Personalities | New York Dolls | Seventies | Rock

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1971–77, 2004–present)

A trailblazing quintet whose energetic, shambolic style has been an enduring influence, the New York Dolls were formed in 1971 by David Johansen (vocals) and Johnny Thunders (guitar, died 1991), adding Sylvain Sylvain (guitar), Arthur Kane (bass, died 2004) and Billy Murcia (drums, died 1972 and replaced by Jerry Nolan, died 1992). The 1973 debut New York Dolls was promoted by a legendary appearance on British television’s The Old Grey Whistle Test.

The album was not a big seller and record company Mercury dropped the Dolls after a similar failure of the 1974 follow-up Too Much Too Soon. Future Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren took charge of the band’s final days as they flirted with communist iconography. Folding in 1977, surviving Dolls Sylvain and Johansen released new albums in 2006 and 2009, playing festivals to acclaim.

Styles & Forms | Seventies | Rock
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock, general editor Michael Heatley


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