July 11th 2014 was a very sad day in the world of punk rock music. The last remaining original Ramone Tommy passed away due to bile duct cancer. The Ramones were one of the most influential bands ever, arguably inventing the genre of punk. This blog is a tribute to The Ramones.
In 1974 John Cummings, Thomas Erdelyi, Douglas Colvin and Jeffrey Hyman formed a band New York City. Playing fast, loud and straightforward music that was influenced by bands that included The Beach Boys, The Beatles and The Shangri-Lahs, they wanted to make music that was not the same as the heavily produced pop music that was currently in the charts. Using simple chords and a quick tempo punk music was born. Taking on the monikers Johnny, Tommy, Dee Dee and Joey Ramone four men from New York were about to change music forever as The Ramones.
During their career The Ramones released 14 studio albums and 6 live albums along with a collection of compilation albums, singles and music videos. Sadly none of these albums were massive chart successes, the highest charting one in America being End Of The Century which hit number 44 though it did break into the top 10 in Sweden. Despite the lack of chart success these albums would go on to influence 1000’s of bands to go and make music. Without The Ramones there would have never been bands like Black Flag and the Descendents, without those bands there would be no Green Day or Blink 182 and without them there would be no Busted or McFly. Those last four bands have sold millions upon millions of albums between them, all due to playing a similar version of what The Ramones created.
Something that’s fantastic about The Ramones music is how modern it still sounds today. As I’m writing this I am currently listening to The Ramones self titled debut album and I’m thinking how these songs could have been released this year and not thirty eight years ago. It doesn’t feel dated at all. If I think back on other styles of music from back then to me they sound old and out of touch, which to be fair they should they are old songs. I grew up listening to a lot of Elvis Presley’s music; my mum is an obsessive fan – so much so there are more pictures of him up than me (her only son) in her front room. I don’t dislike his music at all and this isn’t a dig but I can’t imagine 1000’s of bands around the world wanting to emulate him in 2014.
One of my biggest pet peeves is the current trend of people wearing Ramones tops. You might wonder why that is; surely it’s a good thing that people are showing support. If they are wearing it because they are fans of the band, fantastic! Sadly I have discovered that many of the folks wearing these tops don’t even know that The Ramones were a band, let alone one of the most influential bands of all time. I really hope that one day they do realise they are a band and not just a brand and discover just how amazing they were. They might even discover they have heard a Ramones song at some point; I’m quite convinced that everyone knows the chorus to Blitzkrieg Bop.
“HEY HO! LETS GO!”
RIP The Ramones