New York Dolls Songs Ranked

The New York Dolls were an American hard rock band formed in New York City in 1971. Along with the Velvet Underground and the Stooges, they were one of the first bands of the early punk rock scenes.  Although their original line-up fell apart quickly, the band’s first two albums—New York Dolls (1973) and Too Much Too Soon (1974)—became among the most popular cult records in rock. The line-up at this time comprised vocalist David Johansen, guitarist Johnny Thunders, bassist Arthur Kane, guitarist and pianist Sylvain Sylvain, and drummer Jerry Nolan; the latter two had replaced Rick Rivets and Billy Murcia, respectively, in 1972. On stage, they donned an androgynous wardrobe, wearing high heels, eccentric hats, satin, makeup, spandex, and dresses. Nolan described the group in 1974 as “the Dead End Kids of today”.
According to the Encyclopedia of Popular Music (1995), the New York Dolls predated the punk and glam metal movements and were “one of the most influential rock bands of the last 20 years”.  They influenced rock groups such as the Sex Pistols, Kiss, the Ramones, Guns N’ Roses, the Damned, and The Smiths, whose frontman Morrissey organized a reunion show for the New York Dolls’ surviving members in 2004. After reuniting, they recorded and released three more albums—One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This (2006), Cause I Sez So (2009), and Dancing Backward in High Heels (2011). Following a 2011 British tour with Alice Cooper, the band once again disbanded. Here are all of the New York Dolls songs ranked from worst to best.

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10. Who are the Mystery Girls? (Too Much Too Soon, 1974)

“An awesome song that immediately trapped me into the rhythm. This song has a certain quality which interests listeners and makes them fall in love with this song!”

9. Lonely Planet Boy (New York Dolls, 1973)

“Lonely Planet Boy,” the lone slow/mid-tempo track – a song of such tender longing and loneliness, with a spine-tingling catharsis, that still gives me goose bumps after all these years.”

8. It’s Too Late (Too Much Too Soon, 1974)

“Nice drum intro and harmonica. Bassy. Screechy guitars. Harmonica features later too. Think my notes suggest that this song reminds me of tracks like Kevin Borich’s “Gonna see my baby tonight” (The La De Das) and “Alone with you tonight” by The Sunnyboys. Both acts are from Australia or New Zealand…the former song pre-dated this NYD track. It’s the lead guitar on this track that reminds me of The La De Das song.”

7. Babylon (Too Much Too Soon, 1974)

“Maybe a little country boogie type song with laddish backing singing. One guitar is on the right hand channel and the other on the left hand channel.”

See more: New York Dolls Albums Ranked

6. Don’t Start Me Talkin’ (Too Much Too Soon, 1974)

“The piano and harmonica feature. 1950s style rockabilly with a chugga-chugga rhythm…there’s that Elvis song about a train…forget what it’s called…maybe similar kind of vibe to it. A honky tonk boogie piece. Features brass instruments, I think.”

5. Vietnamese Baby (New York Dolls, 1973)

“A boogie rock which is grating to a certain extent, but mildly so. Has a whiny lead guitar. The drums get an interesting swooshy effect at one point in the song … a studio created effect.

4. Jet Boy (New York Dolls, 1973)

“Jet boy” has some heavy metal-ish guitar, hand claps and nice backing vocals, which is sometimes quite laddish in style.

See more: Yellowcard Albums Ranked

3. Bad Girl (New York Dolls, 1973)

“Bad girl” is a rock’n’roll track with a boogie rhythm to it. Has a catchy 1950s style vocal rhythm to it … think “Get a job” without that line from the song. The guitar sound is heavy, hard rock. Lead guitar parts too.

2. Trash (New York Dolls, 1973)

“This song strikes me as a proto-Ramones song … it has the same kind of influences, but the bands produce something different even though they share a taste in certain kinds of music. Also, this song makes me think that The Strokes’ great song “Last nite” may have been influenced by this track. Sound wise, it has a jive, jitterbug type vibe to it, and I like the backing vocals. In fact, the lead vocals are just as catchy as the backing vocals. The lead guitar is nice in this song, and a solo features. Bassy track too.”

1. Personality Crisis (New York Dolls, 1973)

“Personality crisis” is a rock’n’roll song with some honky tonk piano. R’n’r style lead guitar solos and some screechy vocals at times too.