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The Heartbreakers


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Johnny Thunders (vocals/guitar) and Jerry Nolan (drums) had quit the New York Dolls, and that same week Richard Hell (vocals/bass) was forced out of Television. The trio joined forces, and after a few shows added Walter Lure (vocals/guitar), who had played with a group called the Demons.

In 1976, Hell either was kicked out of the Heartbreakers or quit the group, depending on whom you believe, and was replaced by Billy Rath, who, according to legend, was a gigolo. Hell went on to form his own band, The Voidoids.

Arriving for a European tour just as the UK punk scene was building momentum, the Heartbreakers developed a following playing in and around London. The band’s members and image were widely associated with drug use, specifically, heroin. The Sex Pistols invited them to open for them on the ill-fated Anarchy Tour. They shortly signed with Track Records. Their debut—and only—studio album, L.A.M.F., featured all the Heartbreakers’ popular live songs. The release of the album put a huge strain on the band, because of anger among some band members over the poor quality of the mix. Several of the members of the band left at this point. The band reformed in 1979 for a few farewell shows at Max’s Kansas City with drummer Ty Stix sitting in for Nolan. The resulting live album Live at Max’s Kansas City ‘79 is considered a punk classic. The Heartbreakers’ song, London Boys, is a swipe at the Sex Pistols, in response to the Pistols’ New York, a put-down of the New York Dolls.


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  • Buzzmusic_05

    R.I.P. Billy Rath

    17 Aug 2014 Reply
  • noisefiend

    I was expecting more vitriol between Petty and Thunders fans. you people disappoint me.

    6 Apr 2012 Reply
  • NotSoVelvet

    Yonkers Demos ;)

    24 Sep 2011 Reply

    this should stay as it is. richard hell wasn't in johnny thunders & the heartbreakers.... he was in tha heartbreakers. yep the legendary band that never recorded a studio album and played blank generation before richard had the voidoids ;)

    2 May 2011 Reply
  • Pete-Vyler

    If you like this music, you may also like Pete Vyler Band. Just a rocknroll Disaster gig. Thanx 4 your follow

    25 Oct 2010 Reply
  • redtreen

    As far as merging, if you listen to "Live at Max's Kansas City '79", at the end of "Do You Love Me", Johnny points out to Walter that the stage banner says "Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers", then gives a little chuckle. Seems to me that the band name was The Heartbreakers & the record company just wanted to market the Thunders name... In any case, the 2 should be merged...[3]

    8 Oct 2009 Reply
  • messies

    fucking awesome. how have i not heard this shit yet

    14 May 2009 Reply
  • maspirator

    Superb band. Love em.

    26 Dec 2008 Reply
  • heartinacage

    "This should really be merged with Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers. " no it should not.

    7 Dec 2008 Reply
  • filpaz

    we just publshed on the music blog Orange Skies a tribute post about Richard Hell check it out!

    24 Nov 2008 Reply
  • a_ndrea

    tão foooooda!

    20 Aug 2008 Reply
  • metawirt

    The original mix of L.A.M.F. is released as Heartbreakers, but later mixes of it as Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers. So how to set my ID3(-artist)-tags? ...2 different bands?

    11 Apr 2008 Reply
  • stevo796

    great band, they desreve more scrobbles.

    18 Nov 2007 Reply
  • emericaskate73

    what a whore!

    24 Jan 2007 Reply
  • theboywholived

    Much better than anything Tom Petty and his henchmen every did!

    2 Oct 2006 Reply
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