It’s been more than four decades since the NEW YORK DOLLS first outraged mainstream critics and struck terror into the hearts of public guardians of taste and morality. In that time, the once-controversial quintet has been recognized as a seminal musical force and a key influence on the punk movement that came into being shortly after the DOLLS‘ breakup. Now, UMe celebrates the NEW YORK DOLLS‘ legacy with new limited-edition colored-vinyl editions of the band’s two classic ’70s LPs, “New York Dolls” and “Too Much Too Soon”, out on May 5.
The new vinyl releases, available in strictly limited editions of 500 each and exclusively available through uDiscover, are as flamboyant visually as the albums’ musical contents. The self-titled disc boasts a unique opaque pink and black color scheme, while “Too Much Too Soon” has an equally audacious combination of opaque pink and clear. Both albums, which also feature their complete original cover art, are also available from UMe in standard black vinyl editions.
With a classic lineup featuring frontman David Johansen, guitarists Johnny Thunders and Syl Sylvain, bassist Arthur Kane and drummer Jerry Nolan, the NEW YORK DOLLS served as a bridge between the edgy outrage of the VELVET UNDERGROUND and THE STOOGES and the raw aggression of the multiple generations of punk and hard-rock bands that would soon follow.
In their original release, “New York Dolls” and “Too Much Too Soon” polarized audiences, embraced by a devoted core of kindred spirits and reviled by many mainstream listeners. “New York Dolls”, produced in raw, hands-off style by Todd Rundgren, captures the band’s love for raw, raucous rock ‘n’ roll and Brill Building teen-pop, with such landmark DOLLS anthems as “Personality Crisis”, “Trash”, “Jet Boy” and “Looking for A Kiss”. It’s now regarded as one of rock’s greatest debut albums.
“Too Much Too Soon”, recorded with reclusive legendary producer Shadow Morton, was titled in acknowledgement of the band members’ various personal indulgences. The album features a mix of such band originals as “Babylon”, “Who Are the Mystery Girls?”, “It’s Too Late” and “Human Being”, along with personalized covers of such tunes as the CADETS‘ “Stranded in the Jungle”, ARCHIE BELL AND THE DRELLS‘ “There’s Gonna Be a Showdown’ and Sonny Boy Williamson‘s “Don’t Start Me Talkin'”.
Although the NEW YORK DOLLS dissolved soon after “Too Much Too Soon”, the band’s ongoing influence, along with the patronage of DOLLS superfan Morrissey, led Johansen and Sylvain to assemble a new version of the band in 2004, leading to a series of tours and three albums of new DOLLS material.
Despite that latter-day revival, “New York Dolls” and “Too Much Too Soon” remain the foundation of the NEW YORK DOLLS‘ rock ‘n’ roll legacy. Now they can once again be heard the way they were meant to be heard — on vinyl!