on June 6, 2004
Gentlemen (chuckle), we can rebuild the seventies. We can make the world's first Junk Rock Record. The RAMONES will be that record! It will bet better than it was before: simpler, LOUDER, FASTER. We will use Marshall amps and turn it up to 11. We will abandon guitar solos and over the top jamming, as well as replacing every drum solo and fill with screwed up 4/4 signatures and cymbal crashes. We will boil syrupy 70's schmaltz ballads in the battery acid of our amplifiers and make the record sound like the whole decade is being ground up in a garbage disposal. We will pay tounge-in-your-girlfriend's- cheek homage to horror movies (Chainsaw), child abuse (Beat on the Brat), drug abuse (I Wanna Sniff Some Glue), political abuse (Havana Affair), dope fiend street hustlers (53rd and 3rd), romance (I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend), and the inevitable bust ups (Loudmouth). We will also bookend this plate of punk with the ultimate gameplan (Today Your Love, Tommorow The World), and the epitome of glorious calls to trashing good fun in Blitzkrieg Bop. We will crush everything the 70's has smeared on us or we will scare the record buyer right out of the friggin store..oops, we scared the friggin record buyers right out of the store and developed a rabid cult following instead. Oh well, who needs those pinheads anyway! Count it Dee Dee! "1234." Belt it out in your best Mersey-meets-Queens accent Joey, "Hey ho! Let's go!"
on April 19, 2004
This is an absolutely amazing album. Originally clocking in at under thirty minutes with fourteen tracks, it started an era that still holds true today. "Blitzkrieg Bop" truely was the shot heard 'round the world. And "Beat On The Brat", their ode to rich mothers' children, keeps the album rocking all the way through. "Judy Is A Punk" is based off of two Ramones fans, Jackie and Judy, who were always seeming to get into trouble. The Ramones would later do a less successful sequel to the song on the Phil Spector-produced "End Of The Century". Speaking of Spector, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" sounds something right out of the early sixties. It's excellent. The entire album is fantastic, and defines true punk.
Okay, to clear something up. Some people are saying that the Ramones are more pop-punk, and that they did not actually start the era, but artists like The Stooges, New York Dolls, the Velvet Underground, T. Rex, and MC5 did. This is both true and false. Those five artists may have helped start an all-new sound, but the Ramones were more influenced by the likes of the Beach Boys and The Beatles than any of those three. They wanted to play music that was unlike anything else at the time, becasue like many others they were dissatisfied with the current pompous and exaggerated music. When this album was released in 1976, it sparked hundreds of other bands, calling themselves "Punk". The Ramones were the first band to truely be a punk-rock band. Once that was established, The Stooges and those bands becames known as Pre-Punk.
Buy this album.
on February 25, 2004
... the words that inspired a revolution. Yeah, I know that phrase has been repeated so many times it would be stale to title a review with, but it's such a perfect way to summerize the Ramones. They were so full of energy, so powerful and vibrant in everything they did, and this record represents that perfectly. They never let up, from the opening attack of "Blitzkreig Bop" to the energetic closing bars of "Today your love, Tomorrow the world."
The record sounds more like a best of collection, with classics like "Judy is a punk" and the blatantly titled "Now I wanna sniff some glue." (That is probably the greatest song title ever, next to NOFX's "I Live In a Cake").
But don't take my word for it. These guys have been showered in praise all over the musical world, and I'm just one more bleating voice in the endless flock that eternally screams the greatness of the Ramones. But I'll tell you, the flock is right. The Ramones simply rock.
on February 6, 2004
The Ramones were a fun pop/rock band (like ? & Mysterians, Tommy James & Shondells, Troggs, the Seeds, Paul Revere & Raiders) who never had a hit record, and were seldom heard on the radio (unlike ? & Mysterians, Tommy James & Shondells, Troggs, the Seeds, Paul Revere & Raiders.) Sure, they were a bit louder (they came 10 years after the other mentioned bands, when amps went up to 11) and had the cool matching punk look of haircuts and black leather jackets (Iggy Pop called it the muppet look.) But really, "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" or "Judy is a Punk" are nice tunes, I'll admit. But so was "96 Tears" by ? & Mysterians; "Hanky Panky" by Tommy James & Shondells; "Wild Thing" by Troggs; "Pushin' Too Hard" by the Seeds; and "Just Like Me" and "Kicks" by Paul Revere & Raiders. So what exactly makes the Ramones a legendary punk band, and those other groups just forgotten footnotes? To mention the Ramones in the same sentence as the Beatles, Stones or Who (as many of their die-hard fans do) is ridiculous. I'd rather mention them in the same sentence as the Bay City Rollers (who Johnny Ramone admitted they wanted to be), Paul Revere & Raiders, and ? & Mysterians. Wish there were some honest reviews of this band. I liked their first album, used to play it a lot. But the Ramones never should have been elected to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame before bands like Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, or Deep Purple. I've had my say.
