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The Ramones are the first punk rock band. Other bands, such as the Stooges and the New York Dolls, came before them and set the stage and aesthetic for punk, and bands that immediately followed, such as the Sex Pistols, made the latent violence of the music more explicit, but the Ramones crystallized the musical ideals of the genre. By cutting rock & roll down to its bare essentials -- four chords; a simple, catchy melody; and irresistibly inane lyrics -- and speeding up the tempo considerably, the Ramones created something that was rooted in early '60s, pre-Beatles rock & roll and pop but sounded revolutionary. Since their breakthrough was theoretical as well as musical, they comfortably became the leaders of the emerging New York punk rock scene. While their peers such as Patti Smith, Television, Talking Heads, and Richard Hell all were more intellectual and self-consciously artistic than the Ramones, they nevertheless appealed to the same mentality because of the way they turned rock conventions inside out and celebrated kitschy pop culture with stylized stupidity. The band's first four albums set the blueprint for punk, especially American punk and hardcore, for the next two decades. And the Ramones themselves were major figures for the next two decades, playing essentially the same music without changing their style much at all. Although some punk diehards -- including several of their peers -- would have claimed the band's long career wound up undercutting the ideals the band originally stood for, the Ramones always celebrated not just the punk aesthetic, but the music itself.
Based in the Forest Hills section of Queens, NY, the Ramones formed in 1974. Originally, the band 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, 1951), 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. 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. By the end of 1975, the Ramones secured a recording contract with Sire; discounting Patti Smith, they were the first New York punk band to sign a contract.
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.
Tommy Ramone left the band in the spring of 1977, although he produced the group's subsequent album. He was replaced by former Voidoid Marc Bee, who immediately changed his name to Marky Ramone. With their new drummer in place, the Ramones recorded their fourth album, Road to Ruin, which was released in the fall. Road to Ruin marked the band's first significant attempt to change their sound; not only were there stronger bubblegum, girl group, surf, and '60s pop influences on the music, it was the first of their albums to run over a half hour. Although their sound was more accessible, it didn't gain the band a noticeably larger following. Neither did Rock N' Roll High School, the 1979 Roger Corman film in which the Ramones had a pivotal part. The soundtrack to Rock N' Roll High School and the U.K.-only live album It's Alive were the band's only releases of 1979. For most of the year, they were in the studio recording their fifth album with legendary '60s pop producer Phil Spector. The title song to the Corman movie was the first track released from the sessions, although the soundtrack album did feature a number of older Ramones songs remixed by Spector. End of the Century, the Spector-produced Ramones album, finally appeared in January of 1980 to mixed reviews. Despite the lukewarm reception to the album, the record's cover of the Ronettes' "Baby I Love You" became their only Top Ten British hit; in America, none of the singles made an impact, although the record became their biggest hit, peaking at number 44.
The Ramones continued their attempts at crossover success with their sixth album, Pleasant Dreams, which was released in 1981. Featuring a production by former Hollies and 10cc member Graham Gouldman, the record was a commercial disappointment in both America and England. The band was relatively quiet during 1982, spending most of their time touring. In the spring of 1983, the band returned with Subterranean Jungle, which was produced by Ritchie Cordell and Glen Koltkin, the heads of the American indie label Beserkley Records. Not only did Subterranean Jungle fail to gain the band the larger audience they desired, it continued the erosion of the band's diehard fan base, as well as their decline in the eyes of many rock critics. Following the album's release, Marky Ramone left the band; he was replaced by Richard Beau, a former member of the Velveteens, who changed his name to Richie Ramone.
With 1984's Too Tough to Die, the Ramones delivered a belated response to America's burgeoning hardcore punk scene that was largely produced by Tommy Erdelyi. The album helped restore their artistic reputation, as did the 1985 single, "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg," an attack on President Ronald Reagan's 1985 visit to Germany. Instead of continuing with the sound of Too Tough to Die, the Ramones began pursuing a more streamlined, stylized, and conventional take on their songwriting formula with 1986's Animal Boy. This was a direction the group followed for the remaining ten years of their career. Following the release of 1987's Halfway to Sanity, Richie Ramone left the band and Marky Ramone re-joined the group. In 1988, the career retrospective Ramones Mania appeared. In 1989, the Ramones contributed the theme song to the Stephen King movie Pet Semetary, and the track was included on Brain Drain, which was released in the summer of that year. After its release, the group's bassist, Dee Dee Ramone, left the band to pursue a career as a rapper called Dee Dee King; after his debut rap recording failed miserably, he formed the band Chinese Dragons. Dee Dee was replaced by C.J. Ramone (born Christopher John Ward).
