Short, sweet and pretty damn powerful. Glam Music has spread its sparkly butterfly wings across the globe over the past 40 years. It has sprinkled its’ powdered dust over many a genre of music since. From its original roots in 70s Rock to Metal, to 80s Glam and New Wave/Romantics, to the Dance scene, Hip Hop, R&B and the mass consumed Pop music of Lady Gaga and the American Idol franchise, Glam Music has left its’ indelible imprint in one way or another. There is no place better to start than its’ very roots. However, not in the UK, but from the gritty streets of New York City in 1973.
The blasting appearance of the New York Dolls‘ debut album in 1973, was nothing short of a breath of fresh air for any young music fan keen for something not appealable to the mass, but something from the outside fringes. Music from a place that was sure to shock and offend most. The image on a 12×12″ LP cover of 5 guys in drag on a beat up couch was the jarring contrast of the music within the album.
A few years back at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, I had the good fortune of seeing the reunited NY Dolls perform for the first time in many years. This was a gig that I had waited over 35 years to see. I never had the chance to see the New York Dolls in the beginning back in 1973 (I was living in Nova Scotia at the time) so I witnessed ‘an event’ as they wrapped up their North American tour in Toronto with a 2 hour Rock N’ Roll party. Yes, the show was a neat mix of old and new material, but for the sake of the new and uninitiated, when it comes to the New York Dolls, their sometimes under-appreciated legacy and gift comes down to their first 2 albums from 1973 and 1974, respectively, New York Dolls and Too Much, Too Soon.
Their story is of Rock N’ Roll legend. Just read their bio online and it is a mixed-up tale of excess, fast times, success and disappointment plagued with abuse and death. Musically, it was an all out assault with an original mix of Blues, Garage Rock, NY R&B and Rock n’ Roll with a sassy flash of brilliance. However, despite their limited appeal in the beginning, their image and their music set the tone for many things to come – 70s Punk, New Wave, 80s Heavy Metal and 90s “Alternative” Rock. From Kiss to Blondie to Def Leppard to Hanoi Rocks to Guns n’ Roses to Aerosmith to The Pixies to Nirvana and so much more, the New York Dolls have left their unmistakable Brooklyn imprint on the music world.
Again, for the uninitiated, check out on YouTube from their first self titled album – “Personality Crisis“, “Trash“, “Lonely Planet Boy“, “Pills“ (written by Bo Diddley) , “Bad Girl“ and “Lookin’ For A Kiss“.
Now all you have to do is pick out the purse to match the pumps, apply some lipstick and get set to Rock N’ Roll! What could be more fun in the urban jungle!