Happy Birthday, David Johansen!


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David Roger Johansen (December 9, 1950) is an American rock musician and songwriter, as well as pop singer and actor. Johansen is best known as a member of the protopunk bank, The New York Dolls. In the late 70's, Johansen began a solo career and released a number of albums which showcase his versatility as a musician. In the late 80s, Johansen became a commercial success under the pseudonym Buster Poindexter, perhaps best remembered for his song, "Hot Hot Hot". Johansen has also appeared in a number of film and television roles, including the Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooged, and an appearance on The Jim Henson Hour.

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David Johansen was born in Staten Island, New York and began his career in the late 60s in the local band, the Vagabond Missionaries. In the early 1970s, Johansen and guitarist Johnny Thunders (John Anthony Genzale, Jr.) founded the protopunk band The New York Dolls, with David as the singer and songwriter. The band released two albums: New York Dolls (1973) and Too Much Too Soon (1974). The band received critical acclaim, but was never a commercial success.

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After Johnny Thunders and Jerry Nolan left the band in 1975, the remaining members: Johansen, Sylvain Sylvain Peter Jordan, Chris Robison, and Tony Machine, continued playing as The New York Dolls. Then in 1977, David began a solo career, releasing the eponymous album David Johansen, and In Style, both well-received.

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David Johansen with David Bowie

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David Johansen with Nico

Johansen often performed with former bandmate Sylvain Sylvain (Sylvain Mizrahi), and the two often covered Dolls songs in concert. Through his solo work, Johansen came to be known as a talented concert performer and an innovative songwriter. His album Sweet Revenge features a guest appearance by jazz saxophonist Big Jay McNeely.

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In the late 1980s, Johansen expanded his musical repertoire as Buster Poindexter, performing calypso and lounge music, as well as novelty songs. For a brief period, he also appeared as a part of the Saturday Night Live house band. Johansen referred to his hit song "Hot Hot Heat" as "the bane of my existence." As Poindexter, Johansen released Buster Poindexter's Happy Hour, and Buster Poindexter's Spanish Rocket Ship.

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As an actor, Johansen has appeared in several films and television roles since the 1980s, and more recently appeared in a brief role on the HBO show Oz. On television, he has often appeared on children's series such as The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and The Jim Henson Hour in a segment of "MuppeTelevision". Along with Hulk Hogan and Sherman Hemsley, he starred in Mr. Nanny, and played a hired hitman in Tales from the Darkside: The Movie.

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The Ghost of Christmas Past in Scrooged 

 

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In 2004, Johansen reunited with Sylvain Sylvain and Arthur Kane to reform the New York Dolls, and toured successfully. In 2006, the band released another album, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This.

 

In 2009, Johansen appeared on an episode of No Reservations, touring Staten Island with Anthony Bourdain. 

 

 

In 2009, the Dolls released "Cause I Sez So" and in 2011, "Dancing Backward in High Heels". 

Johansen continues to write and perform, and hosts a weekly show on Sirius Satellite Radio, Mansion of Fun. 

 

 

 

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Thursday, 09 January 2014
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