

# 8 – Don’t Start Me Talking

The great cover version of “Don’t Start Me Talking” was released on the album Lipstick Killers – The Mercer Street Sessions 1972. The release was based on early demos. The song was originally recorded by blues artist Sonny Boy Williamson II, who also composed the song.  It was a number three hit for Sonny Boy Williamson II in 1955.

# 7 – Teenage News

“Teenage News” was released on the 1984 live album Red Patent Leather. The song “Red Patent Leather” was initially intended to be recorded for their third studio album. However, the band’s excessive drinking and partying led to that third album never being recorded or released and the eventual breakup of The New York Dolls.

# 6 – Seven Day Weekend

The title track from their 1992 demo collection album, its lyrics deal with not having a job. It is one of five tracks on the album, all of which were recorded in 1973 that did not end up on either of the band’s first two albums, another of which is “Great Big Kiss” which Thunders performed a version of on his 1978 album So Alone.

# 5 – Courageous Cat Theme

One of only three previously unreleased tracks from their 1994 compilation Rock N Roll, which was a collection of most of their songs from the first album and selective tracks from the second, this is yet another cover version, albeit this time of a theme tune of an early 60’s children’s cartoon. It was recorded for a commercial during the recording sessions for the second album and, as expected, is a distorted take on the original track, which works rather well.

# 4 – Gimme Love and Turn On the Light

From their long-awaited third album from 2006, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, this track features Iggy Pop on guest vocals. Pop was one of several guests on the album, including R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe and Bo Diddley. It only features Johansen and Sylvian from the original line-up, with all the others having died in the years since their original split. There was much speculation on how the record would fair with the band having been gone for so many years, however the album was met with a generally positive reception.

# 3 – Trash

Although this song was originally on the first album, this is a different reggae-style version from 2009’s Cause I Sez So. Given that the Dolls are a band that has previously had nothing to do with reggae, it would seemingly not sound like a good idea for them to re-record one of their songs like this without it sounding a little bit lame. However, it works better than you would think.

# 2 – End of Summer

The outstanding “End Of Summer” track was released on the band’s final album, 2011 Dancing Backwards in High Heels. The album featured David Johansen on lead vocals, Sylvain on guitar and vocals, Frank Infante on guitar, Jason Hill on bass and vocals, and Brian Delaney on drums. Having the New York Dolls back for a while was surprising and nice. This track proves how much we mean that.

# 1 – Personality Crisis

Their best-known song from their first album, “Personality Crisis,” is a definitive glam-punk anthem rather reminiscent of the Rolling Stones. Its rocking riff and accompanying piano part mark a true footnote in rock history from which many more artists would pick up. Its lyrics also make a statement, commenting on individualism and liberation, which the band was also doing with their imagery.

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  1. Avatar timetravla January 4, 2024

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