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Johnny Thunders
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Musician
    (July 15, 1952-April 23, 1991)
    Born in Queens, New York
    Birth name was John Anthony Genzale, Jr.
    Guitarist and singer
    Member of the New York Dolls (1971-75)
    Led Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers (1975-77)
    Recorded the albums 'L.A.M.F.' (1977), 'So Alone' (1978), 'Live at Max's Kansas City' (1979), 'In Cold Blood' (1983), 'Diary of a Lover' (1983), 'Hurt Me' (1983), 'Que Sera Sera' (1985) and 'Copy Cats' (1988)
    One critic wrote about his appearance, 'His face was mottled with some brownish-green substance I took to be either fungus or sea algae, and his hair was tangled in an unruly mess that only years of neglect could have produced.'
    During a Dolls' tour of Europe, he threw up during a media reception at the Paris airport (December, 1973).
    He fathered a daughter out of wedlock with a Swedish girlfriend.
    He and Tom Petty simultaneously had backing bands called the Heartbreakers.
    Former Heartbreaker Richard Hell called him 'the rock and roll Dean Martin of heroin.'
    Posters for English gigs by the Heartbreakers included the tag line, 'Catch 'em while they're still alive.'
    His death from an apparent overdose in a New Orleans hotel room was generally viewed as 'sad, but not surprising.'
    He was a major influence on punk rock.
    He and the Heartbreakers joined the Sex Pistols and Clash on the legendary Anarchy Tour of Britain (1977).
    He was held up at gunpoint in his hotel room in Leeds (June, 1977).
    He was the only rocker to play five consecutive nights at London's famed Marquee Club (1984).
    Some friends claim that he was actually murdered by drug dealers, who wanted to steal the large supply of methadone he had brought from England.

Credit: C. Fishel


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