The New York Dolls were one of the leading precursors to the punk movement, and as result found themselves being dropped from record labels, polarising their audiences, and generally being controversial.
The drugs and cross-dressing didn’t help, although their androgynous vibe did help to inspire glam rock.
They were very influential however, being placed with The Velvet Underground and The Stooges in terms of pioneering the punk sound and aesthetic.
Their actual sound is classic 70s hard rock, with a noisy and simple brashness. This song features a piano, guitar, and the shouting of the lead singer. They were never exactly virtuoso musicians, but for this style of music it’s more important to have a good sense for catchy melodies, which they did.
“Personality Crisis” is about someone who’s just a mess, especially with regards to relationships. Probably something the band had a lot of experience of…
The song was released in 1973, as a single of the band’s self-titled debut album. It has since been included on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time list, at number 271.