This is not part of the series about the year 2013 but a look way further back in modern music history. More than half a century ago, the New York Dolls were one of the first Punk Rock bands alongside their more famous siblings The Stooges and The Velvet Underground, several years before the Sex Pistols. Before their debut album has been released, the band had already lost a member. Drummer Billy Murcia died of an overdose while the band was touring England in 1972. With thei new drummer Gerard „Jerry“ Nolan, they recorded their eleven-track selftitled debut album half a year later and had it released via Mercury Records on July 27, 1973.
The album was recorded within eight days and under time pressure. Studio time was limited and very expensive as well, and furthermore the band had no concept or theme for their longplayer. Instead, the musicians found themselves at The Record Plant where they just started recording. Since most professional producers these days were too conservative, too homophobic or too afraid to work with a band that yelled, jumped and cursed while being dressed in drag, the search for someone to produce the album was tough. In the end, Todd Rundgren who was rather known for producing Prog or Pop was the best choice because he hardly interfered with the band’s ideas.
With fifty years of different Punk Rock streams and waves between the release of New York Dolls and today, one might rather speak of Proto Punk when talking about the music on the New York Dolls‚ first longplayer. The band is loud, savage, breaks rules and taboos, and hold up a mirror to society by presenting them vulgarity and transgression. With music that reaches from Rhythm & Blues and Rock & Roll over Hard and Garage Rock to shiny Glam Rock, the band’s concept was rather anchored in their rebellious attitude than in their sound.
The New York Dolls have never become as successful as some of the famous Punk Rock bands of their era and yet they are an absolute legend of their scene. Their selftitled album as a first collection can be used as a colourful box of influence for myriads of bands who came after them: Ramones, KISS, Demented Are Go, The Damned, or US Bombs to name a few. It is the mix of loud and aggressive music with the hip-moving R’n’B or R’n’R vibes that makes New York Dolls so entertaining. And after all, the album has that Rocky Horror Show air.