In the early '90s, the Ramones sobered up, with both Joey and Marky undergoing treatment for alcoholism. The band returned to recording in 1992, first releasing the live Loco Live and then Mondo Bizarro, their first studio album in three years. Mondo Bizarro turned out to be a commercial failure, as did their 1994 covers album, Acid Eaters.
Following the release of Acid Eaters, the mainstream guitar rock audience in America finally embraced punk rock, in the form of young bands like Green Day and the Offspring. Sensing that the climate may have been right for the crossover success they had desired for so many years, the Ramones immediately followed Acid Eaters with Adios Amigos, claiming that unless the new album sold in substantial numbers, the band would call it quits after a final farewell tour. Adios Amigos only spent two weeks in the charts. Nevertheless, the Ramones embarked on a long farewell tour that ran throughout the rest of 1995. 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.
Wikipedia:For other uses, see Ramones (disambiguation).
The Ramones were an American rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. Despite achieving only limited commercial success, the band was a major influence on the punk rock movement in both the United States and United Kingdom.
All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname "Ramone", although none of them were related. They performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. In 1996, after a tour with the Lollapalooza music festival, the band played a farewell concert and disbanded. By 2014, all of the band's original four members – lead singer Joey Ramone (1951–2001), guitarist Johnny Ramone (1948–2004), bassist Dee Dee Ramone (1952–2002) and drummer Tommy Ramone (1949–2014) – had died.
Recognition of the band's importance built over the years, and they are now mentioned in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as the Rolling Stone list of the "100 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 original four members and Tommy's replacement on drums, Marky Ramone, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award."Ramones". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum. 15 September 2004. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Cite error: The named reference Schinder559 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference AP was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference nytimes was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference Sisario was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "The Immortals: The First Fifty". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock". VH1. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "50 Greatest Bands Of All Time". Spin. February 2002. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Vineyard, Jennifer (19 March 2002). "Vedder Rambles, Green Day Scramble As Ramones Enter Hall". VH1. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Sterndan, Darryl (13 February 2011). "Ramones Honoured with Lifetime Achievement Grammy". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2011-02-13. "Ramone Family Acceptance at Special Merit Awards Ceremony". The Recording Academy. Retrieved 2012-02-21.
ContentsHistory1.1 Formation: 1974–19751.2 Spearheading punk: 1976–19771.3 Recordings turn more pop: 1978–19831.4 Shuffling members: 1983–19891.5 Final years: 1990–19961.6 Aftermath and deaths
Formation: 1974–1975Forest Hills High School, attended by the four original members of the Ramones
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."
Spearheading punk: 1976–1977
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, despite Sire's high hopes for it, Ramones was not a commercial success, reaching only 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 4 July 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 Theatre 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!" Leave Home also included a fast-paced cover of the oldie "California Sun", written by Henry Glover & Morris Levy, and originally recorded by Joe Jones. Rocket to Russia was the band's highest-charting album to date, reaching number 49 on the Billboard 200. In Rolling Stone, critic Dave Marsh called it "the best American rock & roll of the year". 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 the Rainbow Theatre, London, which was released in April 1979 (the title is a reference to the 1974 horror film of the same name).
Recordings turn more pop: 1978–1983
Tommy, tired of touring, left the band in early 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, and first with Marky, 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. It failed to reach the Billboard Top 100. However, "I Wanna Be Sedated", which appeared both on the album and as a single, would become one of the band's best-known songs. The artwork on the album's cover was done by Punk magazine cofounder John Holmstrom.
After the band's 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. During the recording sessions in Los Angeles, Spector held Johnny at gunpoint, forcing him to repeatedly play a riff. Though it was to be the highest-charting album in the band's history—reaching number 44 in the United States and number 14 in Great Britain—Johnny made clear that he favored the band's more aggressive punk material: "End of the Century was just watered-down Ramones. It's not the real Ramones." This stance was also conveyed by the title and track selection of the compilation album Johnny later oversaw, Loud, Fast Ramones: Their Toughest Hits. Despite these reservations, Johnny did concede that some of Spector's work with the band had merit, saying "It really worked when he got to a slower song like 'Danny Says'—the production really worked tremendously. 'Rock 'N' Roll Radio' is really good. For the harder stuff, it didn't work as well." The syrupy, string-laden Ronettes cover "Baby, I Love You" released as a single, became the band's biggest hit in Great Britain, reaching number 8 on the charts.
