Besides "I Wanna Be Sedated" And "Blitzkrieg Bop"
It was ten years ago today that the world lost their first Ramone, when Joey Ramone succumbed to lymphoma in New York City at the age of 49, one month shy of turning 50.
The iconic punk frontman would lead the Ramones in death as he did in life, with Dee Dee Ramone overdosing in 2002, and the band's resident agitator, Johnny Ramone, losing his valiant fight with prostate cancer in 2004.
Everything about the Ramones - the music, the lyrics, the uniform, the hair, Arturo Vega's art direction - makes the band timeless. They aren't just for punk rockers; they never have been. They are for the losers, the winners, the outcasts, the ugly, the pretty, and especially the insane.
Shock treatment, anyone?
Joey Ramone was an everyman, even though his appearance, that towering mass of hair, sunglasses, and torn leather and denim, was anything but normal. The band's lines, the love-sick kiss-offs and the nerd braggadocio made them mean more to punks than the Beatles or the Stones meant to the previous generation before.
Joey could be tender, like on "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and "Danny Says," or he could be ferocious and unsettling, as he was on Dee Dee's rent-boy saga "53rd & 3rd."
Rocks Off found out that Joey passed away during an afternoon shift at Kroger in our senior year in high school. We and the other punks we worked with going outside and taking an extra long smoking break, talking about our favorite songs and albums. In our time, it was the first major punk icon to die. Little did we know that we would also lose the Clash's Joe Strummer a year and a half later.
It was when we all first realized that these punk heroes, at least the ones that weren't sad drug-addicted trainwrecks, were mere mortals like we feared. One day we will lose Johnny Rotten. One day we will write an obit for Iggy Pop. It was a heavy thing to realize a month before adult life was supposed to begin.
The late members of the band never got to see their band enter the greater pop culture bubble. You can hear them on the radio next to Wilco, David Bowie, or Papa Roach on a good day here in Houston. You can see a baby wearing a Ramones onesie. An Escalade with a Ramones sticker on it once cut off Rocks Off on Highway 59 .
"I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Blitzkrieg Bop" get all the love when it comes to the Ramones. They are up their with "Paint It Black" and "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," at least in our eyes. But what songs are the great unwashed washed missing out on?
Well, we made a playlist for ya.
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