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The Life And Times Of Johnny Thunders – BBC Radio 1

The Life And Times Of Johnny Thunders – BBC Radio 1

Interesting broadcast from the Beeb back in 1992 which compiles various BBC interviews done with the great man during the eighties with some great Thunders and Heartbreakers music.

Here’s Johnny!

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July 23, 2008 Posted by | Johnny Thunders, Music_Punk, OTHER_SPOKEN WORD, _MUSIC | Leave a comment

JOHNNY THUNDERS TRIBUTE (Buried Treasure Podcast No. 6 )

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JOHNNY THUNDERS TRIBUTE (Buried Treasure Podcast No. 6 )
Part 1: 61 minutes / 56 mb
Part 2: 52 minutes / 50 mb

Great podcast and post below from buriedtreasurepodcast

Colin writes …..

It’s hard to believe that Johnny Thunders has been gone for 17 years now and although anticipated, his death still came as a shock, particularly the violent manner with which he died.

17 years is a long time. Time enough for his legacy to have grown and for his guitar playing to have influenced a whole new generation of kids. In many respects, rock ‘n’ roll died with him, for he is yet to be surpassed, and in my world, he never will be.

There will never be another like him. This special edition podcast, on the anniversary of his death, is my tribute to his memory and his music. If this is your first taste of Thunders, welcome aboard.

This podcast is in 2 parts for you to download. If you enjoy this podcast, go out and but his albums and the books released by Nina Antonia. Jungle Records is a good place to start.

This podcast features a range of interviews, demos and live material, 99% of which has not been commercially released.

Part one of the Thunders tribute podcast includes: The New York Dolls from Long Island in 74, an early demo of Born To Lose, Love Comes In Spurts demo with Richard Hell on vocals, The Heartbreakers live from CBGB’s in January ’76 and also a tune from Manchester on the infamous Anarchy Tour of ’76. You will also hear a tune from The Living Dead and a demo from Gang War. Also included are a couple of BBC radio interviews with Thunders from 1984.

Part 2 of the podcast focuses on the last years of Thunders life, with some great live material from Detroit in 89 and a killer tribute song by Michael Thimren (Thunders’ Swedish guitar player 82-83), which was originally released on my old label, Vicious Kitten Records. There’s a demo of ‘Help the Homeless’, as well a tune from the very last Heartbreakers performance in 1990. We also include a song by The Heartbreakers from the Johnny Thunders Memorial Show from NYC in June, 1991 (the last time Jerry Nolan performed on stage). Also included is a rare ‘audio documentary’ on Thunders’ life, which runs for 30 minutes and was originally aired on BBC Radio 1 in 1992. RIP…..



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July 22, 2008 Posted by | Johnny Thunders, Music_Punk, OTHER_SPOKEN WORD, _MUSIC | Leave a comment

Johnny Thunders with The Golden Horde – Live Dublin April 1990

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Johnny Thunders LIVE
with The Golden Horde and Jamie Heath
at The New Inn, Dublin
28 April 1990

Here’s a show which features Johnny Thunders with Irish punk band “The Golden Horde”.

Johnny is pretty pissed this night on this, his third night in Ireland since he hasn’t been paid by the promoter for the previous 2 shows!! He said he wanted to cancel but played anyway “for the kids”.

I was actually at one of those gigs in the New Inn. Man, what a fucking dump – it should have been called “the Oldest inn in the world”!

Johnny was fairly fucked up alright during that Dublin trip. Strung out and drunk. A shadow of his former self. Within twelve months he would, very sadly, be found dead in New Orleans, under very mysterious circumstances.

Nevertheless, it was great to have seen the great man!

We did like the Horde too and saw them play live numerous times back in those days. Cartoon Ramones and rich kids, perhaps, but they always put on a great show!


1. Louie Louie
2. In Cold Blood
3. Sad Vacation
4. Walk My Dog
5. Pipeline
6. As Tears Go By
7. You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory

Here’s Johnny!

PART 1 –

PART 2 –

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July 22, 2008 Posted by | Johnny Thunders, Music_Punk, The Golden Horde, _MUSIC | Leave a comment

Johnny Thunders "You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory"

You’re just a bastard kid and you got no name

A fascinating video for Johnny’s classic track, from French TV.

A very simple video but vraiment magnifique!

I love the advertising at the end of Johnny’s impending gigs at the Glibus Club Paris on June 10th and 11th! What year was it though?

It doesn’t pay to try,
All the smart boys know why,
It doesn’t mean I didn’t try,
I just never know why.
Feel so cold and all alone,
Cause baby, you’re not at home.
And when I’m home
Big deal, I’m still alone.