Pleasant Dreams, the band's sixth album, was released in 1981. It continued the trend established by End of the Century, taking the band further from the raw punk sound of its early records. As described by Trouser Press, the album, produced by Graham Gouldman of UK pop act 10cc, moved the Ramones "away from their pioneering minimalism into heavy metal territory". Johnny would contend in retrospect that this direction was a record company decision, a continued futile attempt to get airplay on American radio. While Pleasant Dreams reached number 58 on the U.S. chart, its two singles failed to register at all.
Subterranean Jungle, produced by Ritchie Cordell and Glen Kolotkin, was released in 1983. According to Trouser Press, it brought the band "back to where they once belonged: junky '60s pop adjusted for current tastes", which among other things meant "easing off the breakneck rhythm that was once Ramones dogma." Billy Rogers, who had performed with Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, played drums on the album's second single, a cover of the Chambers Brothers' "Time Has Come Today". Subterranean Jungle peaked at number 83 in the United States—it would be the last album by the band to crack the Billboard Top 100. In 2002, Rhino Records released a new version of it with seven bonus tracks.
Shuffling members: 1983–1989
After the release of Subterranean Jungle, Marky was fired from the band due to his alcoholism. He was replaced by Richard Reinhardt, who adopted the name Richie Ramone. Joey Ramone remarked that “[Richie] saved the band as far as I’m concerned. He’s the greatest thing to happen to the Ramones. He put the spirit back in the band.” Richie is notable as the only Ramones drummer to sing lead vocals on Ramones songs, including "(You) Can’t Say Anything Nice” as well as the unreleased “Elevator Operator". Richie’s vocal contributions were appreciated by Joey Ramone: "Richie's very talented and he's very diverse ... He really strengthened the band a hundred percent because he sings backing tracks, he sings lead, and he sings with Dee Dee's stuff. In the past, it was always just me singing for the most part." Richie was also the only drummer to be the sole composer of Ramones songs including their hit “Somebody Put Something in My Drink” as well as "Smash You,” "Humankind,” "I'm Not Jesus,” "I Know Better Now" and "(You) Can't Say Anything Nice". Joey Ramone supported Richie’s songwriting contributions: “I encouraged Richie to write songs. I figured it would make him feel more a part of the group, because we never let anybody else write our songs.” Richie’s composition, "Somebody Put Something in My Drink," remained a staple in the Ramones set list until their last show in 1996 and was included in the album Loud, Fast Ramones: Their Toughest Hits which is composed of songs hand picked by Johnny Ramone as some of the Ramones' best works. The 8 song bonus disc, The Ramones Smash You: Live '85, is also named after Richie’s song “Smash You”.
The first album the Ramones recorded with Richie was Too Tough to Die in 1984, with Tommy Erdelyi and Ed Stasium returning as producers. The album marked a shift to something like the band's original sound. In the description of Allmusic's Stephen Thomas Erlewine, the "rhythms are back up to jackhammer speed and the songs are down to short, terse statements."
The band's main release of 1985 was the British single "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg"; though it was available in the United States only as an import, it was played widely on American college radio. The song was written, primarily by Joey, in protest of Ronald Reagan's visit to a German military cemetery where SS members were buried. Retitled "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)", the song appeared on the band's ninth studio album, Animal Boy (1986). Produced by Jean Beauvoir, formerly a member of the Plasmatics, the album was characterized by a Rolling Stone reviewer as "nonstop primal fuzz pop". Making it his pick for "album of the week", New York Times critic Jon Pareles wrote that the Ramones "speak up for outcasts and disturbed individuals".
The following year the band recorded their last album with Richie, Halfway to Sanity, produced by Daniel Rey. Richie left in August 1987, upset that after being in the band for four years, the other members would still not give him a share of the money they made selling T-shirts. Richie was replaced by Clem Burke from Blondie, which was disbanded at the time. According to Johnny, the performances with Burke – who adopted the name Elvis Ramone – were a disaster. He was fired after two performances because his drumming could not keep up with the rest of the band. Marky, now clean and sober, returned.
