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The Ramones

The Ramones are the first punk rock band. Other bands, such as the Stooges and the New York Dolls, came before them and set the stage and aesthetic for punk, and bands that immediately followed, such as the Sex Pistols, made the latent violence of the music more explicit, but the Ramones crystallized the musical ideals of the genre. By cutting rock & roll down to its bare essentials -- four chords; a simple, catchy melody; and irresistibly inane lyrics -- and speeding up the tempo considerably, the Ramones created something that was rooted in early '60s, pre-Beatles rock & roll and pop but sounded revolutionary. Since their breakthrough was theoretical as well as musical, they comfortably became the leaders of the emerging New York punk rock scene. While their peers such as Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads, and Richard Hell all were more intellectual and self-consciously artistic than the Ramones, they nevertheless appealed to the same mentality because of the way they turned rock conventions inside out and celebrated kitschy pop culture with stylized stupidity. The band's first four albums set the blueprint for punk, especially American punk and hardcore, for the next two decades. And the Ramones themselves were major figures for the next two decades, playing essentially the same music without changing their style much at all. Although some punk diehards -- including several of their peers -- would have claimed the band's long career wound up undercutting the ideals the band originally stood for, the Ramones always celebrated not just the punk aesthetic, but the music itself.

Based in the Forest Hills section of Queens, NY, the Ramones formed in 1974. Originally, the band was a trio consisting of Joey Ramone (vocals, drums; born Jeffrey Hyman, May 19, 1951), Johnny Ramone (guitar; born John Cummings, Oct. 8, 1951), and Dee Dee Ramone (bass; born Douglas Colvin, Sept. 18, 1951), with Tommy Ramone (born Tom Erdelyi, Jan. 29, 1952) acting as the group's manager. All of the group's members adopted the last name "Ramone" and dressed in torn blue jeans and leather jackets, in homage to '50s greaser rockers. The group played their first concert on March 30, 1974, at New York's Performance Studio. Two months after the show, Joey switched to vocals and Tommy became the band's drummer. By the end of the summer, the Ramones earned a residency at CBGB's. For the next year, they played regularly at the nightclub, earning a dedicated cult following and inspiring several other artists to form bands with similar ideals. All of the Ramones sets clocked in at about 20 minutes, featuring an unrelenting barrage of short, barely two-minute songs. By the end of 1975, the Ramones secured a recording contract with Sire; discounting Patti Smith, they were the first New York punk band to sign a contract.

Early in 1976, the Ramones recorded their debut album for just over 6,000 dollars. The resulting album, Ramones, was released in the spring, gained some critical attention, and managed to climb to 111 on the U.S. album charts. On July 4, the band made their debut appearance in Britain, where their records were becoming a big influence on a new generation of bands. Throughout 1976, the Ramones toured constantly, inaugurating nearly 20 years of relentless touring. By the end of the year, the group released their second album, Ramones Leave Home. While the album just scraped the U.S. charts, Leave Home became a genuine hit in England in the spring of 1977, peaking at number 48. By the summer of 1977, the Sex Pistols and the Ramones were seen as the two key bands in the punk rock revolution, but where the Pistols imploded, the Ramones kept on rolling. Following the U.K. Top 40 hit "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," the Ramones released their third album, Rocket to Russia, in the fall of 1977.

Tommy Ramone left the band in the spring of 1977, although he produced the group's subsequent album. He was replaced by former Voidoid Marc Bee, who immediately changed his name to Marky Ramone. With their new drummer in place, the Ramones recorded their fourth album, Road to Ruin, which was released in the fall. Road to Ruin marked the band's first significant attempt to change their sound; not only were there stronger bubblegum, girl group, surf, and '60s pop influences on the music, it was the first of their albums to run over a half hour. Although their sound was more accessible, it didn't gain the band a noticeably larger following. Neither did Rock N' Roll High School, the 1979 Roger Corman film in which the Ramones had a pivotal part. The soundtrack to Rock N' Roll High School and the U.K.-only live album It's Alive were the band's only releases of 1979. For most of the year, they were in the studio recording their fifth album with legendary '60s pop producer Phil Spector. The title song to the Corman movie was the first track released from the sessions, although the soundtrack album did feature a number of older Ramones songs remixed by Spector. End of the Century, the Spector-produced Ramones album, finally appeared in January of 1980 to mixed reviews. Despite the lukewarm reception to the album, the record's cover of the Ronettes' "Baby I Love You" became their only Top Ten British hit; in America, none of the singles made an impact, although the record became their biggest hit, peaking at number 44.

