The Ramones

The greatest rock and roll band of all time. Sort of.
* Special introductory paragraph
* Five-Song Demo
* Ramones
* Boston 1976
* Leave Home
* CBGB 2-2-77
* Rocket To Russia
* Birthday Bash
* It's Alive
* NYC 1978
* Road To Ruin
* You Don't Come Close
* End Of The Century
* Raisin' Hell
* Pleasant Dreams
* New Haven Agora Theatre 9/13/81
* The Chinese Wall
* Subterranean Jungle
* Too Tough To Die
* Animal Boy
* Paco Ramone Pour Homme
* Halfway To Sanity
* Trenton City Gardens 8/29/87 (with Clem "Elvis Ramone" Burke on drums!)
* Weaselface
* RamonesMania
* Dallas Arcadia 11/11/88
* Brain Drain
* Summer Of '89
* All The Stuff (And More) Volume One
* All The Stuff (And More) Volume Two
* Loco Live
* Escape From Zagreb
* Mondo Bizarro
* Acid Eaters
* Adios Amigos!
* Greatest Hits Live
* We're Outta Here!
* (Jeff Wilder reviews) Anthology: Hey Ho Let's Go
* The Family Tree
They might have saved my life. I was about to start the 10th grade and I had run out of bands. I had all the Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Yes, Beatles.... What was I gonna buy now? ZZ Top, for criminy's sake? Not on your LIFE! (at least for another 15 years) Luckily, around this time, Rolling Stone magazine put out a special "Best 500 Albums Of The Last 20 Years" issue, and there it was: the Ramones' debut, twelve years old by this point. I was bored and depressed, so I decided to give it a try.

It looked threatening (a picture of four thugs on the street, scowling) and sounded hilarious (according to the magazine, all the songs were really fast and short, with titles like "Beat On The Brat" and "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," of all crazy things!), so I bought it, and wow. It changed my life forever. It was loud, fast, monotonous, hilarious, and so friggin' funny! Suddenly, I realized that there was a whole world of great music out there that I had never heard simply because the radio wouldn't play any of it! And I got into punk, thank god. And throughout all my phases (punk, hardcore, pre-Nevermind grunge, noise), I never lost my taste for the Ramones. Even though they traded punk for bubblegum pop and then for basic hard rock, they remained one of the finest songwriting outfits in the land, at least in my book. And I like my book.

Reader Comments

prog_man2@yahoo.com (Peter Ross)
Mark, I have some bad news for ya. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news. Okay...here we go. Mark...Joey Ramone is no more. He's dead. He died today (Sunday is the day I'm writing this) of unknown circumstances. I think all those years of high speed, uncontrolled punkery finally got to him, and his heart gave out. He was 49 years young. My condolences to ye and all Ramones fans worldwide.

malinsky@bu.edu
r.i.p. joey

dwhitman@kscable.com (Dave Whitman)
Today.. mr. joey ramone died of cancer. i figured it would be a meaningful and commemorative if i wrote this on the day he died pretty wacky eh?

slurmsmckenzie@hotmail.com (Philip Maddox)
I heard today (April 16) about the death of Joey Ramone. It made me very, very sad. I pulled out my Ramones collection and started listening to it, in a tribute of sorts. Anyway, when I got to Road To Ruin and "She's The One" started playing, I swear, a tear came to my eye. Though I never met the man, his music is among my all time favorites, and he'll definately be missed.

Rest in peace, Joey. Gabba gabba hey.

CMyers@winston.com (Curt Myers)
Take it DeeDee. Great songwriter too bad he couldn't stay away from the needle. This sucks.


Five-Song Demo - Bootleg 1975.
Rating = 9

If you can find this, buy the crap out of it! Early versions of five songs that ended up on their debut, it introduces the Ramones as the perfect synthesis of early 60's rock and roll and early 70's heavy metal. The guitar is extremely loud and distorted, but instead of Sabbath sludge, it's playing 90 miles an hour speed rock! Plus, the lyrics range from saccharine ("Sweet little girl / I wanna be your boyfriend") to violent ("You're a loudmouth, baby / You'd better shut it up / I'm gonna beat you up / 'Cause you're a loudmouth, babe!") to just plain weird ("Jackie is a punk / Judy is a runt / They both went down to Berlin, joined the Icecapades / And oh, I don't know why / Oh, I don't know why / Perhaps they'll die!"). Definitely the earliest punk rock on tape, plus it's well-recorded, and it's even got vocal harmonies courtesy Dee Dee! Oh, I still haven't mentioned who Dee Dee is, have I? Read on, monsieur!

Reader Comments

leonard@lyco.lycoming.edu (Brian Leonard)
The New York Dolls' first album (not to mention their demo tape, Lipstick Killers) preceded this tape by two years. If you like The Ramones, you'll love The Dolls...and vice versa, I guess. Me, I love 'em both (except latter-day Ramones, but they're still great live).