on January 21, 2004
This 26-minute exercise in manic beats, furious guitar propulsion and brilliant vocals struck a chord (if you will) upon its 1976 release, and would go on to influence many different genres of many different artists. As the wonderful liner notes say, this album was borne out of alienation from the rock scene of the time: wankerous guitar solos, style over substance, all show no go. Tommy, Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee paid $6,000 dollars to record this album and go down in rock history. If you have not heard this album before, you are missing out: every song is a perfect snapshot of teenage alienation and rebellion, and are infinitely entertaining. Joey's vocals in particular stand out thanks to his ridiculous faux-British accent and intonations. Listen to "Havana Affair" for further proof (I used to make a living man, picking the banana). With this expanded edition of additional tracks and demos, you really get an idea of how this modern masterpiece came together, and is an indispensable addition to any self-respecting CD collection. Hey ho, let's go!
on September 2, 2003
The debut Ramones album reigns as my personal favorite, although all their other 70s recordings come in a close 2nd place. No doubt it's an "apples & oranges" call amongst any Ramones fans, but if this aging music fanboy were to try and introduce the Ramones legacy to some Blink182'd youngsters who never heard of these legends before their time, this is definitely the album I would point them toward. The music is raw yet catchy, and in my uneducated opinion best embodies The Ramones desire to play fun, energetic rock & roll with lyrics that carry no overbearing messages.
These songs have the innocent beat of early rock, but coarse, edgy and fun lyrics that were shocking for 1976. My personal favorite come from "Havana Affair," "PT Boat On the Way To Havana/I Used to make my living, man,pickin' the bananas!" with a close 2nd place favorite being from "Judy Is a Punk:" "They both went down to Frisco/Joined the SLA/ Ohh I don't know why/Ohh I don't know why/Perhaps they'll die!" Any group who can take a tagline from the folk novelty "There Was an Old Lady" and modernize it into something all their own is A-OK by me! Dig into these songs, this album is solid from beginning to end.
The bonus tracks are plenty of fun for avid Ramones fans like me, but I'm not certain they 'll offer much for those who are just getting familiar with the group.
What do studied and accomplished musicians think of The Ramones? It doesn't matter; really, it doesn't. The Ramones made music that was fun, and you'd catch it in your head faster than a winter cold. Their music is the ultimate audio-adrenaline rush, and no matter your age or status,I highly recommend this particular CD in the morning along with a serious cup of coffee.....BLAST OFF! HEY-HO! LET'S GO!
on July 5, 2003
Besides being one of the best, this is also one of the most important rock records of all time. Without the Ramones, there'd be no Green Day, Blink 182, Used, Thursday, or Pennywise (just to name a few). The Ramones invented punk rock. Period. The Stooges, the MC5, and the Velvet Underground were just paving the way for punk's birth. This was the first punk record, released in 1976.
All of the songs on this record take catchiness, speed, and fun to the EXTREME. This album truly stands the test of time and is always an entertaining listen. All of the songs have literally irresistable hooks and will have you singing along before you can say "Hey! Ho! Let's go!" There is not one dull track on the entire album. Besides being insanely catchy, the songs are (unintentionally?) hilarious. Who else could include lines like "I used to make a livin', mon, pickin' the banana/Hooray, for Havana!" into songs besides the Ramones? On the other side of the spectrum, songs like "Listen to my heart" and "I wanna be your boyfriend" have genuine emotion behind them, something lacking from practically all bands of today. All these factors are part of their genious. Many people dismiss them as dumb, untalented, or bubblegum pop, but the Ramones knew this and made it into a winning formula.