Feel so restless, I am,
Beat my head against a pole
Try to knock some sense,
down in my bones.
And even though they don’t show,
The scars aren’t so old
And when they go,
They let you know

You can’t put your arms around a memory
You can’t put your arms around a memory
You can’t put your arms around a memory
Don’t try, don’t try

You’re just a bastard kid,
And you got no name
Cause you’re living with me,
We’re one and the same

And even though they dont show,
They scars aren’t so old
And when they go,
They let you know

You can’t put your arms around a memory
You can’t put your arms around a memory
You can’t put your arms around a memory
Don’t try, don’t try

You can’t put your arms around a memory
You can’t put your arms around a memory
You can’t put your arms around a memory
Don’t try, don’t try

From: blob83000

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July 21, 2008 Posted by | Johnny Thunders, Music_Punk, _MUSIC, _POETRY, _VIDEO | Leave a comment

Johnny Thunders – Solo Discography

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Johnny Thunders – Solo Discography

Some great LPs by the infamous Noo Yawk punk master who tragically died far far too young, aged only 39!

We saw Thunders perform (using the term very loosely!) in a shitty club in inner-city Dublin not long before his death, and he was in a very bad way physically. Totally wasted. All too sad.

Johnny was a great songwriter and created some timeless punk-pop classics.

Though you can’t put your arm around a memory, we’ll always remember Johnny T and his wonderful music!

Johnny Thunders, born John Anthony Genzale, Jr (July 15, 1952 – April 23, 1991), was a great Italian-American rock and roll guitarist, singer and songwriter. As far as we know, he was not involved in the Cosa Nostra (though there is a track of that name on Hurt Me!)!

The stage name Johnny Thunders was reputedly inspired by a song titled “Johnny Thunder” about a villainous biker character written by Ray Davies and recorded in 1968 by The Kinks for their Village Green Preservation Society concept album.

Though he disapproved of the term “punk rock”, Thunders is widely recognised as a foundational influence on the genre, particularly for his penetrating guitar sound.

Johnny came to prominence in the early ’70s as a member of the New York Dolls, and afterwards became a well known figure in the New York punk scene, with the New York Dolls, with The Heartbreakers and as a solo artist.

After The Heartbreakers disbanded, Thunders recorded a number of solo albums beginning with So Alone in 1978. The notoriously drug-fueled recording sessions featured a core band of Thunders, bassist Phil Lynott, drummer Paul Cook, and guitarist Steve Jones, with guest appearances from Chrissie Hynde, Steve Marriott, Walter Lure, Billy Rath, and Peter Perrett of The Only Ones. After its release, Thunders and Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious played in the Living Dead for a short time.

//” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.During the early 1980s, Thunders re-formed The Heartbreakers for various tours. The group recorded their final album in 1984.

During this period, Thunders released three excellent solo outings in Diary of a Lover (1982), In Cold Blood (1983) and Hurt Me (1984).

In 1985, Johnny released Que Sera Sera, a collection of new songs that showed he could still perform convincingly.

Three years later he recorded Copy Cats, an album of rock and R&B covers with vocalist Patti Palladin.

Thunders kept performing and recording until his death in 1991, but problems with heroin addiction kept his output and song writing sporadic during the 1980s. These bands would be formed ad hoc, using Jerry Nolan as a mainstay.

His final recording was a cover of “Born to Lose” with German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen, recorded 36 hours before his death.

Thunders struggled with drug and alcohol addiction and died under very mysterious circumstances at the St. Peter House in New Orleans, Louisiana in April 1991. He apparently died of drug-related causes, but it has been speculated that it was the result of foul play.

There is a great Thunders resource here where loads of Johnny stuff can be had; Thunders – Solo Studio Albums

So Alone – (1978)
Diary of a Lover – (1982)
In Cold Blood – (1983)
Hurt Me – (1984)
Que Sera Sera – (1985)
Copy Cats – (1988)

1978 – So Alone
So Alone cover

The star studded solo debut and the home of Johnny’s sublime single “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” .

After recording L.A.M.F. with the Heartbreakers, Thunders returned to the studio and recorded his first true solo album, So Alone. The album featured Heartbreakers Walter Lure and Billy Rath, as well as several well-known guest musicians, including Chrissie Hynde, Phil Lynott, Steve Marriott, Peter Perrett, Steve Jones and Paul Cook.

The album contained a mix of originals, standards from Heartbreakers live shows and covers, including the Chantays’ surf classic “Pipeline”, the Shangri-Las’ “[Give Him a] Great Big Kiss”, Otis Blackwell’s “Daddy Rollin’ Stone”, done as a duet with Lynott, and the New York Dolls’ “Subway Train”.

Trouser Press called the album “Thunders at his best.”


