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David Johansen

Best known for his tenure fronting the hugely influential New York Dolls, David Johansen was a true chameleon; throughout the course of a career which saw him transform from a lipstick-smeared proto-punk hero into an urbane blue-eyed soul man and finally into a tuxedo-clad lounge lizard, he remained a rock & roll original, an unpredictable iconoclast and a true cultural innovator. Born January 9, 1950, in Staten Island, NY, Johansen joined his first band, the Vagabond Missionaries, in his mid-teens. A tenure with Fast Eddie & the Electric Japs, as well as an attempt to mount a career as a theatrical actor, followed before a club-hopping Johansen met bassist Arthur Kane, who extended an invitation to join his band, Actress. After changing their name to the New York Dolls, the group began building a notorious reputation for their menacing, edgy music, drug-fueled lifestyle, and outrageously campy, drag queen-inspired glam image; although neither their eponymous 1973 debut nor 1974's Too Much Too Soon even cracked the Top 100, the Dolls established an enduring cult following, and their influence on the rise of punk was unmistakable.

The Dolls officially broke up in 1975, although Johansen and guitarist Syl Sylvain continued performing under the group's name for two more years. Finally, in 1977, Johansen entered the recording studio with his support group, the Staten Island Boys, to cut his self-titled solo debut; while it sold no better than the Dolls' records, it did renew the critics' love affair with the singer and his gritty, soulful voice. With producer Mick Ronson, he returned in 1979 with the Motown-influenced In Style, followed in 1981 by the commercial-minded Here Comes the Night. While 1982's concert set Live It Up won some airplay for its medley of the Animals hits "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," "It's My Life," and "Don't Bring Me Down," Johansen was forced to reassess his career when 1984's dance-flavored Sweet Revenge tanked. At the end of 1984 he resurfaced in the pompadoured guise of Buster Poindexter, a supposed ethnomusicologist armed with an expansive knowledge of R&B chestnuts. After debuting the Buster character at a series of mid-'80s downtown New York loft gigs with the Uptown Horns, Johansen continued honing the identity in the piano bars of Manhattan, establishing a lounge swinger persona which predated the lounge-kitsch revival of the mid-'90s by a decade.

As Poindexter's popularity grew, he began fronting a large band dubbed the Banshees in Blue and building a devoted following on the New York club circuit. In 1987, he issued an LP, Buster Poindexter, which featured the party classic "Hot Hot Hot," an effervescent cover of an obscure 1984 soca hit. In addition to reviving Johansen's career as a musical performer, Buster also renewed his long-dormant acting bug, and he was tapped to co-star in the 1988 features Married to the Mob and Scrooged. The character remained Johansen's focus in subsequent years as well, as evidenced by the albums Buster Goes Berserk in 1989 and Buster's Happy Hour in 1994. He maintained a relatively low profile in the years prior to the spring 2000 release of David Johansen & the Harry Smiths. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Beck Song Reader

1. Title Of This Song

2. Please Leave A Light On When You Go

3. The Wolf Is On The Hill

4. Just Noise

5. Last Night You Were A Dream

6. Saint Dude

7. I'm Down

8. Heaven's Ladder

9. Don't Act Like Your Heart Isn't Hard

10. Sorry

11. Eyes That Say "I Love You"

12. Rough On Rats

13. Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings

14. The Last Polka

15. Old Shanghai

16. Why Did You Make Me Care?

17. America, Here's My Boy

18. We All Wear Cloaks

19. Do We? We Do

20. Mutilation Rag

x

Track List: Boardwalk Empire Vol. 2: Music From The HBO Series

1. Strut Miss Lizzie

2. Old King Tut

3. It Had To Be You

4. Everybody Loves My Baby

5. You've Got To See Mama Ev'ry Night (Or You Can't See Mama At All)

6. Baby Won't You Please Come Home

7. Make Believe

8. Lovesick Blues

9. Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

10. Who's Sorry Now

11. You'd Be Surprised

12. I'm Going South

13. Sugarfoot Stomp

14. Jimbo Jambo

15. There'll Be Some Changes Made

16. Somebody Loves Me

17. All Alone

18. The Prisoner's Song

19. I Ain't Got Nobody

20. I'll See You In My Dreams

x

Track List: Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus

2. Still Waters

3. My Sister's Tiny Hands

5. Last Kind Deal

6. The Wound That Never Heals

7. Wayfaring Stranger

8. Small Town

9. Black Soul Choir

10. Little Maggie

11. First There Was (feat. Maggie Brown)

12. Coo Coo Bird

14. Christmas Day

15. Essential Truth

x

Track List: The Aviator (Soundtrack)

3. Somebody Stole My Gal

4. Fireworks

9. Moonglow

10. I Can't Give You Anything But Love

12. Nightmare

14. Do I Worry?

16. Back Beat Boogie

17. Moonlight Serenade

18. Howard Hughes

x

Track List: The Harry Smith Project - The Anthology Of American Folk Music Revisited

Disc 1

1. Old Dog Blue

2. Prison Cell Blues

3. James Alley Blues

4. Frankie

5. Last Fair Deal Gone Down

7. The Butcher's Boy

8. Way Down The Old Plank Road

9. The Coo Coo Bird

10. My Baby Done Left Me

12. John The Revelator

15. K.C. Moan

Disc 2

1. A Lazy Farmer Boy

2. Sail Away Lady

3. Poor Boy Blues

4. Spike Driver Blues

5. See That My Grave Is Kept Clean

7. Fatal Flower Garden

8. I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground

9. Fishing Blues

10. He Got Better Things For You

11. Harry Goes A Courtin' (The Mowo! Live Hootenanny Throw Down)

12. The House Carpenter

13. This Song Of Love

14. Shine On Me

15. James Alley Blues

16. Single Girl, Married Girl

Comments

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the chanel was having a reunion tour of all the bands that had played there
Report as inappropriate
played often at the Chanel night club in Boston at times booed off the stage
Report as inappropriate
jpollack06
Funky but Chic! Loved watching him on the Uncle Floyd show.
Report as inappropriate
David Jo is one of the godfathers of Punk - he is a fantastic singer, who put's 100% into every note he sings !

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