Dee Dee left the band as they began recording their eleventh studio album, 1989's Brain Drain; the bass parts were done by Daniel Rey and the Dictators' Andy Shernoff; co-produced by Beauvoir, Rey, and Bill Laswell. 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. He quickly returned to punk rock and formed several bands, in much the same vein as the Ramones, for whom he also continued to write songs.
Final years: 1990–1996
After more than a decade and a half at Sire Records, the Ramones moved to a new label, Radioactive Records. Their first album for the label was 1992's Mondo Bizarro, which reunited them with producer Ed Stasium. Acid Eaters, consisting entirely of cover songs, came out the following year. In 1993 the Ramones were featured in the animated television series The Simpsons, providing music and voices for animated versions of themselves in the episode "Rosebud".
In 1995 the Ramones released ¡Adios Amigos!, their fourteenth studio album, and announced that they planned to disband if it was not successful. Its sales were unremarkable, garnering it just two weeks on the lower end of the Billboard chart. The band spent late 1995 on what was promoted as a farewell tour. However, they accepted an offer to appear in the sixth Lollapalooza festival, which toured around the United States during the following summer. After the Lollapalooza tour's conclusion, the Ramones played their final show on 6 August 1996 at the Palace in Hollywood. A recording of the concert was later released on video and CD as We're Outta Here! In addition to a reappearance by Dee Dee, 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.
Aftermath and deathsMarky Ramone at the 2009 premiere of the documentary Burning Down the House: The Story of CBGB
On 20 July 1999 Dee Dee, Johnny, Joey, Tommy, Marky, and C.J. appeared together at the Virgin Megastore in New York City for an autograph signing. This was the last occasion on which the original four members of the group appeared together. Joey, who had been diagnosed with lymphoma in 1995, died of the illness on 15 April 2001, in New York.
In 2002 the Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which specifically named Dee Dee, Johnny, Joey, Tommy, and Marky. At the ceremony, the surviving inductees spoke on behalf of the band. Tommy spoke first, saying how honored the band felt, but how much it would have meant for Joey. Johnny thanked the band's fans and blessed George W. Bush and his presidency. Dee Dee humorously congratulated and thanked himself, while Marky thanked Tommy for influencing his drum style. Green Day played "Teenage Lobotomy" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" as a tribute, demonstrating the Ramones' continuing influence on later rock musicians. The ceremony was one of Dee Dee's last public appearances; on 5 June 2002, two months later, he was found at his Hollywood home, dead from a heroin overdose.
On 30 November 2003 New York City unveiled a sign designating East 2nd Street at the corner of Bowery as Joey Ramone Place. The singer lived on East 2nd for a time, and the sign is near the former Bowery site of CBGB. The documentary film End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones came out in 2004. Johnny, who had been privately battling prostate cancer, died on 15 September 2004 in Los Angeles, shortly after the film's release. On the same day as Johnny's death, the world's first Ramones Museum opened its doors to the public. Located in Berlin, Germany, the museum features more than 300 items of memorabilia, including a pair of stage-worn jeans from Johnny, a stage-worn glove from Joey, Marky's sneakers, and C.J.'s stage-worn bass strap.
The Ramones were inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007. That October saw the release of a DVD set containing concert footage of the band: It's Alive 1974-1996 includes 118 songs from 33 performances over the span of the group's career. In February 2011 the group was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Drummers Tommy, Marky, and Richie attended the ceremony. Marky declared, "This is amazing. I never expected this. I'm sure Johnny, Joey, and Dee Dee would never have expected this." Richie noted that it was the first time ever that all three drummers were under the same roof, and mused that he couldn't "help thinking that [Joey] is watching us right now with a little smile on his face behind his rose-colored glasses."
