The Ramones: The Hardest Working Band in History

(Left to right: Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Tommy Ramone)

(Left to right: Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, Tommy Ramone)

Amin Shah, Music Editor

The Ramones have been widely regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time, up there with the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd. Their unique three-cord sound and their straightforward but nonsensical and controversial lyrics shaped a sound that would be used all throughout the rest of the 20th century up until even now. Along with their influential-ness comes the hard work that they put in to make it to the top and stay there, which was commendable, to say the least. Many more will be exposed to this band with the release of a new biopic with Pete Davidson starring as Joey Ramone (the lead singer of the band).

A Biography of the Ramones
Joey Ramone and his fellow bandmates all grew up in Queens, New York. Joey grew up with OCD, so he learned how to play the drums to try and deal with it. Johnny Ramone met Tommy Ramone in Budapest, Hungary where the two played together in a garage band. Johnny then met Dee Dee Ramone in the midst of his heroin addiction (which would be the reason for his death) and the two bought guitars. As the four members naturally gravitated towards one another after countless auditions that took place, they started their band called “The Ramones”. They were heavily influenced by such bands and artists as Iggy Pop, The Stooges, MC5, and the New York Dolls. Their first gig in 1974 was a giant screw-up, as many of their friends that were invited tried to cut ties with them.

The Success and End of the Ramones
After playing several more gigs at several locations, the band started to gain fans and a small underground following. So much so, that in 1975 the group signed a record contract with Sire (and they were the first New York punk band to do so). After a few weeks and 6,000$, the group recorded their first album in early 1976 titled “the Ramones”. They managed to climb the charts to 11 on the billboard with songs such as “Blitzkrieg Bop”, their cover of Chris Montez’s “Let’s Dance”, and “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement”. The group took off from there, as they would continue to tour with some of these songs for the next 20 years until their eventual breakup. At the end of 1976, the Ramones released “Ramones Leave Home”, their second album. “Leave Home” was a hit in the U.K. while the album itself did not do too great in America. After the release of the single “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and their third album “Rocket to Russia”, Tommy Ramone left the group and was replaced by Marky Ramone. Their fourth album “Road to Ruin” came out shortly after in 1978, as it was a breakthrough album for the group due to it being the first album they released that is over half an hour. Their hit song “I Wanna be Sedated” was also released within this album. The Ramones consistently released album after album through the 80s and 90s (although their 90s albums were not rated too well). They finally decided to call it quits after their albums were doing bad consecutively, as their era of music was coming to a close and evolving into something new. In 1996, the group split up after doing a very long farewell tour which was started in 1995. Very soon after, all of the Ramones died one after another within 10 years due to various diseases, leaving only Marky Ramone left.

The Legacy of the Ramones
The Ramones left behind a multi-generational impact upon the world of music. They influenced early bands like the Clash, the Misfits, and the Sex Pistols who would go on to carry their type of formula of music before evolving into their own sound (which both bands did). The legacy does not end there though, as the Ramones also impacted bands such as Green Day, Blink-182, Nirvana, and even the White Stripes. Their three-cord sound helped create the sound of raw punk, which would envelop into post-punk, grunge, and arguably alternative music. In 2011, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where their legacy will be remembered and looked back on.

Their 10 Best Songs (In my opinion):

  • “Blitzkrieg Bop” (The Ramones)
  • “I Wanna Be Sedated” (Road to Ruin)
  • “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” (Leave Home)
  • “Judy is a Punk” (The Ramones)
  • “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” (The Ramones)
  • “Do You Wanna Dance” (Rocket to Russia)
  • “Pet Sematary” (Brain Drain)
  • “Chinese Rocks” (End of the Century)
  • “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement” (The Ramones)
  • “Rock N Roll High School” (Road to Ruin)