The Ramones

Punk | 2008

The members of The Ramones joined forces in Forest Hills, Queens, in January 1974. They all adopted “Ramone” as their surname, even though they were not brothers. (The name actually stems from a piece of Beatles trivia—Paul McCartney called himself “Paul Ramon” when he checked into hotels and didn’t want to be noticed.) Johnny (Cummings) served as lead guitarist, Joey (Jeffrey Hyman) was vocalist, and DeeDee (Douglas Colvin) was bassist for the original quartet. Original drummer Tommy (Erdelyi), who played with The Ramones for three-and-a-half years, later became a producer for the group, and in 1978 the band asked Marky (Marc E. Bell) to fill the drum chair. Joey, Johnny, DeeDee, and Marky became the longest-running lineup in the Ramones’ career. Along with bands such as the New York Dolls, Television, Blondie, Patti Smith Group, and Talking Heads, The Ramones were a focal point of the collective punk scene at the club CBGB in New York City. The group was signed by Sire Records in 1975 and released their eponymous debut (at a cost of about $6,000) on April 23, 1976, a date many consider the official beginning of the punk movement. Johnny, Joey, DeeDee and Marky starred in the 1979 Roger Corman film Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and also worked with legendary producer Phil Spector, who produced their 1980 album, End of the Century, which would become the Ramones’ biggest-selling album. In total, the Ramones released 14 studio albums between 1975 and 1995. Today, Marky Ramone is the only band member left, and he continues to tour with his band, Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg.

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