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Well, I'll chime in here...chances are, if you like the Ramones, you'll like the Dolls--Aye! But ain't that what's always been cool about New York bands? They're decadent, dangerous, and they'll get your girlfriend pregnant if ya don't watch it... Johnny Thunders and Johnny Ramone are THE influences in punk guitar...New York Dolls...might not have had the glue-sniffers if not for those guys...bless 'em!

Regarding the demo: Wow! These recordings prove that Joey could really sing, and boy are there some influences that got lost in the trip to the first album...Alice Cooper/Iggy vocal mannerisms, and a REAL Meet The Beatles feel on "Judy Is A Punk"...check out Tommy's bashing cymbals straight from Ringo Starr...much better than the first album....the versions of "Basement" and "Loudmouth" rival their counterparts on the first album, and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend"...this is the best version by far...love the Wo-o-oh's before the chorus. They sounded much more confident here than on the first album--Joey especially. Great stuff!

Godranek@aol.com
Hey Leonard, The Stooges' first album preceded the Dolls by four years! That was the true beginning of PUNK. Well, it was actually their RAW POWER in '73 that did it. But anyways..

dcawker@planet.eon.net
Well let me chime in with "FIND THIS!!!" I noticed that the songs are pretty close to the versions on the first album only you can hear Dee Dee's background vocals a lot more clearly and Joey seems pissed off, or something. A little more urgent, which is a GOOD thing. I played it at a party once and people thought that it was better than the versions that they re-recorded, which is hard to believe because the first album is about as close to perfection as we'll probably ever see in rock and roll. Especially liked the demo of "Loudmouth."

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
I have "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and "Judy Is A Punk" and these are both really great demos.

mmoche@lanier.com (Mark Moche)
First, I don't get the hype with the Dolls. They sound like a high school band learning there instruments and a bad version of the Stones. The Ramones are amazing and I would never consider them to be similar or (except for the fact that they were misfits and their social circles overlapped) even in the same league as The Ramones.

The Ramones seem like simpletons, but they're all brilliant. Johnny Ramone is one of the greatest guitar players ever and Dee Dee totally rocks. Plus, he helped me count to 4.

Yes the Stooges should go down as the first real punk band since their first record came out in 1969 and Real Cool Time and Not Right and I wanna be your Dog are all Punk Rock Classics......hey what about the Velvets well they're more arty and their second record had guitar solos so it aint punk.

dafeldman@vassar.edu (Dave Feldman)
Prindle I don't think you were convincing enough...you should have said something along the lines of "Buy the living shit out of it!" This is amazing. Although no major changes were made for the debut, the versions here are still different. Every song is played in a different key than on the album, it's a tad slower (I think), and Joey's singing is much better than on the first album. In some ways I like these versions even better than those on the debut, which happens to be my all-time favorite album. Fave track: "Judy is a Punk". I guess the only problem is that "hiccup" in the beginning of "I don't wanna go down to basement." That's not just my copy, right?

Why weren't these songs included on the remastered album? And does anyone know anything about the 15 song demo that the Ramones recorded in late '74 or '75 that Johnny thinks was even better than the debut? I'm guessing that's where those bonus tracks come from, (aside from the Judy/Boyfriend single produced by Marty Thau, the latter of which EASILY surpasses the album version) but where is the rest???

As far as the whole Stooges/Dolls things goes...both great bands (if you like the Dolls you should check out the Hollywood Brats' debut on Cherry Red) and definitely "punk" and ridiculously influential but not "punk rock" in the sense that the Ramones were. Play "Personality Crisis" and "Chainsaw" back-to-back and you'll know what I mean. In my opinion, the Stooges got closest to the sound of punk with "I wanna be your dog" and "Loose" (NOT Raw Power), but if you really wanted to you could even go further back than the Velvets to the Sonics, the early Kinks, etc. But wasn't the original rock 'n' roll "punk" in the first place? I argue that the Ramones were the first TRUE punk rock band and they mark the beginning of the punk era.

That being said, the Dolls' Lipstick Killers is pretty weak...and being arty and having guitar solos doesn't make something not punk. The Ramones were probably the artiest band ever when they came out. And the best.

Add your thoughts?

Ramones - Sire 1976.
Rating = 9

Background, you axe? Si, senor! The Ramones were four unrelated young goons who worked dead-end jobs in Forest Hills, Queens in New York City. After a few early line-up changes, they finally settled on tall ugly obsessive-compulsive Jeffrey Hyman on lead vocals, conservative control freak bully John Cummings on guitar, paranoid-schizophrenic heroin addict Douglas Colvin on bass, and teensy-weensy non-drumming record engineer Tom Erdelyi on drums. Then, to make it easier on everybody, they all became "Ramones" - Joey (why not Jeffrey? I have no idea), Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy. Then, they all started dressing alike - in torn jeans, T-shirts, and black motorcycle jackets. And, finally, it was time to rock!