If you're a punk fan, this had BETTER already be in your collection (if not, go buy it now and spare yourself the humiliation), or if you're simply a rock fan who's never heard of "da bruddahs", give them a shot. I guarantee you won't regret it.
If you're looking for a good time, I give this album my highest recommendation.
on March 3, 2003
The Ramones were to Punk what Birds is to instant custard.
Quite a high Accolade eh? With the passing away of Joey Ramone a few months ago came the end of the 25 year Ramones story. But while there is tones I could write about the ramones and the influence of them it is of no consiquence to this Opinion - an opinion on the 2 CD Anthology that came out last year.
THE GENERAL INFO
The Anthology has 32 songs on CD1 and 25 on CD 2. If you like rock/pop /newwave /rock n roll or punk you will like this.
It covers the full Recording history of the Ramones, all the top hits and memorable tracks.
What is good is how the Sleave notes give us the album and session info for each track - for example :-
'Cretin Hop' from Rocket to Russia, Produced by Tony Bongiovi & T. Erdelyi with the Enginneer Ed Stasium.
We also have a nice touch in the addition of miniatures of the Album covers within the CD Case too - so we can see what the cover to 'Pleasant Dreams' or 'Mondo Bizarro' looked like.
There are some nice photos within the booklet for those who are interested in seeing the visual might of the scrawny denim dervishes (You weirdo's).
Of the two CD's Number one is the 100% Hit, whilst to me CD two is not as good by a long shot. If the Anthology was only CD 1 it would still be more than worth it.
When you listen to this album you cant help but see echoes in the work by more recent bands. Here is an example - Listen to 'Pinhead' song 14. Now listen to er.. either 'We're not supposed' to or 'strange ones' (Long time no hear!) from Supergrass'es 'I Should Coco'. THe fade out from Pin head seems to be used as insperation.
Its Sheer Bliss. Of the first CD I would say only 4 tracks are not Classics. On the second Cd however I find it easy to be picky - 'Ther KKK took my baby away', 'We want the airwaves' and 'somebody put something in my drink' are my prefered tracks I feel the rest is a bit, well 80's US rock really. But You may like them as well.
Buy it, you will like it. Or get it from your local Libarary...
Blitzkreig Bop, I wanna be your Boyfriend, 53rd and 3rd, Now I wanna Sniff Some Glue, Gimmie Gimmie shock treatment, I remember you, California Sun, Swallow my Pride, Pinhead, Here today, gone tomorrow, Surfin Bird, I Dont care, I wanna be sedated, Needles and pins, I want you around and Baby I love you, are as small a top track selection I can make.
How can you not like this if you have ears? Even if you dont have ears you want it for the song titles.
There is not a single mumbling psuedo-angst diatribe in the whole Anthology.
on March 2, 2003
I laugh at people who inform me that the Sex Pistols were "the first true punk band." They need to brush up on their history--without the Ramones in 1976 there would be no Sex Pistols, no Clash, and hell, no punk rock genre. Without the Ramones we would all still be listening to Yes and ELP. The Ramones began the revolution, and still outstrip most of their peers (including the aforementioned Sex Pistols).
These guys, though hardly possessing any knowledge of how to use their instruments, were the epitome of cool. With loud fast power chords from Johnny, lots of attitude, and seemingly goofball (actually ingenious) lyrics penned by Joey, the 1976 debut's songs rip off the starting line with Dee Dee's "1-2-3-4!" and end with a bang. 14 songs rip by in 26 minutes, and the rush never gets old. Who can't get Blitzkrieg Bop, Judy Is A Punk, and Beat On The Brat out of their heads?
The Ramones were both revitalists and innovators, taking the riffs and back-to-basics rock of Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran, adding the humor and subversiveness of early Who recordings, and then playing the mix at hyperdrive. Nobody ever played rock like this before. Music execs at the time were baffled and radio stations wouldn't give them a lick of airplay. But a fanatical cadre of fans, along with critics who "got" it, turned these boys from NYC into stars.
