Johnny Thunders: Looking For Johnny Soundtrack – album reviewJohnny Thunders – Looking For Johnny Soundtrack (Jungle)

CD / DL / LP

Out 24 November 2014

Vinyl release to accompany recent Johnny Thunders documentary is a fitting tribute to the punk icon.

Just the other week I reviewed the DVD release of the ‘Looking For Johnny’ documentary. I was left a little disappointed that it featured so little footage of why Thunders remains an icon; his legacy of great songs. The documentary itself is great, but you could easily be left with the impression that he was just another junkie with great hair. While that also had a part to play (Johnny always did look extraordinary) the songs should be the focus when considering his career.

Thankfully, Jungle Records have made an impressive effort to pay tribute to Johnny’s talent with this double album on lovely red vinyl available from November 24th. Restricted to only 2,000 copies, there won’t be a CD release until next year. So, this could be an ideal Christmas gift – be quick!

The gatefold sleeve features Nina Antonia’s interview with documentary maker Danny Garcia, while the four sides cover Thunders’ career in decent detail. This is about Johnny, so while the Dolls are absent, we have a peek at his pre-Dolls band, Actress, whose ‘I’m Confronted’ gives a nod to the debauchery to come.

As you’d expect, The Heartbreakers’ ‘L.A.M.F’ is well represented with ‘Pirate Love’, ‘Take A Chance’ and demos and rare mixes of ‘All By Myself’ and ‘London Boys’ amongst others. A fine ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ shows why Dylan wished he’d written it, while ‘Cool Operator’ from 1985’s ‘Que Sera Sera’ features Wilko’s unmissable rhythm against a reggae beat. What a pairing!

Side four mainly includes tributes to Johnny from his many co-partners. The Bermondsey Joyriders’ ‘Johnny Thunders Was A Human Being’ is a dirty highlight, and while Stevie Klasson’s ‘Looking For Johnny’ is stylish, I prefer Jan Stenfors’ (Hanoi’s Nasty Suicide of old) ‘Cold Wind’.

Thirty tracks over four sides of red vinyl. A fitting tribute to Johnny Thunders.


All words by Martin Haslam, find his Louder Than War archive here.

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