New York Dolls, the

New York Dolls, the

▪ American rock group
 American band whose raw brand of glam rock revitalized the , foreshadowing punk rock (punk) by half a decade. The members were David Johansen (b. January 9, 1950, New York, New York, U.S.), Johnny Thunders (byname of John Genzale; b. July 15, 1952, New York—d. April 23, 1991, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.), Billy Murcia (b. 1951, New York—d. November 6, 1972, London, England), Sylvain Sylvain (byname of Sylvain Sylvain Mizrahi; b. February 14, 1951, Cairo, Egypt), Jerry Nolan (b. May 7, 1946, New York—d. January 14, 1992, New York), Arthur Kane (b. New York—d. July 13, 2004, Los Angeles, California), and Rick Rivets (b. New York).

      Formed in 1971, the New York Dolls first gained notoriety in 1972 for their outrageous performances at the Mercer Arts Center and Max's Kansas City in lower Manhattan, where they appeared in their signature attire—women's makeup and bizarre clothing. Their glam-rock androgyny belied an unpolished musical style that combined British Invasion-influenced rhythm and blues with the guitar distortion and booming backbeat of proto-punk bands such as the MC5 (MC5, the) and Iggy and the Stooges. The drug-related death of drummer Murcia during the band's tour of England in 1972 further fueled their reputation. The following year they signed with Mercury Records and released New York Dolls, produced by Todd Rundgren. Their 1974 follow-up, the aptly named Too Much Too Soon, gave title to the band's dissolution as its members struggled with drug and alcohol addictions. Notwithstanding their lack of commercial success, the irreverent Dolls had a lasting influence on a generation of bands—most notably the Sex Pistols (Sex Pistols, the), whose founder, Malcolm McLaren, managed the Dolls briefly before their breakup in 1977. The band reunited in 2004 and was in the midst of a tour when Kane died of complications from leukemia.

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