The Heartbreakers: The Yonkers demos (1976)


Early Heartbreakers (1975)

HBO’s Vinyl is one of the most exaltating  – and as accurate as a mass product could be – r’n’r tv show ever. On its epic, Martin Scorsese directed pilot, a New York Dolls show in 1973 caused the collapse of the Mercer Art Street Center as well as the enlightment of the main character Richie Finestra.

Well, after 43 years some great bands (The New York Dolls, Iggy and The Stooges, Television) will get the recognition they deserved from a general public that for the very first time will get exposed to them. Too little, too late…

Let’s jump forward: The Dolls acrimously split up in a trailer camp in Florida in Spring 1975. Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan came back to NYC to their smack suppliers. In the meantime, Yom Verlaine has given Richard Hell the boot from Television. Enter Walter Lure and it’s the birth of the first supergroup of New York punk rock.


Early Heartbreakers (1976)

The early Heartbreakers were a case study of “too many cocks in a roster”. Without Richard Hell, the Heartbreakers  were a far better band (and The Television, I have to say, a much better one…). Mr. Myers was a good poet, a great scenemaker, hardly a distinguished musician and/or a songwriter.

It’s too bad we hadn’t  had the chance to hear anything professionally recorded from this ill-fated yet powerful line-up. Until now. For the very first time here a demo session recorded by Bobby Orlando at the SBS Studios in Yonkers, NY in January 1976 with killer early versions of such r’n’r classics as Chines Rocks, Born to Lose, Love Comes in Spurts, Blank Generation (both later in The Voidoids first LP).

01. Love Comes In Spurts 0:00
02. I Wanna Be Loved By You 2:47
03. Blank Generation 5:20
04. Chinese Rocks 8:10
05. Pirate Love 11:07
06. Can’t Keep My Eyes On You 14:35
07. Flight 17:53
08. Hurt Me 21:35
09. You Gotta Lose 25:39
10. Goin’ Steady 28:47



David Johansen Group in Germany (early ’80s)


The Dolls split up in an orgy of heroin, acrimony and poor management (Malcom Mc Laren was a situationist genius, but pretty incompetent business side…). Nolan and Thunders left Florida (where the dolls decamped in 1974) and went back to NYC to form the Heartbreakers with Richard Hell just ousted from Television.


David Johansen and Sylvian tried to revive the Dolls but gave up after a while. David Johansen formed the David Johansen Group starting an interesting solo career. His first three studio albums –David Johansen (1978), In Style (1979) and Here Comes the Night (1981)- are pretty solid. The two live albums –The David Johansen Group Live (1978) and Live it Up (1982) are the real thing…

Here it comes half an hour of never seen footage of the David Johansen Group in its most rocking hour…


The New York Dolls in Germany 1973


They outstoned The Stones. They outglamed Bowie. They outpunked punks. And they failed…

Well the story of the New York Dolls is a typical r’n’r tale. Five lads enamoured of ’50s and ’60’s r’n’r, r’n’B and girls dresses.

NY is a lonely town if you’re the one rock’n’roller around… and those years (early seventies) were miserable times for hi-nrg r’n’r: the velvet underground had disbanded, the stooges were on a hiatus, the mc5 were relocated in europe, as well as the flamin’ groovies, and ready to split. real R’n’R in america was pratically banned, it was played only by few bands in very local and parochial scenes. Patti Smith Group, Suicide, The Dictators, The Ramones, The Runaways, The Real Kids, The DMZ were still to come…

The new york Dolls played hyperhyped and oversexed r’n’r: bo diddley and chuck berry submerged in a decadent Bowery sleaze. In the Fall of 1973 they flew to europe for a promotional blietzkrieg. They played in the posh restaurant “Biba” in london, then for a radio session in paris, and then went to Germany to record a short set for the nationwide music program “MusiK laden”. At the time only a couple of songs were broadcasted, but recently all the tracks recorded have surfaced. It’s one of the few document of the New York Dolls at the top of their game…


In the last issue of the excellent fanzine “Ugly Things” there is a brilliant essay about the NY dolls discography edited by Greg Prevost (Yes, the front man of the garage Gods Chesterfield Kings). Obviously it’s worth reading.

This goes out to Olivia e Sophia, new dolls in town…