Thursday, October 4, 2018

Just a Bastard Kid

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

On October 6, 1978 Johnny Thunders released So Alone, the first solo album for this former member of the New York Dolls and Heartbreakers. The album came weeks after a Village Voice review of a gig began with the line "Who killed Johnny Thunders?...Hard to say, but the man is weak, defeated, unable to quell his morbid instincts...He could been somebody".

One could listen to So Alone as the ultimate soundtrack to heroin chic. Thunders sounds half awake on these drug fueled sessions in London. He drones zombified through his best song, the poignant "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory" in which he sings "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."

Thunders got some help on the album from some pretty big names, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy , Steve Marriott, Peter Perrett of The Only Ones, an as yet unknown Chrissie Hynde, and most surprisingly one half of the Sex Pistols. Surprising because Thunders didn't care much for the band or their manager, as you can hear below.

The Sex Pistols dissed The New York Dolls in "New York": "You're just a pile of shit, You're coming to this Ya poor little faggot You're sealed with a kiss." Thunders got some help from fellow Doll David Johansen on the response, "London Boys": "You need an escort to take a piss He holds your hand and he shakes your dick You're so pretty, suburban kitty". Even more cutting is the way Thunders turns the chorus into a schoolyard taunt : "Little London boys You're little London boys You're little London boys". Thunders wins.

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