It’s hard to believe, but yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the release of The Ramones’ self-titled debut album, Ramones.
The album was a game changer, for sure, and is arguably one of the most influential rock records of all time.
The band was slap bang in the middle of the infamous New York punk-rock scene. With the release of Ramones the band showed that an album, featuring 14 songs with a super short running time of 29 minutes, could be as good as any of the albums being released at the time. Let’s also not forget that the album was recorded in just one week for a reported budget of $6,400. To say the album was profitable is an understatement.
Dressed from head to toe in black leather jackets, T-shirts, jeans and sneakers, the Queens, New York, natives blended musical influences of British Invasion acts, ’60s girl groups, The Beach Boys, The Stooges and The MC5. With the added delivery of high-speed tempos and catchy melodies, you’ve got an album that caught the world’s imagination.
From the opening chords of “Blitzkrieg Bop” with its simple chanted chorus “Hey! Ho! Let’s go!”—you know what you’re getting: a rollercoaster ride of pop-punk perfection. With the addition of “Beat on the Brat”, “Judy Is a Punk”, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”, “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”, “Loudmouth”, and “53rd & 3rd“, you’re in heaven.
On its release, the album initially failed to have any major impact, and yet it made a huge impact on countless bands from The Sex Pistols, The Clash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, and Nirvana.
The band eventually broke up in 1996, and while real commercial success eluded The Ramones, their influence on music was undeniable and was acknowledged when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
The four misfits from New York, who by the way all changed their last names to Ramone, are sadly, no longer with us.
Singer Joey Ramone died in 2001 at age 49; bassist Dee Dee Ramone, in 2002 at age 50; guitarist Johnny Ramone, died in September 2004 at age 55; and drummer Tommy Ramone, died in July 2014 at the age of 65.
In a landmark moment in June 2014, 38 years after its release, Ramones was certified gold for sales of 500,000 copies in the U.S. In honour of the album’s 40th anniversary, an exhibit of the band opened earlier this month at Queens Museum in the band members’ hometown borough of Queens, New York.