Category Archives: DAVID JOHANSEN

NEW YORK DOLLS A Hard Night’s Day (1973/2000)

A Hard Night’s Day(2000)
Excellent 1973 Studio Performance

There are plenty of Dolls demos, boots and rarities around. Most of them suck. This is one of the best. Recorded in March 1973, A Hard Night’s Day features the original recording band – David Johansen, Johnny Thunders, Sylvain Sylvain, Arthur Kane & Jerry Nolan, live in the studio on 21 demos – a live gig, really – filled with chatter, raw, barely bar-worthy chops and a smattering of trashy 50s rock ‘n roll, taped just prior to The Dolls’ Todd Rundgren-produced debut. Live, sans production technique, just as The Dolls were meant to be heard. Even in the studio they managed to stir up shit, as you can only imagine from the off-mic altercation Johansen referees at the beginning of “Pills.” This is the 2000 Norton Records version, but these tapes have been released under a few different titles and labels. There’s more Dolls & Dolls-related stuff in the archives, including From Paris With Love (L.U.V.) (HERE), Live At The Fillmore East-December 28 & 29, 2007 and The Return Of The New York Dolls – Live From Royal Festival Hall, 2004 (both HERE), DAVID JOHANSEN Live It Up (HERE), JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS L.A.M.F. The Lost ’77 Mixes (HERE), Hurt Me (HERE), Stations Of The Cross & I Only Wrote This Song For You: A Tribute To Johnny Thunders (both HERE). Find A Hard Night’s Day at Amazon, HERE.

Seven Day Weekend
Who Are The Mystery Girls?
(There’s Gonna Be A) Showdown
Back In The USA
Looking For A Kiss
Jet Boy
It’s Too Late
Bad Detective
Lonely Planet Boy
Subway Train
Private World
Human Being
Don’t Start Me Talkin
Give Her A Great Big Kiss
Vietnamese Baby
Bad Girl
Personality Crisis


LiveLive (1978/1993)
Post-Dolls Fresh

I was a proud owner of The David Johansen Group’s original promo-only Live LP. Recorded at The Bottom Line, July 21, 1978, it was expanded 15 years later for this CD release. What’s cool about these recordings is that even while Johansen was attempting to move past his past, into greener, more commercial territory, his signature pre-punk/50s glam, bash & pop persona was still fully intact live. You can take the Doll out of the trash, but you can’t take the trash out of the Doll, or some such horseshit. The set list is Dolls-intensive, with some gloriously messy soul sides, “Build Me Up Buttercup” and “Reach Out.” It doesn’t hurt that ex-mates Johnny Thunders and Syl Sylvain show up, too. This is a good one. Loud, raucous & fun. There’s more Dolls & Dolls-related stuff in the archives, including A Hard Night’s Day (outstanding 1973 studio performance, HERE), From Paris With Love (L.U.V.) (HERE), Live At The Fillmore East-December 28 & 29, 2007 and The Return Of The New York Dolls – Live From Royal Festival Hall, 2004 (both HERE), DAVID JOHANSEN Live It Up (HERE), JOHNNY THUNDERS & THE HEARTBREAKERS L.A.M.F. The Lost ’77 Mixes (HERE), Hurt Me (HERE), Stations Of The Cross & I Only Wrote This Song For You: A Tribute To Johnny Thunders (both HERE). Find Live at Amazon, HERE.

Cool Metro
Looking For A Kiss
Not That Much
Funky But Chic
Build Me Up Buttercup
I’m A Lover
I Found A Love
Reach Out (I’ll Be There)
The Girl Don’t Come
Lonely Tenement
Personality Crisis
It’s A Heartache
Personality Crisis (End Of)
Love Child

NEW YORK DOLLS Live At The Fillmore East – December 28 & 29, 2007 (2008)

Live At The Fillmore East -December 28 & 29, 2007 (2008)
Legit Release From The Two York Dolls

An obscure official release, but a bizarre and excellent one that fans won’t want to bypass. First, this CD was originally sold only through the group’s fan club and at live gigs, and the “Fillmore East” in question is actually New York’s Irving Plaza. Why someone renamed that venue with a historic moniker is anybody’s guess, but it’s probably alright since the New York Dolls in question have been pared down by time to just David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain… so what’s in a name? But, even if you consider yourself a purist, those niggling factoids still won’t inhibit your enjoyment factor, since this lovingly sloppy live CD captures the pure essence and spirit of the New York Dolls, regardless of the auxiliary players. The disc is a short, 10-song affair with just two tunes from the reconstituted band’s 2006 return album, One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This. And it’s markedly better than their other official live album, 2004’s The Return Of The New York Dolls (below), making it the band’s best live product (unless you’re married to one of their many boots, old or new). Even odder is that you can get this CD new at Amazon for $4.50 (HERE), while used ones are as little as $2. A nice price for an act with questionable motives selling what might be considered their best work on the down low. Plenty more Dolls HERE in the archives.

