One of the Bands That Started It All, the New York Dolls
Television, the Ramones, and any band that formed in New York during the early 1970s owe thanks to the New York Dolls. Comprised of David Johansen (vocals), Johnny Thunders (guitar), Arthur Kane (bass), Sylvain Sylvain (guitar), and Billy Murica [drums (later replaced by Jerry Nolan)], this band dressed up like dolls and smacked you in the face with an unbelievable sound. They changed the game, and below are four different documentaries that will give you a better understanding of the band every punk rock fan should know.
1. Punk Revolution NYC: The Velvet Underground, The New York Dolls And The CBGBs Set
For those who don’t know anything about the New York Dolls, I would start with Punk Revolution NYC: The Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, and the CBGBs Set. It is not a film that completely focuses on the New York Dolls, but it does reveal their entire history and how they would influence New York’s first underground rock scene at places like CBGB’s.
2. All Dolled Up: A New York Dolls Story
Fans can get a behind the scene look with All Dolled Up: A New York Dolls Story. This movie is comprised of footage by Bob Gruen and his wife Badya, who recorded over 40 hours worth of video in three years. You travel with them from New York to the West Coast and witness everything from afterparties to sound checks.
3. New York Doll
The film New York Doll focuses on Arthur “Killer” Kane, the bass player for the New York Dolls. It explains his story and follows him as he prepares to reunite with the New York Dolls for a reunion show at the Morrissey Meltdown in 2004. There is a brief amount of history on the band, but mainly the movie focuses on Arthur’s history and his relationship with the Dolls.
4. Looking for Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders
And finally, take a wild ride that is Johnny Thunders’ life. Within the documentary Looking for Johnny: The Legend of Johnny Thunders, you discover the good, the bad, and the ugly of one of the greatest guitar players in rock ‘n’ roll history. As the film shares his story, you also gain knowledge about the New York Dolls and how they influenced the early punk rock scene.