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"Johnny Ramone Stays Tough: Ramones Guitarist Reflects on Dee Dee's Death and the Difficult Eighties". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-03-01. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Retrieved from Internet Archive 16 December 2013. "Joey Ramone Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 17 April 2001. Retrieved 2009-11-03. Isler and Robbins (1991), p. 533. "The Ramones". MTV. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "Charts & Awards Pleasant Dreams". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-03. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Overview Subterranean Jungle". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-03. Gaines, Donna (2007). A Misfit's Manifesto: the Sociological Memoir of a Rock & Roll Heart. Rutgers University Press. p. 198. ISBN 0-8135-4054-2. Retrieved 2009-11-06. "Charts & Awards Subterranean Jungle". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-03. "Chart History—The Ramones". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-11-07. "Brooklyn based Music Blog: Anachronique : Ramones (Glam Rock)". Still in Rock. 2004-02-26. Retrieved 2014-04-19. Bessman (1993), p. 127. "Ramones Get Back the Spirit". Bignoisenow.com. Retrieved 2014-07-13. Leigh, Mickey (2009). I Slept With Joey Ramone. Touchstone. p. 229. ISBN 0-7432-5216-0. Leigh, Mickey (2009). I Slept With Joey Ramone. Touchstone. p. 230. ISBN 0-7432-5216-0. True, Everett (2002). Hey Ho Let's go: The Story of The Ramones. Omnibus Press. p. 208. ISBN 0-7119-9108-1. "Loud, Fast Ramones: Their Toughest Hits". Barnesandnoble.com. Retrieved 2014-07-13. Ramone, Johnny (2012). Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone. Abrams. p. 133. ISBN 978-0810996601. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Too Tough to Die Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-07-31. Corn, David (April 23, 2001). "R.I.P. Joey Ramone, Singing Protester". Albion Monitor. Retrieved 2009-01-22. Wyman, Bill (April 15, 2001). "Joey Ramone, R.I.P.". Salon.com. Retrieved 2009-01-22. Jaffee, Larry (November–December 1985). "Disc Spells Hit Time for Bonzo". Mother Jones. p. 10. Check date values in: |date= (help) Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Animal Boy Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-06. Fricke, David (17 July 1986). "The Ramones: Animal Boy". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Quoted in Bessman (1993), p. 136. From the film End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones D'Angelo, Joe, and Gideon Yago (6 June 2002). "Dee Dee Ramone Found Dead In Los Angeles". MTV News. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Overview Mondo Bizarro". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-06. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Overview Acid Eaters". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-06. "The Simpsons "Rosebud"". BBC. Retrieved 2009-11-03. Newman, Melinda (27 May 1995). "Looks Like 'Adios Amigos' For Ramones". Billboard. p. 12. Retrieved 2010-02-20. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Overview ¡Adios Amigos!". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-06. "Chart History ¡Adios Amigos!". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-11-06. Beowülf, David Lee. "Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert! Marky Ramone". Ink 19. Retrieved 2009-11-06. Schinder (2007), pp. 559–560. Schinder (2007), p. 560. Pareles, Jon (7 June 2002). "Dee Dee Ramone, Pioneer Punk Rocker, Dies at 50". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-03. Wakin, Daniel J. (November 29, 2003). "Hey Ho, Let's Go Downtown to Joey Ramone Place". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-19. Sisario, Ben (16 September 2004). "Johnny Ramone, Signal Guitarist for the Ramones, Dies at 55". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-03. "Ramones Museum". Retrieved 2009-11-05. "Inductees". Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "DVD Set To Be Released Featuring over 4 Hours of the Ramones Live at Work". Side-line.com. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Cite error: The named reference Sterndan was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference grammy1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Tommy Ramone dies aged 62". The Guardian. 12 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
Conflicts between members
Tensions between Joey and Johnny colored much of the Ramones' career. The pair were politically antagonistic, Joey being a liberal and Johnny a conservative. Their personalities also clashed: Johnny, who spent two years in military school, lived by a code of self-discipline, while Joey struggled with obsessive-compulsive disorder and alcoholism. In the early 1980s, Johnny "stole" Joey's girlfriend Linda, whom he later married. As a consequence, despite performing together for years afterward, Joey and Johnny stopped speaking to each other. Johnny did not call Joey before the latter's death in 2001, but said in the documentary End of the Century that he was depressed for "the whole week" after the singer died.
Aside from this central conflict, Dee Dee's bipolar disorder and repeated relapses into drug addiction also caused significant strains. Tommy left the band partly in reaction to being "physically threatened by Johnny, treated with contempt by Dee Dee, and all but ignored by Joey". As new members joined, payment methods and image representation became matters of serious dispute. In 1997, Marky and Joey got into a fight about their respective drinking habits on the Howard Stern radio show.Bessman (1993), pp. 18, 82. Leland, John (22 April 2001). "Tribute: A Star of Anti-Charisma, Joey Ramone Made Geeks Chic". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "Joey Ramone". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-04-19. Cite error: The named reference Sisario was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference film was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Melnick and Meyer (2003). Beeber (2006), p. 121. St. Thomas, Maggie (3 December 2001). "The Ramones Confidentials—Part III (Interview with C.J. Ramone)". Livewire. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Leigh and McNeil (2009), pp. 343–344.