Babylon (3:48)
Trash (3:33)
Jet Boy (6:49)
Personality Crisis (5:06)
Rainbow Store (3:37)
Looking For A Kiss (3:52)
Puss N’ Boots (3:05)
Dance Like A Monkey (4:46)
Pills (4:03)
Lonely Planet Boy (6:28)

The Return Of The New York Dolls – Live From Royal Festival Hall, 2004 (2004)
While we’re here, here’s the 2004 version of the NYDolls, with original bassist, Arthur “Killer” Kane (just prior to his passing). This was recorded after a series of reunion rehearsals for the UK’s Meltdown Festival, before the new configuration had road-tested their ancient chops. It’s an admirable representation and, along with Live At The Fillmore East, equals the original band’s two LP output of the 70s. The DVD’s @ Amazon, HERE.

Looking For A Kiss (3:38)
Puss N’ Boots (3:17)
Subway Train (5:12)
Bad Girl (4:09)
You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory/Lonely Planet Boy (5:52)
Private World (4:04)
Vietnamese Baby (3:55)
Dialogue (2:25)
Frankenstein (6:42)
Babylon (4:16)
Dialogue (2:08)
Trash (3:35)
Jet Boy (7:39)
Personality Crisis (8:24)
Human Being (7:21)

VARIOUS ARTISTS In Their Own Words, Volumes One & Two (1994/1996)

In Their Own Words, Volume One (1994)
In Their Own Words, Volume Two (1996)
Eclectic Collection Of Various Artists, Playing Live, Unplugged And Telling Stories

=Before VH1’s Storytellers, radio DJ Vin Scelsa hosted this similar concept, featuring a vast array of artists recorded live at The Bottom Line. Subtitled A Bunch of Songwriters Sittin’ Around Singing, the results were released on CDs in 1994 & 1996. Each artist speaks for half a minute or two before their performance, so the pace is fast, the editing is smooth and a lot of stylistic ground gets covered. 31 artists are credited, but there are plenty of others in the background. For instance, Jules Shear and Marshall Crenshaw back Don Dixon on “Fever.” Richard Thompson plays guitar for both Barrett Strong (author of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”) and the Blasters’ Dave Alvin. Al Kooper’s on organ behind William Bell and that’s Glen Burtnik supporting both Patty Smyth and Derek & The Dominos’ Bobby Whitlock. The intimate live setting makes for a surprisingly consistent listen, considering the artistic diversity. Hear some intros and songs below. Amazon has both One (HERE) and Two (HERE).

Volume One
DION – King Of The New York Streets
BARRETT STRONG – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
JOEY RAMONE – I Wanna Be Sedated (intro only)
RIC OCASEK – Just What I Needed
JANIS IAN – At Seventeen
JIMMY WEBB – Wichita Lineman
DAVE ALVIN – Andersonville
FRED KOLLER – Let’s Talk Dirty In Hawaiian
LUKA BLOOM – I Need Love
GRAHAM PARKER – No Woman, No Cry
SHAWN COLVIN – That’s The Way Love Goes
BOBBY WHITLOCK – Will The Circle Be Unbroken

Volume Two
GORDON GANO – Songwriter’s Song
BILLY BRAGG – To Have And Have Not
WILLIAM BELL – Born Under A Bad Sign
PATTY SMYTH – Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough
JOHN CALE – Paris 1919
DAVID JOHANSEN – Lookin’ For A Kiss (with intro)
BRUCE COCKBURN – Silver Wheels
MARCIA BALL – Louisiana, 1927
JILL SOBULE – I Will Survive

DAVID JOHANSEN Live It Up (1982)

Live It Up (1982)
Prime Johansen

Fun live set from New York Doll, David Johansen. This was Johansen’s first official live album, in or out of the Dolls, not counting his 1978 promo only LP, Live – which would eventually become “official” in 1993. Like that album, this one is heavy on 60s cover material (“Build Me Up Buttercup,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” DJ’s Animals medley) mixed with some Dolls chestnuts and a few highlights from Johansen’s solo career, which included three solo studio albums by this time. The set list hadn’t changed all that much since ’78, but the non-stop road work of the previous few years paid off in a tightly honed and highly energetic set. I doubt Johansen’s vocals have ever sounded any better than during this era. Look in the archives to find the ’78 promo. Amazon.

We Gotta Get Outta This Place/Don’t Bring Me Down/It’s My Life (4:26)
Frenchette (4:55)
Reach Out I’ll Be There (3:26)
Is This What I Get For Loving You (3:15)
Donna  (4:20)
Build Me Up Buttercup (2:41)
Melody (3:05)
Funky But Chic (3:53)
Bohemian Love Pad (2:56)
Stranded In The Jungle (3:48)
Personality Crisis (5:03)