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Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers - Dead Or Alive [1984] [DVD]

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Johnny Thunders, The Heartbreakers
  • Format: DVD-Video, Import, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Cherry Red
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Feb. 2003
  • Run Time: 64 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000058ANI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,676 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

In March 1984, Johnny Thunders reunited with the original Heartbreakers for a show at London's Lyceum. This film of the event also includes interview and archive footage with the late, great former New York Dolls guitarist.


The only available concert recording of one-time New York Doll Johnny Thunders, Dead or Alive is a must for the devoted fan. The casual observer will find much to involve and interest them, particularly in the light of New York's resurgence as the capital of cool. Musically, Thunders was very much part of the trashy New York punk sound, equal parts glam rock and the Ramones. By the time of this 1984 London concert it seemed that his prime had past, especially when you compare the odd snatch of footage from the band's appearance on the Anarchy in the UK tour of 1977. But Thunders could still swagger with the best of them. The film also features rather bizarre snippets of a French movie featuring the singer's hopeless acting skills and a poignant interview where Thunders gamely tries to concentrate the conversation on his music, despite repeated drugs questions.

On the DVD: The soundtrack is first class, capturing the Heartbreakers in all their skinny tie-wearing, low-slung guitar glory. The picture quality is less inspiring, belying the made-for-TV nature of the recording. There are plenty of extras, including the aforementioned interview with Thunders, some backstage footage and an opportunity to trawl the extensive Cherry Red back catalogue. --Phil Udell

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
As someone who was actually at the Lyceum on the night that in 1984 that Johnny Thunders performed with the Heartbreakers once more, this DVD was a must for me.
Great though it was to re-live that night, there were a few disappointments with the production. Apart from the rather bizarre snippets of Johnny at the airport or acting in his French movie, the gig itself was severely truncated.
Part of the joy of Johnny for me was his unpredictability, and on this night he began the gig so completely 'out of it' that his singing was terribly off on 'Personality Crisis', and from that moment guitarist Walter Lure took over for much of the first half of the set. On the DVD, the vocals have either been quite obviously overdubbed or the sound is from a completely different gig altogether (possibly the 1976 Gig featured in brief snippets on the disc).
Personally, I would have prefered a more honest film, and the singing on these tracks be left as it was. After all, it was all part of what Johnny was about, and, indeed, part of the attraction.
The disc definitely improves in the second half of the gig, once Johnny manages to put together some vocals! Everything clicks into place with 'In Cold Blood' and from that moment on it is possible to properly re-live a great night and enjoy the whole Thunders live experience without obvious overdubs (even if Walter Lure does look rather fed up with Johnny's ramblings at times).
I took my camera to this gig, and while I was unable to spot myself in the crowd at any point it was cetainly fun - and slightly surreal after 20 years - spotting my own camera flashes at moments that match the stills in my photo album.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Superb from start to finish. I remember the Lyceum gigas one of the best gigs I went to, and having had it on video for donkeys years, I was pleased to finally get it on DVD. This was Johnny Thunders at his best.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8be44bf4) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
By red sparrow - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Any Thunders fan will want this, but don't make it your intro -- it will confuse you. It's an odd mish-mash of glorious (& strange) concert footage, clips from movies he's been in & interview clips. The live music is recorded and shot well. The interviews are, sadly, like most Thunders interviews - dumb questions answered thoughtfully, even when clearly not necessary.
If you're familiar w/Thunders' movie appearances, you'll be delighted, if you're not, you'll have occasional trouble trying to `source' these clips to watch in full. Not the best Thunders on DVD out there, and not the worst -- but possibly the most diverse. If you're a concert-footage junkie (pardon the choice word) - you might want to check out:
Thunders, Kane, & Nolan - You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory (a top-notch bootleg that is eerily prescient - the picture is great, but the sound quality grates the nerves at times) AND:
Who's Been Talking? Johnny Thunders in Concert (better sound quality)
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8bf33aec) out of 5 stars born to lose? nah, just BORING. 22 Aug. 2001
By NICHOLAS I KEISER - Published on
Format: DVD
What a massive disappointment. ... I agree with the guy below who says that there's way too little '77 footage or interview stuff ... And you don't even get the performance, it seems! There are plenty of times when Walter Lure strums his guitar and there's no sound emited. And a lot of the footage doesn't quite match up with the music. "Born to Lose", for instance, STARTS with a snippet from the studio cut, then goes into a live reading of it. And most of the time, when there is "live" audio, it's not clear whether it's from the same date the '84 footage was shot -especially since things happen musically that don't go with the visual and vice versa. What a waste. I wish I would've hung on to my money...I could use it whenever the hell the Thunders documentary _Born to Lose_ hits DVD...
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8bf339b4) out of 5 stars Johnny Thunders-dead or alive? 19 Aug. 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: DVD
i popped this disc into my dvd player hoping to see an example of rock n roll fury.instead it left me dissappointed and wanting more.most of this disc is concert footage from 1984 in london with little black and white blips of footage from 1977 intertwined throughout.the 1984 footage is high quality but the band is awful and johnny is too strung out to play.very boring.the black and white footage is crappy but is an excellent example of the band's energy and's unfortunate this footage isnt the exclusive subject of the disc. i'd recommend this to thunders completists's worth it for the 77 footage and interviews alone,but it just doesnt do it for me.stick to the bootlegs brothers and sisters.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8bf304a4) out of 5 stars johnny thunders dead or alive 28 Oct. 2011
By esox 54 - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
johnny thunders junkie or not still ruled the punk world dvd is ok some dubbing but still good great for heartbreakers fans
HASH(0x8bf33a5c) out of 5 stars Too much junkiness 20 Feb. 2013
By Anthony Russo - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is not Johnny Thunders at his best, but I still recommend it. It's sad to watch him self destruct like this, as the show goes on his eyes get more pinned, so that dope must have been good.
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