The Ramones' loud, fast, straightforward musical style was influenced by pop music that the band members grew up listening to in the 1950s and 1960s, including classic rock groups such as the Beach Boys, the Beatles, the Kinks, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones; bubblegum acts like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and Ohio Express; and girl groups such as the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las. They also drew on the harder rock sound of the MC5, Black Sabbath, the Stooges and the New York Dolls, both now known as seminal protopunk bands. The Ramones' style was in part a reaction against the heavily produced, often bombastic music that dominated the pop charts in the 1970s. "We decided to start our own group because we were bored with everything we heard," Joey once explained. "In 1974 everything was tenth-generation Elton John, or overproduced, or just junk. Everything was long jams, long guitar solos ... . We missed music like it used to be." Ira Robbins and Scott Isler of Trouser Press describe the result:
With just four chords and one manic tempo, New York's Ramones blasted open the clogged arteries of mid-'70s rock, reanimating the music. Their genius was to recapture the short/simple aesthetic from which pop had strayed, adding a caustic sense of trash-culture humor and minimalist rhythm guitar sound.
As leaders in the punk rock scene, the Ramones' music has usually been identified with that label, while some have defined their characteristic style more specifically as pop punk and others as power pop. In the 1980s, the band sometimes veered into hardcore punk territory, as can be heard on Too Tough to Die.
On stage, the band adopted a focused approach directly intended to increase the audience's concert experience. Johnny's instructions to C.J. when preparing for his first live performances with the group were to play facing the audience, to stand with the bass slung low between spread legs, and to walk forward to the front of stage at the same time as he did. Johnny was not a fan of guitarists who performed facing their drummer, amplifier, or other band members.
The Ramones' art and visual imagery complemented the themes of their music and performance. The band members adopted a uniform look of long hair, leather jackets, T-shirts, torn jeans, and sneakers. This fashion emphasized minimalism, which was a powerful influence on the New York punk scene of the 1970s and reflected the band's short, simple songs. Tommy Ramone recalled that, both musically and visually, "we were influenced by comic books, movies, the Andy Warhol scene, and avant-garde films. I was a big Mad Magazine fan myself."
The band's logo was created by New York City artist Arturo Vega, a longtime friend who had allowed Joey and Dee Dee to move into his loft. Vega produced the band's T-shirts, their main source of income, basing most of the images on a black-and-white self-portrait photograph he had taken of his American bald eagle belt buckle which had appeared on the back sleeve of the Ramones' first album. He was inspired to create the band's logo after a trip to Washington, D.C.:
I saw them as the ultimate all-American band. To me, they reflected the American character in general—an almost childish innocent aggression ... . I thought, 'The Great Seal of the President of the United States' would be perfect for the Ramones, with the eagle holding arrows—to symbolize strength and the aggression that would be used against whomever dares to attack us—and an olive branch, offered to those who want to be friendly. But we decided to change it a little bit. Instead of the olive branch, we had an apple tree branch, since the Ramones were American as apple pie. And since Johnny was such a baseball fanatic, we had the eagle hold a baseball bat instead of the [Great Seal]'s arrows.
The scroll in the eagle's beak originally read "Look out below", but this was soon changed to "Hey ho let's go" after the opening lyrics of the band's first single, "Blitzkrieg Bop". The arrowheads on the shield came from a design on a polyester shirt Vega had bought. The name "Ramones" was spelled out in block capitals above the logo using plastic stick-on letters. Where the presidential emblem read "Seal of the President of the United States" clockwise in the border around the eagle, Vega instead placed the pseudonyms of the four band members: Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, and Tommy. Over the years the names in the border would change as the band's lineup fluctuated.Johansson (2009), p. 57. Millard, André (2004). The Electric Guitar: A History of an American Icon. JHU Press. p. 206. ISBN 0-8018-7862-4. Bessman (1993), pp. 17–18; Morris, Chris (April 29, 2001). "Joey Ramone, Punk's First Icon, Dies". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "The Musical Misfits". BBC. 16 April 2001. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Edelstein and McDonough (1990), p. 178. Isler and Robbins (1991), p. 532. Cite error: The named reference mtvbio was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Ramones Discography LPs". punk77.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "End of the Century: The Ramones". PBS. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Holmstrom, John (December 2004). "Happy Family Interviews". RamonesMania.com. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Fricke, David (1999). Hey Ho Let's Go!: The Anthology liner notes. Rhino Entertainment, R2 75817. Colegrave and Sullivan (2001), p. 67. McNeil and McCain (1996), p. 211. Bessman (1993), p. 40. Cite error: The named reference Bessman.2C_211 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Vega, Arturo. "My Ramones World". RamonesWorld.com. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
The Ramones had a broad and lasting influence on the development of popular music. Music historian Jon Savage writes of their debut album that "it remains one of the few records that changed pop forever." As described by Allmusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine, "The band's first four albums set the blueprint for punk, especially American punk and hardcore, for the next two decades." Trouser Press's Robbins and Isler similarly write that the Ramones "not only spearheaded the original new wave/punk movement, but also drew the blueprint for subsequent hardcore punk bands". Punk journalist Phil Strongman writes, "In purely musical terms, The Ramones, in attempting to re-create the excitement of pre-Dolby rock, were to cast a huge shadow—they had fused a blueprint for much of the indie future." Writing for Slate in 2001, Douglas Wolk described the Ramones as "easily the most influential group of the last 30 years."
