New York Dolls

Formed 1971.
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New York Dolls on their musical passions

Filmed for BBC Four documentary Once Upon A Time In New York: The Birth Of Hip Hop, Disco & Punk, David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls talk about the music scene when they formed in the 70's and how much of an influence New York had on their sound.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


The New York Dolls are an American hard rock band formed in New York City in 1971. Along with the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, they were one of the first bands in the early punk rock scene. The line-up at this time comprised vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders, bassist Arthur Kane, guitarist and pianist Sylvain Sylvain, and drummer Jerry Nolan; the latter two had replaced Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia, respectively, in 1972. According to the Encyclopedia of Popular Music (1995), the New York Dolls predated the punk and glam metal movements, and were "one of the most influential rock bands of the last 20 years".

Although their original line-up fell apart quickly, the band's first two albums—New York Dolls (1973) and Too Much Too Soon (1974)—became among the most popular cult records in rock and roll. The New York Dolls influenced bands such as the Sex Pistols, Kiss, the Ramones, Guns N' Roses, the Damned, and the Smiths, whose frontman Morrissey organized a reunion show for the band's surviving members in 2004. After reuniting, they recorded and released three more albums—One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This (2006), Cause I Sez So (2009), and Dancing Backward in High Heels (2011).

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Dancing Backward In High Heels

    Dancing Backward In High Heels 2011

    Reviewed by Johnny Sharp
    Reanimated glam-punk pioneers get dafter as they get older.
  2. Review of Cause I Sez So

    Cause I Sez So 2009

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    A fourth album in 36 years is something to celebrate!
  3. Review of Live at the Royal Festival Hall

    Live at the Royal Festival Hall 2004

    Reviewed by Adam Cumiskey
    Many might have heard of the Dolls but won't know their stuff (many might know their...
  4. Review of New York Dolls

    New York Dolls 1973

    Reviewed by Chris Jones
    Thirty Five years later it still sounds as raw and snotty as ever.
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