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You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory

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Album Review

You would have to be the utmost fanatical Johnny Thunders worshiper to be able to keep track of all the Thunders-related releases over the years — especially since his 1991 death, when the floodgates really seemed to open. But if you're looking to acquire most of Thunders' best-known post-New York Dolls recordings in one fell swoop, then the 2002 box set You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory is the way to go. This three-disc set includes L.A.M.F. Revisited (which is basically Thunders' own remix of the Heartbreakers' classic debut release), D.T.K. Live at the Speakeasy, Live at the Lyceum Ballroom 1984, and a smattering of acoustic tracks. By far the best of the bunch is L.A.M.F., which features the Heartbreakers' best-known lineup cranking out such classics as "Chinese Rocks" (which created some controversy with Dee Dee Ramone, who felt he was never given proper credit for penning it); "Can't Keep My Eyes on You"; and a Dolls-era leftover, "Pirate Love." D.T.K. is one of the better live Heartbreakers releases on the market, as the group was still firing on all cylinders, yet the same cannot be said for the heavily dubbed-over Lyceum tracks, which are also available as the DVD Dead or Alive. And although Thunders will always be associated with cranked-to-ten amps (after all, his pre-Thunders moniker was "Johnny Volume"), the ex-Doll did have a gentle side, reflected in "unplugged" versions of such songs as the Stones' "As Tears Go By" and the set's title track. By purchasing this set along with Thunders' 1978 solo release, So Alone, you'll be covering most of the bases of the guitarist's solo standouts.


Born: July 15, 1952 in Queens, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Johnny Thunders was the first punk rock guitar hero, earning a cult following for his noisy but epic style a few years before the insouciant new music gained its name. Following in the footsteps of his idol and role model Keith Richards, Johnny Thunders (born John Anthony Genzale, Jr.) lived the ultimate rock & roll life, spending most of his days churning out tough, sloppy three-chord rock & roll and gaining nearly as strong a reputation for his decades-long struggle with addiction as for his music....
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