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The year 1996 marked a low point for many fans. It was a year in which a punk stage legend said goodbye. It was successful band Ramones who made the announcement, leaving the punk world in disarray. The four guys from Queens sang and screamed for over 22 years, whether it be their never- ending guitar solos, their cheesy vocals or their hatred for glam rock.
John Cummings (Johnny), Jeffrey Hyman (Joey), Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee) and Tom Erdelyi (Tommy) were anything but bourgeois and conformist. They spent their days lounging around, smoking weed, drinking and listening to discs from Stooges, Beatles and New York Dolls. One day, they stumbled upon the idea of forming a band that would be a middle finger up to all decorum, with simple songs of around 2 minutes in average length that would become art.
Since none of them mastered an instrument, they had to ask themselves who would take on which part, and so Joey was first on drums before switching to vocals. Tommy replaced him on drums, with Johnny on guitar and Dee Dee on bass. Dee Dee became famous mainly for his "One, two, three, four" before every performance, which counted in the beat and never failed! Anything other than the 4/4 beat was simply unheard of from the boys.
What made these musicians so authentic?
You couldn't expect to hear any words of wisdom or encrypted messages in their lyrics as they preferred to write music about dirty everyday life in Queens and other parts of New York. From the start, the band was understood by all those who spent their lives watching B movies and eating fast food, and there were quite a lot of people like that, not just in Queens or New York, but also in London, Paris and Berlin. Those people thought the boys from Queens to be the world's best song writers with the most authentic music and the hottest streetwear style out there (even though this consisted of black leather jackets and jeans, which was always worn by at least half of the band members).
Their songs quickly found success in CBGB, the best-known venue in the American punk scene. With their brimming enthusiasm and with a lot of persuasion, they managed to convince the club's owner to allow them to be a resident band. It certainly paid off for CBGB. Larger and larger audiences flooded into the club and New York celebrities flocked to the club to dance, headbang and stamp their feet, including artists like Talking Heads, Blondie and Television.
What does Ramones represent?
The story of the Ramones is actually what made Ian Dury a hit: sex, drugs and rock and roll. Their albums include "Road to Ruin" (1978), "Too Tough To Die" (1984) and "Loco Live" (1991). Even though their music was successful, there was no "massive hit" that made them millionaires, but what's the use in being one anyway? What would they have done with all that money? Sex, drugs and rock and roll, that's our guess.
These musicians are simply cult legends, heroes of the world's urban jungles, dirty pavements and parked up rusty old cars. But their fans also include prominent figures, like horror god Stephen King, whose love for the band was so strong that he asked the boys to compose the soundtrack to his horror film "Pet Sematary". Hits don't turn bands into national treasures, it all comes from their authenticity, honesty, cheekiness and rebelliousness.
Ramones on the EMP Online Shop
"Hey! Ho! Let's go!" - remember these lyrics from "Blitzkrieg Bop"? Well, follow them carefully and head on down to the EMP Shop! There are Ramones albums and Ramones merchandise as far as the eye can see, so come discover what's on offer. Top tip: why not give albums, clothes or jewellery as a gift? Welcome to New York's shabbiest streets!
Ramones albums on EMP
Whether or not you're a fan, you're sure to know some Ramones songs, a band that's been around for more than 40 years. You'll find the vast majority of their albums on EMP's Online Shop, available on CD and vinyl as live and studio recordings.
Ramones merch on EMP
Get it all with EMP: Ramones t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, tops, hoodies and college jackets. Yes, all of these items are of superb quality - but they're also so clearly and strikingly printed that they're real head turners!
To top it all off, we've got jewellery, hats, shot glasses and mugs (perfect for even the darkest coffee New York subculture can get you). That's not all! Take a look for yourself - there's really something for every Ramones fan.
Fancy some more great music? Take a look at Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers or Green Day.