Review Summary: After leaving the New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan formed a new band that helped spearhead the Punk Rock movement and released one classic album in 1977 before disbanding.
The legendary Johnny Thunders had released numerous albums in his lengthy career, along with countless bootlegs and live recordings. During his time with the New York Dolls, he has recorded his most-known and critically acclaimed work. But in 1975, he joined former Dolls drummer Jerry Nolan along with ex-Demons guitarist Walter Lure and former Television bassist/future Voidoids founder (soon to be replaced by Billy Roth) to form his second-finest and well known band.The band's name was the Heartbreakers, and in their short-lived career they helped spearhead the punk rock movement. Thier sole album, 1977's L.A.M.F. (Like A Mother***er), has been regarded as an early classic in the genre.
It blends New York Dolls sleaze, Rolling Stones swagger, solid songwriting and the brand of pure staggering rock n roll emotion that is the guitar and voice of Johnny himself. Walter Lure makes for a worthy brother-in-arms to Thunders' thunder with his snotty vocals and unflashy guitar presence, providing a street-kid charm that fits right into the band's junkie-badass image. Jerry Nolan pounds drunkenly at his drumkit with all the passion of a pissed-off teenager. Johnny's guitar oozes with piercing treble and distortion on some tracks, and reverb-laced clean chords on others. Each time he details the song at hand with his signature counterbalance of obnoxious soloing and dirty Keith Richards-style riffage.
His voice is at its most emotionally poigent and melodramatic on tracks such as "Its Not Enough" and "I Love You". While on "Pirate Love", Baby Talk", and "Goin Steady" he sounds comical and goofy. On "Chinese Rocks", Born Too Loose" and "I Wanna Be Loved" he sound downright pissed. Walter turns in some good ones with "One Track Mind", Get off The Phone", and "All By Myself".
In conclusion, this is a near-perfect proto-punk album. It has just the right amount of angst and sloppyness to be considered punk, mixed with a fair amount of tainted-love songwriting and garage rock-style song structure that makes it a wee bit more akin to bar-band rock n roll. If the Heartbreakers wouldve continued on and released more songs together, I believe they wouldve perhaps come to surpass The New York Dolls as a band and established themselves as the kings of the classic-punk genre. Unfortunately, thier time together was too short for these claims to even be suggested, and with the untimely passing of both Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan thier redemption proves impossible. At least we have this classic album to remember them by.