The Ramones' debut album had an outsized effect relative to its modest sales. According to Generation X bassist Tony James, "Everybody went up three gears the day they got that first Ramones album. Punk rock—that rama-lama super fast stuff—is totally down to the Ramones. Bands were just playing in an MC5 groove until then." The Ramones' two July 1976 shows, like their debut album, are seen as having a significant impact on the style of many of the newly formed British punk acts—as one observer put it, "instantly nearly every band speeded up". The Ramones' first British concert, at London's Roundhouse concert hall, was held on 4 July 1976, the United States Bicentennial. The Sex Pistols were playing in Sheffield that evening, supported by the Clash, making their public debut. The next night, members of both bands attended the Ramones' gig at the Dingwall's club. Ramones manager Danny Fields recalls a conversation between Johnny Ramone and Clash bassist Paul Simonon (which he mislocates at the Roundhouse): "Johnny asked him, 'What do you do? Are you in a band?' Paul said, 'Well, we just rehearse. We call ourselves the Clash but we're not good enough.' Johnny said, 'Wait till you see us—we stink, we're lousy, we can't play. Just get out there and do it.'" Another band whose members saw the Ramones perform, the Damned, played their first show two days later. The central fanzine of the early UK punk scene, Sniffin' Glue, was named after the song "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue", which appeared on the debut LP.
Ramones concerts and recordings influenced many musicians central to the development of California punk as well, including Greg Ginn of Black Flag, Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys, Al Jourgensen of Ministry, Mike Ness of Social Distortion, Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion, and members of the Descendents. Canada's first major punk scenes—in Toronto and in British Columbia's Victoria and Vancouver—were also heavily influenced by the Ramones. In the late 1970s, many bands emerged with musical styles deeply indebted to the band's. There were the Lurkers from England, the Undertones from Ireland, Teenage Head from Canada, and the Zeros and the Dickies from southern California. The seminal hardcore band Bad Brains took its name from a Ramones song. The Riverdales emulated the sound of the Ramones throughout their career. Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong named his son Joey in homage to Joey Ramone, and drummer Tré Cool named his daughter Ramona.
The Ramones also influenced musicians associated with other genres, such as heavy metal. Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has described the importance of Johnny's rapid-fire guitar playing style to his own musical development. Motörhead lead singer Lemmy, a friend of the Ramones since the late 1970s, mixed the band's "Go Home Ann" in 1985. The members of Motörhead later composed the song "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." as a tribute, and Lemmy performed at the final Ramones concert in 1996. In the realm of alternative rock, the song "53rd and 3rd" lent its name to a British indie pop label cofounded by Stephen Pastel of the Scottish band the Pastels. Evan Dando of the Lemonheads, Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam (who introduced the band members at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction) and the Strokes are among the many alternative rock and metal musicians who have credited the Ramones with inspiring them.
