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The Ramones - ALL of them!

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Punk Rock Icons! 

Very important to Rock music history, the Ramones are considered to be the first Punk Rock and vanguard of the Punk Rock movement.  Some said they were the “Beatles” of Punk Rock, and they dominated the American Punk scene for two decades.

Hailing from the Forest Hills section of Queens, NY, the band formed in 1974 and 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, 1952), 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.  Their identical attire of ripped denim and biker jackets, and the use of the same surname ("Ramone" was a pseudonym used by Paul McCartney when he was with the Beatles), poked fun at the pomposity that infected rock during the 1970s.

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.

The Ramones were signed in 1975 by Sire Records, an independent American label that had a heavy roster of punk and new wave acts, including the Replacements and the Talking Heads. Their first release in 1976, Ramones, contained short, energetic songs that used three chords and shunned existing rock conventions like guitar solos. The combination of surf music and fast rhythm guitar was initially abrasive, something the band undoubtedly knew and capitalized on by recording an actual chain saw to introduce "Chain Saw." Songs like "Beat on the Brat" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" contained elements of aggression and conquest, but this fueled a campaign to overtake the music industry, not one that advocated street violence.

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.

Road to Ruin was released in 1978 and introduced the group's first lineup change. Tommy, the group's drummer and co-producer, gave up performing to produce records; he was replaced by Marky Ramone. Road to Ruin included a cover from the British Invasion period and—surprise—a ballad called "Questioningly." The group then starred in the 1979 movie, Rock 'n' Roll High School, which fairly represented the group's just-dumb-fun ethos.

The Ramones' last recording was 1995's Adios Amigos. They left fans with 11 original recordings and a number of live recordings and retrospectives. Throughout their career the band's style remained largely intact, with the occasional incorporation of metal and psyche-delia. Lyrically, the band expanded into topical subjects, like 1986's "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg," a reference to Ronald Reagan's ill-advised trip to a German war cemetery. The song was subsequently retitled "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down" for its release on Animal Boy.

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

The Ramones characterized the complex nature of punk while exposing the contradictions within rock 'n' roll itself. Their music, lyrics, and image were drawn entirely from popular culture. Some critics, especially those who tried to legitimize rock music to a broader audience, dismissed the Ramones as lowbrow entertainment. These writers missed the point, or forgot, that rock derives a large part of its validity by standing opposite to mainstream culture. Reminding people of this, the Ramones were put in the position of initiating a conservative artistic reaction within the punk movement, a movement that was perceived by many as a radical threat.

The Ramones' cartoonish pose masked their conceptual nature, which Talking Heads bassist Tina Weymouth commented on in 1990: "What set the Ramones apart from all the hardcore bands that came later was their discipline. They chose to be primitive." The Ramones' spontaneous do-it-yourself style made them a mass-scale influence in rock. They launched the development of punk, but they also emboldened musicians outside of punk as well. Once young musicians realized that forming a band did not require anyone else's blessing, local club scenes emerged and independent record labels developed. In the commercially conservative climate of the music business in the late 1970s, the Ramones' appearance showed others that it was possible to work outside an often hostile music industry.



The Official Ramones Site Link: Click Here

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