Side one

1. “Pipeline” (Bob Spickard, Brian Carman)
2. “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory”
3. “Great Big Kiss” (Catside, Parsons)
4. “Ask Me No Questions”
5. “Leave Me Alone”

Side two

1. “Daddy Rollin’ Stone” (Otis Blackwell)
2. “London Boys” (Billy Rath, Walter Lure, Thunders)
3. “(She’s So) Untouchable”
4. “Subway Train” (Thunders, David Johansen)
5. “Downtown” (Thunders, Johansen)

Here she be:


1982 – Diary Of A Lover
Diary of a Lover cover


Side one

  1. Green Onions
  2. Look In My Eyes
  3. Just Another Girl

Side two

  1. In Cold Blood
  2. Diary Of A Lover
  3. Endless Party

Here she be:

1983 – In Cold Blood


1.: In Cold Blood
2.: Just Another Girl
3.: Green Onions
4.: Diary Of A Lover
5.: Look In My Eyes
6.: Intro/Just Another Girl (live)
7.: Too Much Junkie Business (live)
8.: Sad Vacation (live)
9.: Louie Louie (live)
10.: Gloria (live)
11.: Treat Me Like A Nigger (live)
12.: Do You Love Me (live)
13.: Green Onions (live)
14.: Commandments (live)
15.: Green Onions
16.: 10 Commandments

Here she be:

1984 – Hurt Me
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1. Sad Vacation
2. Eve of Destruction – Johnny Thunder
3. Too Much Too Soon
4. Joey Joey – Johnny Thunder
5. I’m a Boy, I’m a Girl
6. Go Back to Go
7. I Like to Play Games
8. Hurt Me
9. Illagitammate Son of Segovia
10. It Ain’t Me Babe
11. Diary of a Lover
12. I’d Rather Be With the Boys (Than Girls Like You)
13. You Can’t Put Your Arms Round a Memory
14. (She’s So) Untouchable
15. Ask Me No Questions
16. She’s So Strange
17. Lonely Planet Boy
18. M.I.A.
19. Cosa Nostra

Here she be:

1985 – Que Sera Sera (CD re-issue from 2004)
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01. Short Lives
02. M.I.A.
03. I Only Wrote This Song For You
04. Little Bit Of Whore
05. Cool Operator
06. Blame It On Mom
07. Tie Me Up
08. Alone In A Crowd
09. Billy Boy
10. Endless Party
11. Short Lives (Heavenly Mix)
12. Cool Operator (Black Cat Mix)

Here she be:

1988 – Copy Cats
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1. Can’t Seem To Make You Mine
2. Baby It’s You
3. She Wants To Mambo
4. Treat Her Right
5. Uptown To Harlem
6. Crawfish
7. Alligator Wine
8. Two Time Loser
9. Love Is Strange
10. I Was Born To Cry
11. He Cried
12. Let Me Entertain You

Here she be:

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July 21, 2008 Posted by | Johnny Thunders, Music_DISCOGRAPHY, Music_Punk, _MUSIC | 1 Comment

Putting an arm around the memory of Johnny Thunders

I saw Johnny play in a tiny shithole club in Dublin not long before his unfortunate and young demise. He was really fucked up that night.

Even though you can’t put an arm around a memory, we’ll always remember his great music!

On this the fourth of July, a nice piece below on the great Johnny Thunders from panicon4july.blogspot

Up from the red-leather remains of the New York Dolls rose the Heartbreakers, founded by ex-Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders (né Genzale) and handsome-devil drummer Jerry Nolan in 1975. Leaving their former band members in Florida with some guy named McLaren so they could score smack back in the Big Apple, Johnny and Jerry tapped proto-punk poster-boy Richard Hell for their new ensemble. CBGBs and Max’s Kansas City were their battlefields and they were an integral part of this febrile, fertile spawning ground.

You know the litany of names: the Ramones, Television, Blondie, Talking Heads, etc. etc. Though Hell froze up and departed, the Heartbreakers, eventually released only one album, the sonically-challenged L.A.M.F. (Like, of course, a motherfucker) in 1977. This recent mix, from re-discovered tapes, sounds wonderful, less muddy, and all sleaze.

What makes the Heartbreakers great is simplicity. They reduced twenty years of rock and pop and rhythm and blues into 3 minute rave-ups that always leave the listener wanting more. Johnny’s guitar-slinging rings true, always teetering on the edge of collapse: it’s chaotic and exhilarating. Blistering leads, solos that sound like a strangling cat, chugging rhythms like the subway trains roaring beneath the city streets.

Songs like “Get Off the Phone,” “Going Steady,” “Baby Talk,” and “Let Go” are trashy rock’n’roll rave-ups, with all the requisite elements: catchy choruses, sleazy good-time lyrics (the ones that make sense, anyway; Johnny weren’t no English perfessor), driving drums, and immediate gratification. A song like “One Track Mind” is a beautiful thing, all irresistible chorus and air-guitar glory. “It’s Not Enough” is a reflective ballad-sorta thing, with Johnny lamenting how “You can give me this/You can give me that” but it’s not enough. “Pirate Love” exists only for the dual-guitar solo that rivals anything the Dolls ever laid down.