The Ramones continued their attempts at crossover success with their sixth album, Pleasant Dreams, which was released in 1981. Featuring a production by former Hollies and 10cc member Graham Gouldman, the record was a commercial disappointment in both America and England. The band was relatively quiet during 1982, spending most of their time touring. In the spring of 1983, the band returned with Subterranean Jungle, which was produced by Ritchie Cordell and Glen Koltkin, the heads of the American indie label Beserkley Records. Not only did Subterranean Jungle fail to gain the band the larger audience they desired, it continued the erosion of the band's diehard fan base, as well as their decline in the eyes of many rock critics. Following the album's release, Marky Ramone left the band; he was replaced by Richard Beau, a former member of the Velveteens, who changed his name to Richie Ramone.

With 1984's Too Tough to Die, the Ramones delivered a belated response to America's burgeoning hardcore punk scene that was largely produced by Tommy Erdelyi. The album helped restore their artistic reputation, as did the 1985 single, "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg," an attack on President Ronald Reagan's 1985 visit to Germany. Instead of continuing with the sound of Too Tough to Die, the Ramones began pursuing a more streamlined, stylized, and conventional take on their songwriting formula with 1986's Animal Boy. This was a direction the group followed for the remaining ten years of their career. Following the release of 1987's Halfway to Sanity, Richie Ramone left the band and Marky Ramone re-joined the group. In 1988, the career retrospective Ramones Mania appeared. In 1989, the Ramones contributed the theme song to the Stephen King movie Pet Semetary, and the track was included on Brain Drain, which was released in the summer of that year. After its release, the group's bassist, Dee Dee Ramone, left the band to pursue a career as a rapper called Dee Dee King; after his debut rap recording failed miserably, he formed the band Chinese Dragons. Dee Dee was replaced by C.J. Ramone (born Christopher John Ward).

In the early '90s, the Ramones sobered up, with both Joey and Marky undergoing treatment for alcoholism. The band returned to recording in 1992, first releasing the live Loco Live and then Mondo Bizarro, their first studio album in three years. Mondo Bizarro turned out to be a commercial failure, as did their 1994 covers album, Acid Eaters.

Following the release of Acid Eaters, the mainstream guitar rock audience in America finally embraced punk rock, in the form of young bands like Green Day and the Offspring. Sensing that the climate may have been right for the crossover success they had desired for so many years, the Ramones immediately followed Acid Eaters with Adios Amigos, claiming that unless the new album sold in substantial numbers, the band would call it quits after a final farewell tour. Adios Amigos only spent two weeks in the charts. Nevertheless, the Ramones embarked on a long farewell tour that ran throughout the rest of 1995. The band was set to split in the beginning of 1996 when they were offered a slot on the sixth Lollapalooza, and they toured with the festival that summer. Following the completion of the tour, the Ramones parted ways, 20 years after the release of their first album. Just a few years later, Joey Ramone passed away on April 15, 2001, at age 49, the victim of lymphoma. Little more than a year after Joey's death, Dee Dee Ramone was found dead in his home in Los Angeles on June 5, 2002. Johnny Ramone passed away two years later on September 15, 2004 after a long battle with cancer. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Weird Tales Of The Ramones

