The American singer, songwriter and founder member of The Ramones Joey Ramone, (John Cummings) Sadly died 15 April 2001. The Ramones were Formed 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. They rehearsed at Manhattan’s Performance Studios, and Johnny’s former bandmate Erdelyi became manager. However Dee Dee realized that he could not sing and play his bass guitar simultaneously; so, Joey became the band’s new lead singer, however Dee Dee continued 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 demonstrate how to play the songs, As he was able to perform the group’s music better than anyone else, so he joined the band as Tommy Ramone. the Ramones played 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.
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, in April 1976. Of the fourteen songs on the album, the longest, “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement”, barely surpassed two-and-a-half minutes. While the songwriting credits were shared by the entire band, Dee Dee was the primary writer.Ramones was produced by Sire’s Craig Leon, with Tommy as associate producer, on an extremely low budget of about $6,400 and released in April.The now iconic front cover photograph of the band was taken by Roberta Bayley, a photographer for Punk magazine. Punk, which was largely responsible for codifying the term for the scene emerging around CBGB, ran a cover story on the Ramones in its third issue, the same month as the record’s release. the Ramones’ debut LP was greeted by rock critics with glowing reviews. The Village Voice’s Robert Christgau wrote, “I love this record—love it—even though I know these boys flirt with images of brutality (Nazi especially)…. For me, it blows everything else off the radio”.In Rolling Stone, Paul Nelson described it as “constructed almost entirely of rhythm tracks of an exhilarating intensity rock & roll has not experienced since its earliest days.” Characterizing the band as “authentic American primitives whose work has to be heard to be understood”, he declared, “It is time popular music followed the other arts in honoring its primitives.” Newsday’s Wayne Robbins simply anointed the Ramones as “the best young rock ‘n’ roll band in the known universe.”
However, the Ramones only reached number 111 on the Billboard album chart. The two singles issued from the album, “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”, failed to chart at all. At the band’s first major performance outside of New York, a June date in Youngstown, Ohio, approximately ten people showed up.It wasn’t until they made a brief tour of England that they began to see the fruits of their labor; a performance at The Roundhouse in London on July 4, 1976 (second-billed to the Flamin’ Groovies), organized by Linda Stein, was a resounding success.Their Roundhouse appearance and a club date the following night—where the band met members of the Sex Pistols and The Clash—helped galvanize the burgeoning UK punk rock scene. The Flamin’ Groovies/Ramones double bill was successfully reprised at The Roxy in Los Angeles the following month, fueling the punk scene there as well. The Ramones were becoming an increasingly popular live act—a Toronto performance in September energized yet another growing punk scene.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 met with even less chart success than Ramones, though it did include “Pinhead”, which became one of the band’s signature songs with its chanted refrain of “Gabba gabba hey!” Rocket to Russia was the band’s highest-charting album to date, reaching number 49 on the Billboard 200. The album also featured the first Ramones single to enter the Billboard charts (albeit only as high as number 81): “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker”. The follow-up single, “Rockaway Beach”, reached number 66—the highest any Ramones single would ever reach in America. On December 31, 1977, the Ramones recorded It’s Alive, a live concert double album, at theRainbow Theatre, London, which was released in April 1979 (the title refers to the 1974 horror film of the same name).
Tommy, left the band in 1978. He 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 the pioneering punk group Richard Hell & The Voidoids. Bell became Marky Ramone. Later that year, the band released their fourth studio album, Road to Ruin. The album, co-produced by Tommy with Ed Stasium, included some new sounds such as acoustic guitar, several ballads, and the band’s first two recorded songs longer than three minutes and featured the song, “I Wanna Be Sedated”.The artwork on the album’s cover was done by Punk magazine cofounder John Holmstrom. In 1979, the band played at McKenna Hall on the Claremont Men’s College campus in Claremont, California. the band made their movie debut in Roger Corman’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979), and 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, which was released in 1981 and took the band further from the raw punk sound of its early records. the next album Subterranean Jungle, produced by Ritchie Cordell and Glen Kolotkin, was released in 1983. Marky was fired from the band due to his alcoholism and replaced by Richard Reinhardt, who Became Richie Ramone.
The first album recorded with Richie Ramone was Too Tough to Die in 1984 featuring the single “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg”; In 1985 the band recorded the album Halfway to Sanity, Richie left in August 1987, and was replaced by Clem Burke from Blondie, then Dee Dee left the band. The Ramones eleventh studio album, was 1989’s Brain Drain. Dee Dee was replaced by Christopher Joseph Ward (C.J. Ramone), who performed with the band until they disbanded, he 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 . The band spent late 1995 on a farewell tour and appeared at the Lollapalooza festival, summer 1996. 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! The show featured several guests including Motörhead’s Lemmy, Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, and Rancid’s Tim Armstrong and Lars Frederiksen. They disbanded After having performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years.
Less than eight years after 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.