Then there are the classics, the signature tunes that no Johnny Thunders performance was complete without: “Born to Lose,” (or, alternately “Born Too Loose”) which opens the album with an out-of-tune guitar whine, and lyrics revealing again just what a poet of the streets Johnny was: “Nothin’ to do/Oh nothin’ to say/Only one thing that I want/It’s the only way/I said hit it!/Baby, I was born to lose.”

“Chinese Rocks” is perhaps Thunders’ most famous song even though it was written by fellow junkster Dee Dee Ramone. Anyone unsure as to what the song refers can be sure, it ain’t nothing like Pop Rocks.

“The plaster’s fallin off the walls
My girlfriend’s cryin in the shower stall
It’s hot as a bitch
I shoulda been rich
But I’m just diggin a Chinese ditch
I’m livin on Chinese rocks
All my best things are in hock
I’m livin on Chinese rocks
Everything is in the pawn shop”

These songs depict the downside of downtown and how the jungle could eat you alive. Johnny’s status as a stylish, decadent loser who strutted those mean streets is legendary. As Wayne Kramer (MC5) said of Johnny: “He could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

The Heartbreakers weren’t really a punk band, even though they rounded out the legendary Anarchy tour of the UK in late ’76 with a couple bands you mighta heard of, the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Rumor has it–actually, it’s more than rumor, it’s fact–that the Heartbreakers introduced heroin to the much younger and more naive UK punks, and Nancy Spungen went looking for Jerry Nolan and followed them there. You know what happened after that.

The band was never able to secure a record deal with an American label due to their, uh, extracurricular activities, so eventually they broke up. Johnny would put out a decidedly mixed solo album a year later (So Alone) and continue to travel the world as a performer. Shows were plagued by his drug use, his attitude, his poor guitar-playing. I never got to see him perform, and odds are that if I had, I’d’ve seen a shambles of a set. In April of 1991 Johnny Thunders was hauled out of a grimy New Orleans hotel, his lifeless body doubled over from the effects of countless drugs. It’s not enough, is it, Johnny? No, I guess it never is.

Well, all that don’t matter. What does matter is that if you care about real rock’n’roll you need this album. It rocks like nothing else I know, but fits kinda between the raunchiest Stones and the Replacements (whose “Johnny’s Gonna Die” is an ode to Thunders), Guns N’ Roses, my beloved Hanoi Rocks, very early Motley Crue (like just their first album) and other (good) hard rock of the ’80s.

Practically every hard-rock/glam/metal guitarist that tosses a mane of out-of-control hair with a sneer and screech copped it from Johnny (who of course copped it from Keith Richards, let’s be honest here). Johnny deserves to be remembered for his single-minded rock tunes, his dedication to the rock’n’roll lifestyle, and also for one of the coolest rock “nom de guerres” ever–I mean, “Johnny Thunders” how cool is that?!

Thanks Johnny Rock on RIP!

I said hit it…


July 4, 2008 Posted by | Johnny Thunders, OTHER_ARTICLE, _MUSIC | Leave a comment

JOHNNY THUNDERS – Last Live In Japan


Even though you can’t put an arm around a memory, we’ll always remember Johnny’s great music!

Some terrific Thunders stuff below from the excellent

March, 30th, 1991: Johnny Thunders leaves for Japan to play gigs with his band The Oddballs.

April 2nd: first show at Towasa in Tokyo.

3rd: the second one at Citta, Kawasaki is taped and will later be released as ‘Saddest Vacation Act.1 & 2’.

7th: Anti Knock, Shin Juku.

9th: acoustic concert as a trio with Stevie Klasson and Jamie Heat after the rest of the band went back home. Later released as ‘Hurt Me More’ on CD.

9th: Thunders visits Thailand for a few days holiday and to buy some new silk suits.

18th: Johnny has arrived London, needing desperately to see his doctor for some methadone.

19th: straight off to Germany to record ‘Born To Lose’ with Die Toten Hosen for their album ‘Learning English – Lesson One’.

22nd: leaves germany for New Orleans.

23rd: Johnny Thunders dies in New Orleans, at St. Peter House, Room 37, aged 38.

‘Saddest Vacation’ and ‘Hurt Me More’ chronicle Johnny Thunders’ last live appearances with his band (I think he played a couple of solo gigs while in Germany). Some of this material can be found on the the first disk of the double CD package ‘Add Water And Stir’. Sound quality is excellent.

cover of 'Saddest Vacation Act.1' by Johnny Thunders

cover of 'Saddest Vacation Act.2' by Johnny Thunders

cover of 'Hurt Me More' by Johnny Thunders

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July 4, 2008 Posted by | Johnny Thunders, Music_Punk, _MUSIC | 1 Comment