Tommy Ramone, (Thomas Erdelyi) last surviving member of punk band the Ramones, died age 62 On 11 July 2014. The Ramones were founded by Guitarist and songwriter Johnny Ramone, (John Cummings) in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974, All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname “Ramone”, though none of them were related. The original members of the band met in and around the middle-class neighborhood of Forest Hills in the New York City borough of Queens. John Cummings and Thomas Erdelyi had both been in a high-school garage band from 1966 to 1967 known as the Tangerine Puppets. They became friends with Douglas Colvin, who had recently moved to the area from Germany, and Jeffrey Hyman, who was the initial lead singer of the glam rock band Sniper, founded in 1972. The Ramones began taking shape in early 1974, when Cummings and Colvin invited Hyman to join them in a band. The initial lineup featured Colvin on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Cummings on lead guitar, and Hyman on drums. Colvin, who soon switched from rhythm guitar to bass, was the first to adopt the name “Ramone”, calling himself Dee Dee Ramone. He was inspired by Paul McCartney’s use of the pseudonym Paul Ramon during his Silver Beatles days. Dee Dee convinced the other members to take on the name and came up with the idea of calling the band the Ramones. Hyman and Cummings became Joey and Johnny Ramone. A friend of the band, Monte A. Melnick (later their tour manager), helped to arrange rehearsal time for them at Manhattan’s Performance Studios, where he worked. Johnny’s former bandmate Erdelyi was set to become their manager.
Soon after the band was formed, Dee Dee realized that he could not sing and play his bass guitar simultaneously; with Erdelyi’s encouragement, Joey became the band’s new lead singer. Dee Dee would continue, however, to count off each song’s tempo with his signature rapid-fire shout of “1-2-3-4!” Joey soon similarly realized that he could not sing and play drums simultaneously and left the position of drummer. While auditioning prospective replacements, Erdelyi would often take to the drums and demonstrate how to play the songs. It became apparent that he was able to perform the group’s music better than anyone else, and he joined the band as Tommy Ramone. the Ramones played before an audience for the first time on March 30, 1974, at Performance Studios. The songs they played were very fast and very short; most clocked in at under two minutes. Around this time, a new music scene was emerging in New York centered around two clubs in downtown Manhattan—Max’s Kansas City and, more famously, CBGB (usually referred to as CBGB’s). The Ramones made their CBGB debut on August 16. Legs McNeil, who cofounded Punk magazine the following year, later described the impact of that performance: “They were all wearing these black leather jackets. And they counted off this song…and it was just this wall of noise…. They looked so striking. These guys were not hippies. This was something completely new.” the band swiftly became regulars at the club, playing there seventy-four times by the end of the year. After garnering considerable attention for their performances—which averaged about seventeen minutes from beginning to end—the group was signed to a recording contract in late 1975 by Seymour Stein of Sire Records. Stein’s wife, Linda Stein, had seen the band play at CBGB; she would later co-manage them along with Danny Fields.By this time, the Ramones were recognized as leaders of the new scene that was increasingly being referred to as “punk”. The group’s unusual frontman had a lot to do with their impact. As Dee Dee explained, “All the other singers [in New York] were copying David Johansen [of The New York Dolls], who was copying Mick Jagger…. But Joey was unique, totally unique.
The Ramones recorded their debut album, Ramones, 1976. Featuring the song I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement”, Blitzkrieg Bop and I wanna be your boyfriend. The now iconic front cover photograph of the band was taken by Roberta Bayley, a photographer for Punk magazine and it received glowing reviews. However I t wasn’t until they toured England that they began to see the fruits of their labor; a performance at The Roundhouse in London and a club night where The band met members of the Sex Pistols and The Clash introduced them to the burgeoning UK punk rock scene. They played atThe Roxy in Los Angeles the following month, fueling the punk scene and becoming increasingly popular. Their next two albums, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, were released in 1977. Both were coproduced by Tommy and Tony Bongiovi, the second cousin of Jon Bon Jovi. Leave Home contained the song Pinhead”, which contains the memorable refrain of “Gabba gabba hey!” Rocket to Russia was the band’s next album. Featuring the songs “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” and “Rockaway Beach”. In 1977, the Ramones recorded It’s Alive, a live concert double album, at theRainbow Theatre, London, which was released in April 1979 (the title is a reference to the 1974 horror film of the same name).
Tommy, left the band in early 1978. But continued as the Ramones’ record producer under his birth name of Erdelyi. His position as drummer was filled by Marc Bell, who had been a member of the early 1970s hard rock band Dust, Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys, and Richard Hell & The Voidoids. Bell became Marky Ramone. The Ramones fourth studio album, Road to Ruin contained the song “I Wanna Be Sedated”,The artwork on the album’s cover was done by Punk magazine cofounder John Holmstrom. The band also made their movie debut in Roger Corman’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979), renowned producer Phil Spector became interested in the Ramones and produced their 1980 album End of the Century. Pleasant Dreams, the band’s sixth album, was released in 1981. the next album Subterranean Jungle, was released in 1983. After the release of Subterranean Jungle, Marky was fired from the band due to his alcoholism and replaced by Richard Reinhardt, who adopted the name Richie Ramone. The first album the Ramones recorded with Richie Ramone was Too Tough to Die in 1984 containing the song “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg”; The following year the band recorded their last album with Richie, Halfway to Sanity,Richie left in August 1987, andwas replaced by Clem Burke from Blondie, then Dee Dee left the band as they began recording their eleventh studio album, 1989′s Brain Drain.He was replaced by Christopher Joseph Ward (C.J. Ramone), who performed with the band until they disbanded. Dee Dee initially pursued a brief career as a rapper under the name Dee Dee King. In 1995, the Ramones released ¡Adios Amigos!, their fourteenth studio album,and announced plans to disband if it was not successful. They also accepted an offer to appear in the sixth Lollapalooza festival, After the Lollapalooza tour’s conclusion, the Ramones played their final show on August 6, 1996, at the Palace in Hollywood. A recording of the concert was later released on video and CD as We’re Outta Here, which featured several guests including Motörhead’s Lemmy, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen.
The Ramones then disbanded After having performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. Sadly a little more than eight years since the breakup, the band’s three founding members had all passed away—lead singer Joey Ramone, guitarist Johnny Ramone in 2004 and bassist Dee Dee Ramone in 2002. Sadly their only record with enough U.S. sales to be certified gold was the compilation album Ramones Mania. However, recognition of the band’s importance built over the years, and they are now cited in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as the Rolling Stone list of the 50 Greatest Artists of All Time and VH1′s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. In 2002, the Ramones were ranked the second-greatest band of all time by Spin magazine, trailing only The Beatles. On March 18, 2002, the Ramones—including the three founders and drummers Tommy and Marky Ramone—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.