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Sylvain Sylvain

Today we want to tell you about Sylvain Sylvain or Sylvain Mizrahi, who was a member of one of the "New York Dolls", influencing the Punk ad Glam scene of the early 1970s .

(Photo: Matt Kent/Wireimage)


He was born in Cairo, Egypt on February 14, 1951. His name at birth was Sylvain Mizrahi.


In the 1950s his family fled Egypt and emigrated to France and later to the United States.


Sylvain grew up in Queens New York. He had dyslexia and had a hard time in school.


At school, he met drummer Billy Murcia who in 1967 would form the band "The Pox" with him.


The band did not last long and soon Sylvain found himself working in a clothing store, which happened to be located in front of a hospital called "New York Doll Hospital".


In 1970 Sylvain and Billy returned to music. they enlisted Johnny Thunders as the bass player of their band. Eventually, Sylvain will teach Johnny to play the guitar and he will become the guitar player of their band, initially called "The Dolls".


The band later changed its name to "New York Dolls" and made its debut on Christmas Eve 1971.


Sylvain and the band played regularly in Manhattan. During the shows, they used to dress up and put on make-up as transvestite. A fan base slowly began to form around them, but even that was not enough to get a recording contract, apparently due to the fear of the vulgar attitude.


The band's big opportunity came when Rod Stewart invited them to warm him up in one of his London shows. This was the trigger for getting a recording contract.


The band released its first eponymous album in 1973. The album was produced by none other than Todd Rundgren. Sylvain played on piano, and guitar and also sang.


The album got good reviews, but it did not succeed in the charts and didn't sell as expected.


The second album "Too Much Too Soon" from 1974 also received good reviews, but was unsuccessful in sales. As a result, the record company terminated the band's recording contract in late 1975.


The band enlisted the help of promoter Malcolm McLaren (who would later become known as the manager of the "Sex Pistoles". He advised them to be more vulgar, but even that did not help the band take off and it disbanded in 1977.


In 2004, Sylvain and some of the band members reunited to perform at the Meltdown Festival. The organizer of the festival was Morrissey from "The Smiths". He was the head of the band's fan club.

(Photo: RB/Redferns)


The performance at the festival led to a full reunion of the band, which will release their first album in about thirty years - "One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This", in 2006. Sylvian will write most of the songs on the album.


In 2008, the band made two live shows in Israel, the first as part of the "Hit Wave" festival in Tel Aviv alongside Morrissey and Susie Sue (from Siouxsie and the Banshees) and the second the next day at the Barbie Club.


The band continued on the wave of reunion and released two more albums "Cause I Sez So" from 2009 and "Dancing Backward in High Heels" from 2011. Here too Sylvain will be a part of writing most of the songs.


Needless to say, Sylvain was one of the pillars of the band and was a member of it throughout its tenure.


Sylvain and the "New York Dolls" greatly influenced the development of punk, both in the United States and the United Kingdom. The simplistic, original and rough playing style inspired young boys with no prior knowledge or talent to form bands. Among the bands directly influenced by the "Dolls" are the "Ramones", "Sex Pistoles" and more.


But the influence of the Dolls was much broader. Beyond music it was also related to style, attire and attitude, as this whole package also inspiring Glam and Heavy Metal bands like "Motley Crue" and "Guns N' Roses". These influences also reached Indie Rock and bands like "The Smiths" and later also to "The Strokes", "The White Stripes" and more.


In 2015 Sylvain moved to Nashville and in April 2019 he announced that he had cancer.


After two years of battling the disease, Sylvain died of cancer, on January 13, 2021 and is only 69 years old.


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