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Happy birthday, Johnny Thunders

Posted on by Candy Rock

Johnny Thunders

Johnny Thunders

Happy birthday, Johnny Thunders...
Born John Anthony Genzale, Jr. on July 15 1952 (died on April 23 1991) in Queens, New York, US, Johnny Thunders was a guitarist, singer and songwriter. He is known as a member of the New York Dolls but also as a member of The Heartbreakers and as a solo artist.
He is a cousin of Angela Nicoletti (actress, Izzy Stradlin's ex fiancée, Andy McCoy's wife).
In winter 1967, he made his first musical performance, it was with The Reign.
Not long after, he took the nickname of Johnny Volume and played in Johnny and the Jaywalkers.
In 1970, he met future Dolls Arthur Kane and Rick Rivets. Their band, Actress, became the New York Dolls after firing Rivets and adding Johnny, David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain and Billy Murcia. It's at this time that Johnny changed his name to Johnny Thunders.
He recorded two studio albums with the band, New York Dolls (1973) and Too Much Too Soon (1974).
In 1975, during a tour in Florida, Thunders and Jerry Nolan left the band. For the remainder of the tour, Thunders was replaced by Blackie Lawless.
The same year, Thunders and Nolan formed The Heartbreakers with Richard Hell. Walter Lure was quickled added and after a conflict with Thunders, Hell left and was replaced by Billy Rath.
In 1976, The Heartbreakers replaced the Ramones on the Anarchy Tour featuring the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Damned.
The band disbanded in 1978.
The same year, Thunders recorded his first solo album, So Alone, with bassist Phil Lynott, drummer Paul Cook and guitarist Steve Jones alongside with guest musicians Billy Rath, Chrissie Hynde, Steve Marriott, Walter Lure and Peter Perrett.
In the 80s, Thunders re-formed The Heartbreakers to tour.
In 1984, they released their final album, Live at the Lyceum.
In 1988, with Patti Palladin, he released Copy Cats, a cover album featuring musicians like Bob Andrews, John Perry, Jerry Nolan...
Thunders performed in a band known as a The Oddballs (Jamie Heath (saxophone), Alison Gordy (vocals), Chris Musto (drums), Stevie Klasson (guitar) and Jill Wisoff (bass)) from August 1988 until his death in April 1991.
36 hours before his death in New Orleans, he recorded his final recording, a version of Born To Lose with German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen.
Thunders died on April 23 1991 at the St. Peter House in New Orleans, Louisiana, US. Many rumors surround his death. Indeed, he apparently died of drug-related causes but it has been said he was murdered.
Several bands and musicians pay tribute to Thunders or mention him in their songs: Michael Monroe covered You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory on his first solo LP, Duff McKagan wrote the song So Fine which was dedicated to him, Iggy Pop wrote the song Look Away as a tribute to him...
Rock in peace, Johnny Thunders!

