Performed by Genya Ravan and Ian Hunter and written by Joe Droukas.
It’s 1979 and singer, producer, all-around tough girl, Genya Ravan goes into the studio to cut her second solo album. By then she had evolved through every genre that would have her, beginning with her girl band roots (Goldie and the Gingerbreads). She led the New York-based rock band Ten Wheel Drive, signed with Columbia, who thought she was the next Janis Joplin, discovered and produced the Dead Boys after a night at CBGBs and sang with everyone from Buddy Guy to Ronnie Spector to Dusty Springfield and jazzman Buzzy Linhart.
She entered the studio with a song penned by Joe Droukas that called for a duet, a rock ballad with some possibilities. Van Morrison was supposed to provide the male voice, but a tour kept him from the recording session. Ravan’s manager reached out to Bruce Springsteen cause he may have been tough enough and had the swagger to match Ravan’s fierceness. While Springsteen dawdled, Mick Ronson, lead guitarist for Mott the Hoople wandered into the studio. He had a natural suggestion: Mott’s front man, Ian Hunter. Is there anyone who does the combination of jaded and vulnerable better than Ian Hunter? He’s the ultimate cad who turns out to have a heart. One listen and you know that Hunter and Ravan made the perfect pairing for this song.
Play “Junkman” now and you’ll wonder how this didn’t become a monster hit; why isn’t it a hit now? After a few listens, you’ll have the song floating round your cranium and you’ll be repeating, “Should’ve listened to the junkman.” Forget those lists of run-of-the-mill power ballads (“November Rain” indeed), cause this here’s the real thing: a song that starts small and intimate and grows to a raging wall of sound and emotion, singers who make us believe and performances the that tear the paint off the walls.