FAMOUSLY LAMBASTED BY HOST ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris for being “mock rock”, the New York Dolls’ appearance on the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle test underlines just how reviled their thrift-store glam shtick originally was. Thankfully, forty years on from the release of their self-titled debut album in late July 1973, the Dolls are now viewed as a seminal act and key inspiration for artists as diverse as the Sex Pistols, Morrissey and Guns N’Roses. Nevertheless, despite the album’s acknowledged influential status, the Dolls will not be celebrating its fortieth anniversary.
“It’s so sad nobody’s doing anything about it,” Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain tells MOJO, having just completed a solo UK tour. “No one’s interested in it. It would have helped if everyone had gotten into it, including our frontman, but nobody got into it.”
Despite the refusal of frontman David Johansen to engage with the album’s anniversary, Sylvain remains philosophical in terms of the LP’s subsequent impact.
“[The first album] started a whole scene,” he says. “It wasn’t just even music, it was the door that was open that delivered the clothing, the lifestyle, the attitude.”
Certainly, this clip of the band performing a gloriously disheveled version of Jet Boy on the Old Grey Whistle Test appears to prove him right.