You can't call yourself a "punk" until you possess a Ramones recording. In fact, if you don't love the Ramones you should write off rock music altogether and take up knitting. To call their debut "influential" would be like calling WWII a "police action." Buy your copy, and don't forget to check out the Damned's debut and The Clash's first album.
on January 7, 2003
They were so stupid they were brilliant. Their songs were so short they were mini-symphonies. The formula was so obvious it took four drug-addled kids who could barely hold their instruments, much less play them, from a suburb of New York City to discover it... and once they discovered it, the world of music would never be the same. The Ramones--Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy--were the least likeliest of geniuses, and that is what made them great.
The Ramones were the troublemakers at the pearly gates of rock'n'roll, and when no one was looking, busted the party wide open way back Bicentennial 1976. Trampling over the bloated likes of the Eagles, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd, the Ramones paved the way for a whole rowdy slew of malcontents. All the upstarts, the dreamers, the misfits, the outcasts, the loners who didn't quite have the courage to begin before then suddenly found the Ramones holding the freak flag high: "Hey-ho, let's GO!" and it was all up for grabs...
I'm not going to get into the old argument about who the first punk band was. That's not really what this review is about. But this is definitely an album that every punk rocker owned back in the day when there were about three punk rock albums ever, so think about that!
You know the drill: songs under three minutes, most not reaching two-and-a-half, three buzz-saw guitar chords, a nasally, Brooklyn-by-way-of-the-UK singer, and the cute/dumb cartoon lyrics:
Beat on the brat
Beat on the brat
Beat on the brat
with a baseball bat
What can you do?
What can you lose?
This debut album, produced in 1976 for $6000 in a studio inside Radio City Music Hall, is barely 26 minutes long. It had no hit singles. It contains uncomfortable Nazi references, a song about sniffing glue, a song about male prostitution, a Sixties cover, one romantic tune, and no solos. In short, my recipe for a perfect album.
"Blitzkrieg Bop" opens the album, and if ever there was a more perfect Song One, Side One, then I don't know it. This is what the Ramones always would be about: a glorious, blissfully infectious tune celebrating the sheer unstoppable joy of rock'n'roll. To wit:
They're formin' in a straight line
They're goin' through a tight wind
The kids are losin' their minds
The Blitzkrieg Bop!
They're pilin' in the back seat
They're generatin' steam heat
Pulsatin' to the backbeat
The Blitzkrieg Bop!
Hey, Ho, ah let's go
Shoot 'em in the back now
What they want I don't know
They're all revved up and ready to go!
A dozen classics, hot on the heels of this one, follow in breathless, breakneck speed, slowing down only so Dee Dee can count off one more time: "1-2-3-4!" The minute-and-a-half "Judy is a Punk" introduces the type of characters that will populate Ramones' songs for the next two decades. Tough, nutty, mental cases whose sole allegiance is to, well, the Ramones. Count me in!
"53rd and 3rd" has claimed its place as one of the Ramones finest songs. Its downbeat, mid-tempo grind is refreshing after the previous on-slaught, and its realistic lyrics are an unexpected, um, treat. It's a street's-eye view of degradation without exploitation or moralizing.
53rd and 3rd--Standing on the street
53rd and 3rd--You're the one they never pick
53rd and 3rd--Don't it make ya feel sick?
Then I pulled out my razor blade
Then I did what God forbade
Now the cops are after me
But I proved that I'm no sissy
Whew. Troubled Dee Dee lived a hair-raising life in pursuit of heroin, but he doesn't glorify it. In fact, besides the hilarious "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," the Ramones refused to do songs about serious drugs. Johnny Thunders they weren't.
The album ends with two blistering powerhouses, "I Don't Wanna Walk Around with You" and "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World." The latter song contains those Nazi references I was talking about:
I'm a Nazi schatze, baby
I fight for the Fatherland
I'm a Nazi baby, I'm a Nazi yes I am
Scandalous! Nothing really to worry about, just shock tactics from the first generation of kids after the war--they had to do something, right?
So, 14 songs in 26 minutes. Before you know it, the whole album is over, but it leaves you exhilirated, inspired, dizzy. Just imagine what it must've been like to hear it in 1976! You're left with only a buzzing in your ears and a desire to figure out just a couple chords on that old guitar you never quite got the hang of. It's all power chords, baby! That's rock'n'roll. I recently listened to this album on vinyl, and it was amazing, pure aural amphetamine.