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4

Comments

punk rules!!!!!
Saw them at CBGBs more times than I can remember back in '75,'76.
Hey ho, let's go!
I've always really liked "I Wanna Be Sedated" ;) the best., & I'm usually not into cliches but hey, good music is good music :)
Pandora's songwriting credit for Chinese Rock should be Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee) and Richard Meyer (Richard Hell). I thought everyone knew that. Joey and Johnny had zero to do with that song. Johnny wouldn't record it after Dee Dee wrote it because it was about heroin, so it became associated with the Heartbreaker s , Hell's band at the time.
milosdad
I agree with bryanbm.
the chain letters are bad enough - no tea party nonsense please
Bleeding Heart liberals could use some shock treatment��
milosdad
To Erica part two. That's another thing. If you ever went to see them live you would have been hooked. A Ramones concert was something to experience.
milosdad
To Erica, I kind of understand. I've actually met a couple of punk fans who do not care for them. I, on the other hand, love them. I was a big fan of hard rock in 1976, when I first heard Beat on the Brat. I was hooked. I believe that you had to be in a certain frame of mind when you first heard them. At the time, to me, they were fresh, brash and fun to listen to. I listened to their first album everyday when I was 15 and was lucky enough to have seen them around 12-16 times.
ALL THE KIDS WANNA SNIFF SOME GLUE
I tend to like the short, weird ones: Basement, Happy Family, Cretin Hop, Carbona, I wanna be Well, among others, no surprise that sick, bad-a** style of rock influenced so many afterwards: U2; Metallica RHCP, Pearl Jam, just to name a few examples.
Never thought I would want to cry when these days were gone!
check out it's alive on you tube - ramones live show 1977. . . brings back some great memories.
I'm about to say something potentially sacrilegious , from a music perspective, but... I can't get into the Ramones. And I love punk - including the proto-punk bands New York Dolls and Stooges, bands this bio mentions explicitly. Television is one of my very favorite bands, and I also love The Clash. But try as I might, I can't get myself to love the sound of the Ramones.
If anyone thinks that the Ramones suck then thy're missing out to awesome music! They wrote and covered the best songs. Thank you Ramones for the music you guys brought for us to hear.
aserchuk
@bobonnit. Maybe you're too young. Remember, we were still watching our older brothers and sisters smoke pot and listen to Emerson Lake & Palmer while praying seriously to their stereos. The Ramones were about not taking music so seriously. Jump around like a goon and have some fun. and you know what? Disco was about the same thing. Just get out and dance. Good times.
oooooooooooo o o o o o h h h h h h h h h
The Ramones!!!
bobonnit is still mad that Barry Goldwater lost to Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
@bobonnit. Over rated!! Someone has no idea about music. If it wasn't for The Ramones we would still be listening to disco
amye45
1-2-3-4!
OVER RATED??? best live shows i've ever seen. some people should just stay in their bunker.
Pop band
Am i the only one?
im not a die-hard Ramones fan but it really pisses me off when girls wear Ramones shirts/sweat s h i r t s when they have no clue theyre even a band >.<
Yea Ramones are good music and if you dont think so then you should go listen to some bs music like p**sy metal or rap or some boyband
yesiamjunk
Pure music. Play the Ramones for a baby and watch them involuntaril y dance. Greatest live show ever on the Animal Boy tour at SDSU.
Totally over rated. They sucked and had no musical talent. They came in a period when most music was garbage but the critics had to pronounce some better than others or admit that music had gone down the drain and see the industry collapse. And the sheep bought what the critics told them was cool.
Badass US punk!
The Ramones are not the first punk rock band.
I dont want to buried in a pet cemetary
jeffreymqs64 1
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claricentp91 7
This is how you can make $50 - $100 per day by answering surveys. 1st. Go to BLUDOS.COM 2nd. Click on Start Today 3rd. Create Account (It's free) 4th. Thank me = >
When I was 15 I thought I knew all about punk . (The internet wasn't around then. It was 85) Then a friends brother schooled me about the Ramones. They are still the kings of punk. Old school will always rule
shawnnavuz71 1
This is how you can make $50 - $100 per day by answering surveys. 1st. Go to BLUDOS.COM 2nd. Click on Start Today 3rd. Create Account (It's free) 4th. Thank me = >
'Listen to my heart' Okay, I like this : ) ♪♪♪♪♪ ♥
if u like this then follow me
The ramones r real im 12 and i know this #RAMONES FOREVER!!!
adampetersen z z z
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of the life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
wayneloehlei n
RIP Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee!
Today Your Love - GEEZ makes me feel so darn good I can't take it - Dee Dee lyric master, Johnny; finally a right wing rocker, I was so sick of the Disco, and big hair bands too, Ramones early stuff saved me, I could relate and breathe again...I was in my early 20's back in the 70's, I'm 60 now and will always luv them, will be background music for my wake haha. Yeah!
GLAD THEY FINALLY PLAYED SOME RAMONES
Ramones 4 life
The definitive American punk band!!!
Stil the best
Georgepetty does have a point.
amye45
1-2-3-4 - I don't want to grow up!
Maybe the Ramones are the first U.S. punk band, but what about the Music Machine (1966 ,,,,), Them (1964-66), and so forth and so on?
I'm SO HAPPY that C.J, Marky, and Ritchie are still doing shows, keeping the Ramones ( best band ever! ) and putting out there own stuff. I went to see C.J, and that was one of the BEST shows I ever went to.
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