Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Ramones: Blitzkrieg Pop?

The other day I made a pit stop at a bar I don't regularly visit to get a couple of pints on the fly when, just as my first oat soda was served, a commercial flashed across the wall of TVs behind the bar. It featured slam-dancing soda pop cans who were partial to the classic Ramones tune "Blitzkreig Bop." I thought: "somewhere, some kid is thinking that this is a jingle written specifically for this crappy airspace." I looked around and wondered if anybody else felt as used by Madison Avenue hacks but as I looked around, nary an eyebrow raised which quantifies my belief that one should pick his watering hole and stick to it because you never know...Below is a little bit that might've gotten lost. Sometimes you gotta beat on the brats with a baseball bat. Oh yeah...oh yeah...oh-oh-oh, yeah!... Laters...

-- Ramones Timeline --

1975>> The Ramones are one of the first punk bands signed on the budding New York City scene.

1976>> The Ramones record and release their debut album, Ramones, which yields such cult classics as “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Beat On The Brat,” and “Judy Is A Punk.” Later in the year they release the album Leave Home. It’s a bona fide hit in the U.K., leading to a tour of the isle.

1977>> After placing in the U.K. Top 40 with “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker,” the Ramones release the album Rocket To Russia.

1978>> Drummer Tommy Ramone quits the band to go behind the scenes and produce as T. Erdelyi, and Marc Bell of the Voidoids becomes Marky Ramone. The Ramones release the classic Road To Ruin, which is helmed by Erdelyi.

1979>> The Ramones release It’s Alive, a live show album, and later the group performs the title soundtrack and have guest roles in Harvey Corman’s youth-oriented parody Rock ’N’ Roll High School. In their never-ending quest for commercial success, the Ramones also release an album named after the movie.

1980>> The Ramones had begun working with legendary producer Phil Spector on Rock ’N’ Roll High School and continued to do so on the following album, End Of The Century. The public response is mixed—the album charts at #44—and the group goes on a rigorous tour.

1983>> The band goes on a sabbatical after years of constant world touring.

1984>> The Ramones return to the scene with a new drummer, Richie Ramone, and release Too Tough To Die, which is produced by T. Erdelyi.

1987>> After releasing Halfway To Sanity, Richie Ramone leaves the band and is replaced by Marky Ramone (who had quit in 1983).

1989>> The group releases the single “Pet Semetary,” which is used in the film rendition of the popular novel by Stephen King and included on the album Brain Drain. Dee Dee Ramone, the most hardcore of the punk rock band, quits and is replaced by bassist C.J. Ramone.

1992>> After Joey and Marky get treatment for alcohol addiction, Loco Live is recorded and released and immediately after comes Mondo Bizarro—both are commercial failures.

1994>> Releasing the all-cover album Acid Eaters and Adios Amigos in the same year, the Ramones declare that if the latter fails commercially, in the wake of the success of acts like Green Day, they will disband after a farewell tour. Adios Amigos charts for only two weeks.

1995>> The Ramones go on a farewell tour for most of the year and are prepared to disband at its end when they are asked to perform at the sixth-annual Lollapalooza.

1996>> The pioneers of punk rock call it quits after 20 years of performing.

2001>> Jeffrey “Joey Ramone” Hyman dies due to lymphoma complications in New York.

-- Mo' Ramones Facts --

-The first incarnation of the Ramones (Joey, Dee Dee, Tommy) began to play in New York clubs in 1974. The group's “uniform” of torn jeans and leather motorcycle jackets started as an homage to the greasers (punks) of the ’50s.

-After playing at the Performance Studio in Manhattan, the Ramones developed a loyal following that won them house-band status at CBGB’s, which was New York’s premiere live-band club at the time.

-While the New York City punk scene began taking root, there were many popular bands like Patti Smith and Talking Heads who took a more cerebral approach to the genre.

