This is a great way to introduce yourself to Johnny Thunders. Simple. For those of us who've had the pleasure of his music for some time, it's just a 'nice' compilation. However, Disc #2 holds some real gems and (imo) far more playable than Disc #1. Containing unreleased versions of various songs, this is rock n' roll as pure as Johnny's heroin (or maybe not!). 4 tracks from the legendary Speakeasy gig in London '77 are just insanely great. 3 tracks from the Lyceum gig in '84 (why were they left of the live album??) are great combined with Thunders' Noo Yawk drawling swipes at the audience. 6 tracks recorded in Italy in '86 (ending with a turbulent version of Van Morrison's 'Gloria') round of this great 2nd CD. Worth the money just for the bonus disc #2. Get it now - sloppy rock n' roll at its best!
If you like The Strokes,The Hives, The White Stripes or any of the new rock n' roll bands you'll love this compilation of Johnny Thunders. The ex-New York Dolls guitarist here branches out (usually with his 'Heartbreakers' in close pursuit) and produces some of the rawest, most chaotic rock music ever recorded. Topped off by Thunders soulful melancolic lyrics which strain to desperation on the acoustic 'You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory' - "It doesn't pay to try; all the smart kids know why." Theres also a fantastic cover of 'Great Big Kiss' as used in a recent chewing gum advert. If your getting into all the new rock bands don't forget this is where those guys get their inspiration from. Enjoy.
Johnny Thunders was a one-off. Achieving recognition with The New York Dolls, and then with The Heartbreakers, he was one of the few musicians of the time who went down the route, musically first pioneered by The Sex Pistols and then perfected by The Ramones. Exciting, strong solid down rhythm, earthy delivery and above all it made the hairs stand up on the back of your neck! Its strength was in its simplicity, forsaking any 'frills' and 'extras' that would detract from its mighty resonant sensuality.
He chose a lifestyle mired in self-inflicted chaos which, unfortunately led to his premature demise in 1991, at the age of 38, when he had barely started to perpetuate his unique style of music which is referred to by the 'musical intelligentsa' as "protopunk" whatever that is supposed to mean!
Johnny had an unruly, rebellious streak and did not enjoy the discipline inherent with studio recording which necessitated a great deal of the content on his records being taken from recordings of live performances, resulting in 'non-too-high' audio quality generally on all of his work. This applies to this album 'Born To Lose' although there are enough reasonable quality tracks to represent most of his best offerings. Personal favourites? "Pipeline", a surf-rock instrumental originally by The Chantays, "Too Much Monkey Business", Johnny's mix of "Pills" by Chuck Berry and "Too much Monkey Business" by Bo Diddley, and, penned under his real name John Genzale Jr., "Born To Loose."
He performed in Tokyo with The Heartbreakers and made a lasting impression, setting the trend of a style of guitar delivery much followed particularly inspiring Girl Punk Rock Bands which continues today. There is a very good CD called "The Valley Of The Tokyo Dolls", a compilation of Japanese Punk Rockers doing a 'Tribute To Johnny Thunders' - amazing!
Another track considered by many to be his signature song, said to be about his heroin addiction "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory", contains a line that encapsulates my regret for the early despatch of this most talented and significant musician, it goes "I wanna put my arms around your memory."
This album is a showcase for his distinct style and talents - simple, direct and strident. His presence is sorely missed but his influence through his recorded work lives on.
Johnny thunders is fascinating. He was raised in Queens New York City (the poorest district) by his mother and never knew his father. He had a tough exterior that he needed to survive in queens beneath which lay a sweet soul. He loved the Shangri Las because they were from the streets with similar tough but tender quality to their music. The first disc on this best of is just fantastic. You get the picture of johnnys tough streetwise side with songs like Born to Lose and In Cold blood and then his realy sweet ballads like Hurt Me and You cant put your arms around a memory. Johnny was a real New York character to me part of the wild buzzing energy of the city and had a charm, grace and talent with a real loneliness and desolation (perhaps because of his missing father) which may have led to his Heroin addiction i dont know. He realy had talent though and this best of shows it off well