Some of rock’s greatest personalities were it’s losers. This week’s band released only one album during their short lifetime and that album opened up with the punk anthem “Born to Lose”. Now, of course, nobodys knows this song because these losers never had any big hits or anything but their impact has endured moreso than anyone could have guessed. Whether be it their music, or their image (which the sex pistols admittedly copied), this band lives on long after their glory days and hopefully a new generation of rockers are ready to be audibly-raped by this week’s band of the week…
JOHNNY THUNDERS AND THE HEARTBREAKERS!!!
Johnny Thunders began The Heartbreakers after The New York Dolls (the other super-legendary underappreciated band he was in) broke up. For a while Richard Hell (later of Richard Hell and the Voidoids) was the bassist but then he tried to take the lead from Thunders and failed, after which he left. The Heartbreakers were more of a punk band than the Dolls, who fit quite snuggly into the whole glam scene going on. The Heartbreakers were more than torn jeans, leather jackets type. The drank hard, drugged hard and fucked hard…when they weren’t too drunk and drugged out to, that is. They also played hard.
They made one album (1978′s “L.A.M.F”) but it still kicks ass today. The band swings hard to songs that genuinely kick ass. There’s the anthemic “Born to Lose” and Dee-Dee Ramone/Richard Hell penned “Chinese Rocks” as well as the sharply written “All By Myself” and “I Love You”. What’s beautiful is that it all feels so innocent and so awesomely unself-concious. They’re more interesting songwriters than The Ramones but more drunken and awesome than the Pistols or the Clash (though not necesarrily better). The Heartbreakers were everything punk was supposed to be and still could be (see Libertines/Babyshambles/Dirty Pretty Things).
Unfortunately, most of what gets called “punk” today misses the point entirely. The punks of today are The Hebrew Hammer to The Heartbreakers’ Shaft. Basically: a fucking joke. The Heartbreakers are the world’s best forgotten punk band and maybe it’s most essential. For anyone who has any interest in Punk music, L.A.M.F. is an essential album and document. Asides from that it’s also just fucking awesome.