-The Ramones created their sound by taking the pre-Beatles ’60s sound of rock ’n’ roll ( the chord structures that were the standard pop fare), trimming it down to the bare minimum of chords, and using extremely simple progressions and inane lyric content. Strangely, it seemed “revolutionary” in the context of the disco age. It’s plausible that the novice musicians were hiding their lack of skill (at the time) behind simple structure, a noteworthy feat nonetheless..

-The Ramones recorded their debut album with vocals on one side of the mix and the instrumentation on the other side, like the Beatles did.

-When the Ramones visited England in ’76, they played a show at The Roundhouse in London, performing for then-unheard of punk rock royalty in the audience like Siouxsie Sioux, members of the Clash, and the Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols quickly rose to fame with a violent take on the genre and just as quickly self-destructed and faded off the punk radar.

-The album Too Tough To Die was produced by former Ramone T. Erdelyi and Ed Stasium.

-Animal Boy, which was released in 1983, won the group a best album award in 1987 at the New York Music Awards.

-Bassist C.J. Ramone came out of the U.S. Armed Forces, heard from a friend that the Ramones were looking to replace Dee Dee, and promptly went to audition (he had three hours to find the band after he found out). He auditioned a couple of times and got the gig.

-The 1985 album Bonzo Goes To Bitburg was a conceptual spoof of President Reagan’s visit to Germany.

-In spite of a poor reception domestically, the Ramones’ cover of “Baby I Love You,” produced by Phil Spector, was a Top 10 hit in the U.K.

-Peaking at #44, End Of The Century did better than any other album of the Ramones career.

Albums by Year - Title - Label

1976 - Ramones - Sire
1977 - The Ramones Leave Home - Sire
1977 - Rocket To Russia - Sire
1978 - Road To Ruin - Sire
1978 - It’s Alive - Sire
1980 - End Of The Century - Sire
1981 - Pleasant Dreams - Sire
1981 - Rock ’N’ Roll High School - Sire
1983 - Subterranean Jungle - Sire
1985 - Too Tough To Die - Sire
1986 - Animal Boy - Sire
1987 - Halfway To Sanity - Sire
1989 - Brain Drain - Sire
1990 - Pet Semetary - Sire
1991 - Loco Live - Sire
1992 - Mondo Bizarro - Radioactive
1993 - Acid Eaters - Radioactive
1994 - It’s Alive (Import) - European Import
1995 - Adios Amigos - Radioactive
1996 - Greatest Hits Live - MCA
1997 - We’re Outta Here! (Live) - Radioactive

Compilatinos by Year - Title - Label

1979 - L.A. And Aberdeen - Dragonfly
1979 - High School Confidential - Sire
1988 - Ramones Mania - Sire
1990 - All The Stuff & More, Vol. 1 - Sire
1990 - End Of The Decade - Beggars
1990 - All The Stuff & More, Vol. 2 - Sire
1999 - Hey! Ho! Let’s Go: The Anthology - Rhino
2000 - Ramones Mania - EMI
2000 - Life Goes On - Sire

"Blitzkrieg Bop"
Hey Ho!Lets Go!Hey Ho! Lets Go!
Hey Ho! Lets Go!Hey Ho! Lets Go!
You're fallin' in a straight line.
You're going through a tight wind.
The kids are losing their minds.
The Blitzkrieg Bop!
We're piling in the back seat.
We're generating steam heat.
Pulsing to the backbeat.
Blitzkrieg Bop!
Shoot'em in the back now.
What they want, I don't know.
They're all reved up and ready to go.
They're forming in a straight line.
They're going through a tight wind.
The kids are losing their minds.
The Blitzkrieg Bop!
They're piling in the back seat.
They're generating steam heat.
Pulsating to the back beat.
The Blitzkrieg Bop!
Hey ho, let's go.Shoot'em in the back now.
What they want, I don't know.
They're all reved up and ready to go.
Hey Ho! Lets Go!Hey Ho! Lets Go!
Hey Ho! Lets Go!Hey Ho! Lets Go!


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