If you were a New York Dolls fan back in the ’70s, then following the band mates as they went on to their next destinations was simply a no-brainer. The most exciting of them was easily Johnny Thunders. His formation of The Heartbreakers as a punk unit heading into the murky and dangerous undertow of that emerging music was the most exciting in New York. New York fostered its own brand of underground music that eventually gave us Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads, Ramones, Lou Reed, and many other lesser known (but well loved by followers of that scene) bands like Wayne County/Jayne County, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Dead Boys, Dictators, Fleshtones, etc.
One of those, Johnny Thunders, helped bridged a gap between the Rock refugees from the early ’70s, and the emerging Punk lovers. His first efforts were with The Heartbreakers. By 1977, they released L.A.M.F., which went on to achieve a legendary fame. However, as Rock and Roll will have it, the members eventually were in constant dispute over the production values of the only studio album that band produced. It led to the early demise of what would have been a fine, fine band. As a result, Johnny Thunders opted to go solo. His first album was So Alone, released in 1978.
So Alone was an instant classic that remains such even to this day. With equal parts punk, rock, and other styles including a love nod to the past with a potent cover of “Pipeline”, the 1960 surf gem from The Chantays. So Alone provided a strong set of ten tracks, all of which stand alone so well, they could have been singles! Other covers on the album include “Daddy Rollin’ Stone” (Otis Blackwell), a stunning rockin’ jazzy rework of “(Give Him A) Great Big Kiss”, original by The Shangri-Las (on So Alone as “Great Big Kiss”), and a rework of New York Dolls’ “Subway Train”.
Johnny Thunders was joined in the studio by Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), Steve Marriott (Small Faces, Humble Pie), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Paul Cook (Sex Pistols), and others. So Alone was produced by Steve Lillywhite, himself a powerhouse name as a producer at the time. You can hear Phil Lynott singing the second verse of “Daddy Rollin’ Stone”, followed in the third verse by an unmistakable Steve Marriott.
Needless to say, So Alone is a classic that needs to be heard. Even if you decide that you dislike it, it needs to be heard at least once.
On March 4, Remarquable Records will release a newly remastered 2LP vinyl edition of So Alone. Unique to this Special Edition vinyl set is the inclusion of five bonus tracks. Those are “Dead Or Alive”, a single recorded and released as the first Thunders solo track, which was backed with album cut, “Downtown”; the 7″ single version of “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory”, along with it’s B-side track, “Hurtin'”; the unreleased title track, “So Alone”, and an intended but unreleased b-side, “The Wizard”, a cover of T. Rex’s Marc Bolan song. “The Wizard” was meant to be the B-side of “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory” until replaced by “Hurtin'”. The album features remastering at a high quality 24bit/96kHz from an original source.
To add to the set, a desirable 16-page booklet will be included. It will contain every promotional memorabilia issued to promote So Alone during the time of its release.
So Alone stands as a vastly underrated gem in the world of remembered classics.
You can hear every song plus some of the extras here by playing the embedded video below. Highly suggested!