In April 2009, Spin writer Mark Prindle observed that the Ramones had to date "inspired a jaw-dropping 48 (at least!) full-length tribute records." The first Ramones tribute album featuring multiple performers was released in 1991: Gabba Gabba Hey: A Tribute to the Ramones includes tracks by such acts as the Flesh Eaters, L7, Mojo Nixon, and Bad Religion. In 2001, Dee Dee made a guest appearance on one track of Ramones Maniacs, a multi-artist cover of the entire Ramones Mania compilation album. The Song Ramones the Same, which came out the following year, includes performances by the Dictators, who were part of the early New York punk scene, and Wayne Kramer, guitarist for the influential protopunk band MC5. We're a Happy Family: A Tribute to Ramones, released in 2003, features performers such as Green Day, Metallica, Kiss, the Offspring, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, and Rob Zombie (who also did the album cover artwork).
Punk bands such as Screeching Weasel, the Vindictives, the Queers, Parasites, the Mr. T Experience, Boris the Sprinkler, Beatnik Termites, Tip Toppers, Jon Cougar Concentration Camp, McRackins, and Kobanes have recorded cover versions of entire Ramones albums—Ramones, Leave Home, Rocket to Russia, It's Alive, Road to Ruin, End of the Century, Pleasant Dreams, Subterranean Jungle, two versions of Too Tough to Die, and Halfway To Sanity respectively. The Huntingtons' File Under Ramones consists of Ramones covers from across the band's history.
Shonen Knife, an all-woman trio band from Osaka, Japan, was formed in 1982 as a direct result of founder-lead singer-guitarist Naoko Yamano's instant infatuation with the music of the Ramones. In 2012, to observe the band's 30th anniversary, Shonen Knife released Osaka Ramones, which featured thirteen Ramones songs covered by the band.Savage (1992), p. 553. Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Ramones: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Cite error: The named reference TP was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference St62 was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Wolk, Douglas (18 April 2001). "I Wanna Be Joey". Slate. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Quoted in Strongman (2008), p. 111. Robb (2006), p. 198. See also p. 201 for a similar report. Colegrave and Sullivan (2005), p. 234. Grohl, Dave (December 1981). "Punk Fiction". Foo Archive/Radio 1. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Sinclair, Mick (December 1981). "Black Flag". Sounds. Mick Sinclair Archives. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Bayles (1996), p. 314. "ministry IE". Condor.depaul.edu. Retrieved 2014-07-13. Appleford, Steve (October 6, 2005). "Mike Ness". LA CityBeat. Archived from the original on 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2012-02-22. Lyxzén, Dennis (June 2004). "Bad Religion's Brett Gurewitz Exclusively Interviewed by (International) Noise Conspiracy's Dennis Lyxzén: Back To The Beginning". Exclaim. Retrieved 2009-11-05. "Descendents F.A.Q.". DescendentsOnline.com [official band site]. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Rashidi, Waleed (2002). "Descendents". Mean Street. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Cite error: The named reference LW was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Keithley (2004), pp. 30, 63; Mercer, Laurie. "Tom Holliston Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Spicer (2003), p. 349. McNett, Gavin. "Teenage Kicks". Salon. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Rockingham, Graham (April 22, 2008). "Teenage Head: Still Some Kinda Fun". Hamilton Spectator. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Spitz and Mullen (2001), p. 82. Strongman (2008), p. 213. Barry, John (15 October 2008). "I Against I". Baltimore City Paper. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Spano, Charles. "Overview: The Riverdales". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-06. Moss, Corey (17 April 2001). "Peers Praise Joey Ramone, The Man And The Musician". MTV. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Young, Charles M. (16 September 2004). "Johnny's Last Stand". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-05-03. Retrieved 2012-02-22. Myers, Sarah L. (14 May 2007). "The Head Cat: Lemmy interview". Thirsty. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Keene, Jarret (29 November 2007). "Candy Man". Tucson Weekly. Retrieved 2009-11-05. Kerr, Dave. (May 2006). "Explore and Not Explode". The Skinny. Retrieved 2007-09-03. Roach (2003), pp. 60–63. Henderson, Alex. "Overview: Gabba Gabba Hey: A Tribute to the Ramones". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-06. Prindle, Mark (April 2009). "One Two Three Faux!: A Tribute to Tributes to the Ramones". Spin. p. 63. Retrieved 2012-02-11. Torreano, Bradley. "Overview: We're a Happy Family: A Tribute to Ramones". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-06. "Kobanes - Halfway To Sanity @ Interpunk.com - The Ultimate Punk Music Store". Interpunk.com. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2014-04-19. Huey, Steve. "Overview: File Under Ramones". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-11-06. Anderson, Rick. "Osaka Ramones: Tribute to the Ramones - Shonen Knife | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. AllRovi. Retrieved 2013-01-10.