The Ramones were a hugely influential punk rock band formed in New York in March 1974. They led the New York punk movement and are often credited with forming the musical foundation of punk (see protopunk).
The original band members all adopted Ramone as a surname although they were not actually brothers:
The Ramones pioneered a back-to-basics sound that avoided complicated progressive rock and the bloated, meandering guitar solos that 1970s rock music had become known for. It heralded a raw, loud, fast and direct sound often reminicent of 1950s-early 1960s rock and roll or bubblegum pop. Joey Ramone has stated the Ramones were rather taken with the Bay City Rollers' hit song "Saturday Night," and set out to imitate its catchy, sing-a-long quality.
The Ramones started with Joey Ramone on drums, Johnny Ramone on guitar and Dee Dee Ramone on bass and vocals. Tommy Ramone was then an employee of the studio, and after several times helping Joey to get some beats straight, he ended up joining the band, while Joey took over the lead vocals.
Their early songs were very fast and very short, most clocked in at about two minutes.
Other bands from this period include the New York Dolls, Tom Verlaine's Television, Blondie, Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Patti Smith Band, Suicide, and the Talking Heads. These bands formed a very interesting musical scene of creative people who played very different styles of music that later were called punk rock, perhaps due in part to a fanzine called Punk Magazine.
Ramones concerts at CBGB's became legendary, due in part to their brevity: Most concerts were twenty to thirty minutes long, much shorter than their contemporaries', and are often described by their witnesses as extremely fast, crude, energetic and desperate. There are some super8 movies of these shows, present in a couple of the band's videos.
They appeared at the Roundhouse in London, England, on July 4, 1976, second billed to the Beatles-esque Flamin' Groovies. Their appearance galvanized the UK punk rock scene, inspiring future punk stars including members of The Clash and The Sex Pistols. Another Ramones gig in England became their first live album, It's Alive, considered by most critics one of the best live albums ever.
After two years on the road and the Top 50 hit album Rocket to Russia, an exhausted Tommy Ramone was replaced on drums by Marc Bell, who became Marky Ramone. Tommy left the band to go back to his studio work, which he preferred to the hard life of touring. Tommy worked with Marky to ensure that his drumming was appropriate for the Ramones style; he also produced the Ramones fourth studio album Road to Ruin and their eighth Too Tough To Die. It was the lineup with Marky which played a central role in the 1979 film Rock 'n' Roll High School, a film that Roger Corman originally called Disco High until writer/director Allan Arkush heard the Ramones.
Marky Ramone was eventually replaced by Richard Beau (under the name Richie Ramone) and then by Clem Burke (a.k.a. Elvis Ramone from Blondie. Burke lasted two weeks in the band before Marky came back in 1990.
Dee Dee Ramone left after 1989's Brain Drain, and was replaced by Christopher John Ward (C.J. Ramone), a Ramones fan that gave a younger rock feeling to the Ramones' work.
After a spot in the 1996 Lollapalooza festival, The Ramones disbanded, reportedly due to ongoing personality clashes and frustration at not achieving success commensurate with their influence. Joey and Johnny didn't speak to each other for years. Joey was also reported to have drug problems.
The Ramones have proven hugely influential, mostly on later musicians, but in other fields as well: In 1997 four species of trilobites were named after members of the band: Mackenziurus johnnyi, Mackenziurus joeyi, Mackenziurus deedeei, and Mackenziurus ceejayi.
While the origins of punk rock are the subject of debate, The Ramones are widely credited with popularizing the form. Several people often state that, when they first heard the Ramones, they felt that they could do the same, deciding to play instruments and form their own groups.
Some bands are so taken by The Ramones as a whole that a subgenre dubbed "Ramones-punk" has appeared. These bands often dress up like the Ramones, and play instruments like theirs. The music is generally a little faster and heavier on the guitars with (often) tongue in cheek lyrics about girls and similar fare. Notable bands include Screeching Weasel and The Queers, both of whom recorded entire Ramones cover albums.
Longtime Ramones fan Henry Rollins appeared at a Ramones Thirtieth Anniversary Tribute concert September 12, 2004. The event was at Los Angeles' Avalon and hosted by Rob Zombie. The performers demonstrate the breadth of the Ramones' influence: "The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Dickies and X played great sets and then CJ Ramone, Marky Ramone and long time producer Daniel Ray took the stage and played while different guitar and vocal teams came out and did Ramones songs. Tim Armstrong, Danny Bosstone, Brett Bad Religion, Eddie Vedder--everybody sang and played great. I went onstage with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and we did Judy is a Punk, Commando and Blitzkrieg Bop."  (http://21361.com/site_2004/henry.html)
Other References, Influence or Tributes
Lemmy Kilmister wrote a song called R.A.M.O.N.E.S..
When Joey died, The Misfits took their website off the air and replaced it with a picture of Joey.
In the next day, Bono Vox made a speech about Joey and the Ramones.
Jello Biafra has a track called Joey Ramone on one of his spoken word albums.
William Shatner mentions Joey Ramone on a song.
Ramones fans often try to look like their idols. The uniform often consists of a Perfecto leather jacket, ripped jeans, and Converse sneakers.
Swedish band Roxette included a tall thin puppet with long black hair, Perfecto leather jacket and red sunglasses in one of their video clips. By the end of the video, the puppet name is revealed as being "Joey".
Animation TV show Oggy and the Cockroaches featured a trio of cockroaches called "Joey", "Marky" and "Dee Dee".
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