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So Alone

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Editors’ Notes

Though Johnny Thunders was a mess while recording So Alone, it was his defining moment. The album sports the same four-chord junk and sass he brought to The New York Dolls and The Heartbreakers, and he lights it up on “Leave Me Alone,” “Dead or Alive," and especially “London Boys”—a vicious Sex Pistols dis that, funnily enough, finds the Pistols’ Paul Cook and Steve Jones backing him. The Dolls retread “Subway Train” is surprisingly great, as is his toast to girl groups, "(Give Him A) Great Big Kiss.” But what make this album a classic is the underbelly of darkness (“Ask Me No Questions,” “Downtown”) and the real honesty in “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory,” a tender song of regret later covered by many (including Guns ’N Roses and Giant Sand) and featured prominently in a Sopranos episode and Scorsese film. A young Steve Lillywhite (U2, Rolling Stones) provided producer oversight. That was no easy task, considering the musical guests of rowdy up-and-comers and toxic avengers, including Chrissie Hynde, Phil Lynott, Peter Perrett, and Steve Marriott.

Customer Reviews

You Can't Put Your Arms Around

This is a great rock and roll record and a snapshot of the late 70's. It captures JT's signature tune You Can't Put Your Arms around a Memory (used by Martin Scorcese) and the wild abandon that exemplifies Johnny's sound. Pipeline started and often ended almost all Johnny Thunders' shows, with and without the Heartbreakers. Daddy Rollin' Stone has the verses traded off between JT, Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, and the scorching "golden throat" of Steve Marriott. All of these guys are dead now, but if you want to hear real, hard rock and roll the way it is meant to sound, buy this record. All the songs are good. You will not be disappointed.

Johnny's Best Solo Album

After leaving The New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders made The Heartbreakers. After their demise, he split solo. "So Alone", his first and best solo album, features all the Thunders' classics. My favorite is still "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory".

New York punk at its best

I first saw Johnny Thunders at Max's Kansas City where he became my hero (I was very young) when he started a guitar solo, walked to the side of the stage, threw up, and then continued his solo. The poster boy of wasted junkie rock n' rollers. I don't have much to add to the i-tunes review above, except to spotlight one more track: Ask Me No Questions is the song that affects me the most. It alternates between macho posturing and despair and he sounds his most vulnerable here, the lonely boy behind the sneering punk showing through. He'd probably hate anyone thinking of him that way.

Biography

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...
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