Johnny Thunders on stage

Johnny Thunders on stage

Johnny Thunders, 1988

Johnny Thunders, 1988

[french version :
Joyeux anniversaire, Johnny Thunders ...
Né John Anthony Genzale, Jr. le 15 juillet 1952 (décédé le 23 avril 1991) dans le Queens, New York (USA), Johnny Thunders est un guitariste, chanteur et auteur-compositeur. Il est connu en tant que membre des New York Dolls, de The Heartbeakers et en tant qu'artiste solo.
Il est un cousin d'Angela Nicoletti (actrice, ex fiancée d'Izzy Stradlin, épouse d'Andy McCoy).
Durant l'hiver 1967, c'est avec The Reign qu'il fait sa première performance musicale.
Peu après, il prend le surnom Johnny Volume et joue dans Johnny and the Jaywalkers.
En 1970, il rencontre les futures Dolls Arthur Kane et Rick Rivets. Leur groupe, Actress, devient les New York Dolls après le renvoi de Rivets et l'arrivée de Johnny, David Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain et Billy Murcia. C'est à ce moment que Johnny change son nom pour Johnny Thunders.
Il enregistre deux albums studios avec le groupe, New York Dolls (1973) et Too Much Too Soon (1974).
En 1975, pendant une tournée en Floride, Thunders et Jerry Nolan quittent le groupe. Pour le reste de la tournée, Thunders est remplacé par Blackie Lawless.
La même année, Thunders et Nolan forment The Heartbreakers avec Richard Hell. Walter Lure est rapidement ajouté et après un conflit avec Thunders, Hell quitte le groupe et est remplacé par Billy Rath.
En 1976, The Heartbreakers remplacent les Ramones sur l'Anarchy Tour comportant les Sex Pistols, The Clash et The Damned.
Le groupe se sépare en 1978.
La même année, Thunders enregistre son premier album solo, So Alone, avec le bassite Phil Lynott, le batteur Paul Cook et le guitariste Steve Jones aux côtés de musiciens additionels (Billy Rath, Chrissie Hynde, Steve Marriott, Walter Lure et Peter Perrett).
Dans les années 80, Thunders reforme The Heartbreakers pour faire des tournées.
En 1984, ils sortent leur dernier album, Live at the Lyceum.
En 1988, avec Patti Palladin, il sort Copy Cats, un album de reprises comprenant des musiciens comme Bob Andrews, John Perry, Jerry Nolan...
Thunders joue dans un groupe connu sous le nom The Oddballs (Jamie Heath (saxophone), Alison Gordy (chant), Chris Musto (batterie), Stevie Klasson (guitare) and Jill Wisoff (basse)) d'août 1988 jusqu'à sa mort en avril 1991.
36 heures avant sa mort à la Nouvelle Orléans, il enregistre son dernier morceau, une version de Born To Lose avec le groupe allemand de punk rock Die Toten Hosen.
Thunders meurt le 23 avril 1991 à la St. Peter House à la Nouvelle Orléans, Louisiane (USA). Beaucoup de rumeurs circulent autour de sa mort. En effet, s'il est apparemment mort à la suite d'une prise massive de drogues, il a aussi été dit qu'il aurait été assassiné.
De nombreux groupes et musiciens rendent hommage à Thunders ou le mentionnent dans leurs chansons : Michael Monroe reprend You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory sur son premier album solo, Duff McKagan écrit la chanson So Fine et lui dédie, Iggy Pop écrit la chanson Look Away en hommage à lui...
Joue en paix, Johnny Thunders !]

Johnny Thunders - A.C.N.E. Jonkoping, Sweden (1988) - copyright Per-Ake Warns

Johnny Thunders - A.C.N.E. Jonkoping, Sweden (1988) - copyright Per-Ake Warns

Johnny Thunders & Jerry Nolan (1985)

Johnny Thunders & Jerry Nolan (1985)

Johnny Thunders, 1984 - credit: Nina Antonia

Johnny Thunders, 1984 - credit: Nina Antonia

Johnny Thunders, 1984 - credit: Nina Antonia

Johnny Thunders, 1984 - credit: Nina Antonia

Johnny Thunders - Octagon, Gothenburg Sweden 18 July 1984 - copyright Per-Ake Warns

Johnny Thunders - Octagon, Gothenburg Sweden 18 July 1984 - copyright Per-Ake Warns

Johnny Thunders, on stage (1984)

Johnny Thunders, on stage (1984)

Johnny Thunders, 1983 - Gibus, Paris (France) - Photo: Maurice Wagener from the exposition "Kick Out The Jams, Motherfuckers !"

Johnny Thunders, 1983 - Gibus, Paris (France) - Photo: Maurice Wagener from the exposition "Kick Out The Jams, Motherfuckers !"

Johnny Thunders - Facade, Gothenburg Sweden 4th June 1982 - copyright Per-Ake Warns

Johnny Thunders - Facade, Gothenburg Sweden 4th June 1982 - copyright Per-Ake Warns

Johnny Thunders, 80's

Johnny Thunders, 80's

Johnny Thunders & Walter Lure

Johnny Thunders & Walter Lure

Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan by Bob Gruen, 1976

Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan by Bob Gruen, 1976

Johnny Thunders, early seventies

Johnny Thunders, early seventies

Johnny Thunders and Iggy Pop

Johnny Thunders and Iggy Pop

Johnny Thunders,  guitarist for the New York Dolls (second from right) Photo Chris Walter/Wire Image

Johnny Thunders, guitarist for the New York Dolls (second from right) Photo Chris Walter/Wire Image

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