#677: 1976, The Ramones, Blitzkrieg Bop

by George_East on April 24, 2013

Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of the release of the debut eponymous album by The Ramones. A landmark moment in rock history.   It can fairly be said that 23 April 1976 was one of those very few days when music changed.   In the furious 14 tracks which take up less than 30 minutes in total over the two sides of the album, prog rock was handed its death sentence and punk was born.

In that brief half an hour The Ramones made the side long jazz-blues (or is it blues-jazz) numbers, the 15 minute drum solos, the rock operas, the pseudo-intellectual cod Lord of the Rings mystical bullshit that had characterised so much music in the first half of the 70s irrelevant.  Music was stripped back to its pre-1965 essence again.   Simple, direct, singalong, sometimes stupid.  This was rock n roll how it was meant to be – raw, energetic and immediate; not chin-strokey, noodly and self-indulgent.   Music to jump about to.  Music your parents wouldn’t understand.

The Ramones, a bunch of ill-nourished, bad skinned geeks and odd balls.  Beanpole Joey on vocals,  Johnny with his guitar hanging below his knees and the most severe pudding bowl hair cut his Mum could manage, Dee Dee the one who looked a bit like Lou Reed on bass.  The Spinal Tap-like series of drummers, Tommy, Marky, Richie (which tee-shirt do you have?).    They even came from New York’s least fashionable borough, Queens.    It was all of this that made them cool.

The Pistols would be bigger, burn brighter and would make a bigger cultural splash,  but The Ramones were assuredly there first.   The Ramones has a case for being one of the most important albums ever recorded.

And there’s the irony.  The Ramones wanted rock n roll to be disposable and throw away again.  ‘Importance’, ‘artistic achievement’, ‘longevity, was not what they were about.    They weren’t writing for the ages.  But the album and this, the fantastic opener on the album and The Ramones’ debut single have become completely iconic.  The Ramones by The Ramones has been  canonised and  the stuff back then that aspired to be has been rightly largely forgotten.

Hey Ho, Let’s Go.


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