Preamble -When I decided to do this series of blogs, I originally started by trying to make a list of the songs I liked and the artists I liked. I then decided that this was a bit of a bland and uninteresting list, and decided to try and chronologically list the musical influences of my own musical career. So for the format of this series, I'll try and feature two clips from each artist, their "greatest hit" and the song which influenced me. I hope a few of you out there enjoy these. It is a bit left field and I guess my approach is a tad self indulgent, but hey ho, if like me music fascinates you and is a "bit of a journey" I hope somewhere you find some new gems and enjoy the ride. I have.
Anyway onto this weeks choice. We have the Heartbreakers. Not the Tom Petty lot, Johnny Thunders rip roaring bunch of smackheads. In 1977 as we were setting up the band, these were my very favourite band. I bought the album LAMF purely because it was the only punk record in the Mill Hill record shop. I'd not really heard of the band, I was just starting my musical journey. It was the second punk album I bought (after Puremania by The Vibrators). I ran home and put it on the stero, not knowingwhat to expect. I got into punk rock on the 6th June 1977, going to see the Ramones. I then bought Puremania, by the Vibrators. I had Stones and Wings albums, but Puremania was different. It is imposible to describe how fantastic it sounded to listen to people writing about the alienation I felt. Then I bought LAMF. It was great. There is something about Johnny Thunders guitar playing that is just so cool. His lyrics and his singing has attitude, but is ultimately so vulnerable. I was 14 so I didn't get the drug references like "Chinese Rocks", perhaps their most notorious song, written with Dee Dee Ramone and Richard Hell.
I instantly fell in love with the band. I lent the album to my best mate Pete Conway, also getting into punk. He'd bought a bass and I'd bought a guitar. To my amazement, he went off and worked out "I wanna be loved" from LAMF and suggested we do a cover of it. I asked why, he replied "Cos its really easy". Our drummer, Dave Edwards was also a Heartbreakers nut, so bought into the idea.
Although "6000 crazy" by Spizz was the first song Pete & I jammed, "I wanna be Loved" was the first cover we played as a band. And it was easy, it is a great Rock and Roll song and stayed in the set for over four years.
I always dedicated it to my girlfriend of the day and told them I'd insisted the band play it for them. I'd recommend any rock and roll band, anywhere to play the song. It is what rock and roll really should be. Simple, dirty and easy to play. I love the song and we only stopped playing it because we got a girl singer and changed our style.
Johnny Thunders died of a heroin overdose in 1991. I saw the Heartbbreakers on many occasions. Many times Johnny was stoned off his nut and the band were terrible. Just occasionally, he hit top form and they were awesome. At their best I believe they were the worlds greatest rock and roll band. I love Walter Lure's guitar playing and I believe Jerry Nolan (also dead) was perhaps punks most underrated drummer of the era. Listen to his beats on "All by myself", what he does is awesome. Billy Rath is a great bass player. I guess with their habits the Heartbreakers were always doomed. The one lesson they taught me was that you don't have to write complicated songs to rock. Maybe we'll reprise "I wanne be Loved" for our next gig. The one girlfriend I've never played it for is the Missus as we started going out just after we dropped it. After 28 years its well overdue!