THE HEARTBREAKERS: PIRATE LOVE
‘The band plays rock and roll like guns fire bullets, like steamrollers flatten tarmac, like thunder rolls, like trees fall, like, hell, like you’ve never heard before,’ so enthused Record Mirror’s Barry Cain of a Heartbreakers show at Clouds in Edinburgh late in October 1977 to promote their recently released album L.A.M.F. ‘It’s unfortunate in a way that their name has been linked with the London bands that have sprung up in the past year because their brand of music is as timeless as it is iridescent.’
After the previous post, I couldn’t resist staying with The Heartbreakers and thought I’d invite Nina Antonia to choose her favourite track of theirs for the second in this blog’s 7×7:1977 series. Here’s her choice, a swaggering, staggeringly fine slice of 1970s NYC street punk – Pirate Love, originally written by Thunders a few years earlier as a demoralised New York Dolls edged ever closer to a break-up and thankfully retrieved for L.A.M.F.
Don’t they make it sound absolutely effortless?
Here’s an ad for the latter part of that Heartbreakers October 1977 tour from an ageing copy of NME, the quality isn’t great, even with my scanner at its highest resolution and a whole lot of footering around with Contrast and Brightness on my ten year old version of PaintShop Pro but I thought I’d include it anyway as I haven’t seen it anywhere else online.
And finally, Johnny may have sang of Pirate Love but, post-Heartbreakers, he did become increasingly pissed off with the pirates who continually circulated generally low quality bootlegs of his solo shows. Eventually though, he came up with the perfect solution to combat the situation.
As he puts it at the end of a version of Wipe Out, the final track on an ‘official’ release from 1990*: ‘First of all I looked at this book one day, right. And there was like fucking, uh, sixty five bootlegs of Johnny Thunders. So I said fuck, all these dudes making all this money. So what I did, myself, I had the idea that I would take a song from here, a song from there off these bootlegs and fucking bootleg the bootleggers. You assholes thought you’d put one over on me!’
And at this point Johnny lets out one almighty roar of well deserved laughter.
* Johnny Thunders – Bootlegging The Bootleggers. Jungle Records.