The New York Dolls were a glam rock band in the early 1970s which defined much of what was to come in the punk rock era. Influenced by the MC5, the Dolls influenced a whole era of musicians and bands such as Hanoi Rocks, London Cowboys,The Damned and even Morrissey. Perhaps their most lasting influence was on the sound and style of The Sex Pistols whose manager, Malcolm McLaren, was also involved with the Dolls for a time.
The band was fronted by David Johansen who looked like Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones; Johnny Thunders was the swaggering junkie lead guitar player, Arthur "Killer" Kane played bass; Syl Sylvain played rhythm guitar and the ill fated Billy Murcia played drums. Billy died before recording their first LP and was replaced by Jerry Nolan.
The New York Dolls only released two studio albums the self titled New York Dolls in 1973 and the aptly titled Too Much Too Soon in 1974, by which point internal tensions and drugs had left the band on the edge of splitting. Johansen had a moderately successful solo career (later he began recording under the name of Buster Poindexter), and is currently active as a blues singer. Thunders and Nolan found a modicum of fame with The Heartbreakers.
Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans in 1991. Nolan died a few months later.