Remembering The Ramones

photo by Brad Elterman

On Friday, July 11th, Tommy Ramone died, and just like that, 1,2,3,4, all the original members of the Ramones were gone. I cried when I heard the news. Okay, so maybe I cry a lot, at vacuum cleaner commercials and concerts and movies and previews for movies, but when I heard about Tommy’s death, I cried because the Ramones were important to me in a way that not many other bands were. The Ramones were my Beatles. Not only were they my Beatles, they were punk rock’s Beatles: they created a sound that would spawn in some way or another a million and a half bands, from The Clash to The Misfits to The Strokes. There would be no Nirvana without the Ramones. There would be no Black Flag, there would be no Beastie Boys. Don’t even get me started on Green Day or Blink-182 (or the throngs of present-day eye-liner-loving Warped Tour bands I can’t actually identify). The Ramones, with their hook-ridden, blistering-beat two-and-a-half minute tunes, are responsible for easily 97% of my favorite bands, who in turn took turns rescuing me at various angst-ridden, alienated junctures of my youth. By that logic, the Ramones saved my life, and for that I am eternally grateful.

The Ramones didn’t just create a unique sound: they created a whole universe around their own mythology. Joey, Johnny, Tommy, and Dee Dee (and later, Marky, CJ, Richie, and Elvis) were not related, but they were all Ramones in name and in practice: they all sported the same signature rounded mullet, the same blue jeans, the same crop tops, and of course, the same leather jackets. The Ramones took their style as seriously as they took their music (probably more, in fact), and as a result their look has become nothing short of iconic.

Even though they’ve all now moved on to the Rock n’ Roll High School in the sky, the world will never forget the Ramones or the impact they had on pop culture. Remember them with us. Hey, ho, let’s go…

photo by Brad Elterman








Ramones-Blitzgrieg Bop