Apparently, they were fed up with the bloated dinosaurs (Emerson Lake and Palmer, Yes, The Who) that had taken over the rock world, and wanted to return it to its fun roots. So they pumped up the volume, sped up the drums, stripped down the arrangements, and made everything really, really short. Nothing but bar chords, at first all the songs sound exactly the same, but there are differences. You just gotta hear the songs a few times. They were truly amazing songwriters! Not even AC/DC could do so much with so few chords. And before they knew it, their unique brand of bubblegum metal became synonymous with 'punk rock'!

So this first album is an extremely important historical document. Without it, there probably would never have been a Sex Pistols or Misfits or Metallica or Nirvana, plus the songs are fantazmo! Almost all of them are restricted to one verse repeated three times, with a guitar in one speaker and a bass in the other, two vocal tracks, and the simplest drum lines ever created by man. Du-du-chi-da, du-du-chi-da, du-du-chi-da, over and over again, with a "pish" cymbal crash for emphasis every once in a while. An album made for headbanging. Starting with the classic "Blitzkrieg Bop" (which later ended up in both National Lampoon's Vacation and a beer commercial), eleven of the fourteen tracks are played at the same exact hyperspeed, with only the cheeseball ballad "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" (in a version far inferior to that on the Five-Song Demo; where are the adorable "boy - friiieeeeeeend"s and "oh-oh-oh-oh"s that made the original so charming?), the dark street-knifing saga "53rd And 3rd," and the goofy midtempo child abuse anthem "Beat On The Brat" (which later ended up in Billy Madison) taking it easy at all.

And the fast ones just tear up your apartment! There are Nazi references, horror movies, spy scenarios, jilted lover complaints, and plenty of bad vibes aimed towards girls, children, and uhh... well, mainly, girls ("They chopped her up and I don't care," "You're a loudmouth, baby," "Jackie is a punk," "I don't wanna walk around with you"). Unfortunately, what could have been the album's finest moment, the three-verse, 1:30 speedoreeno "Judy Is A Punk" is, like "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," not nearly as wonderful as the original demo version. Where are Dee Dee's harmony vocals? That was the best thing about the song! Oh well. Still, it's hard to complain about a record like this. Especially in 1976, when music just blew like the wind. But I DO have one honest complaint; Joey hadn't started taking singing lessons yet. And, boy, it shows. Nasally, with a thick New York accent, he hits a total of about two notes on the entire album. Yes, this is punk, and it's cute and funny but, as evidenced by their fantastic second album, this stuff sounds about ten times better when there's a confident, talented singer leading the band.

So what am I to do? Give a 10 to the groundbreaking debut or to the more listenable, but not as groundbreaking second album? Well, it turns out that I don't have to choose! In 1990, Sire Records released All The Stuff (And More) Volume One, which crams both albums onto one CD!! Now that's a dang 10!!!! Plus there's some hard-to-find bonus tracks on there! Awww, man, buy it today!

One more thing. Johnny Ramone invented that guitar style. See if you can find a precursor anywhere - I sure can't! Playing chords as fast as he can? Rockin' like a locomotive? About fifty trillion guitarists (including myself) have done it since, but did anybody do it before Johnny? I don't think so! Not the Stooges, not the MC5, not the New York Dolls, sure as poop not the Velvet Underground - nobody. Guitar playing at its most minimal - but heavy!

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net
How do you rate this record? How can it BE rated. "Sonic"ally...it sucks...but oh, how influential. The songs are hilarious--and it really must have been a bitch/conundrum/quandry/puzzler for radio programmers in 1976... Does anyone else see the many Beatles references on this album? From the bass-in-one-channel, guitar-in-the-other mix, to the b/w group photo, to the leather-jacketed "Hamburg" look, to the Liverpudlian honk of Joey's voice, to the 14 song song cornucopia... Jesus. Was there ever really as good an album ender as "I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You" and "Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World"? Did Johnny's speakers disintegrate at the end of the song? (It sounds to me like they did). I don't know if this album's importance on today's music can be measured. As far as the production...it's really weak, when you get right down to it, but then again, it isn't...the power of these songs (and their rawness) was something that had to be experienced in 1976. Compared to a lot of today's stuff, the sound is nothing special, but boy, after hearing Steely Dan, Boston, Alan Parsons, Fleetwood Mac...hell, I encourage anyone to play Can't Buy A Thrill, I Robot, Rumours and Boston back to back, then put on Ramones, and revel in what a shocking, revolutionary, dirty, wonderful record it is. That'll give you an indication of this record's impact on what you hear today. Damn. I'm getting verklempt...

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
Freggin great. Seriously one of the greatest rock albums of all time.

jeanette@euronet.nl
Yeah, Jim Hull says it right!

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
"I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" is not a cheeseball ballad- it's a great Ramones song (and Tommy wrote it!) I agree that the demo version was better, but it's still good anyway.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
This is the oldest album I have, so that's at least one little special thing. I guess the other special thing is that it kicks ass. It's a little annoying with the whole guitar in one speaker, bass in the next, but you get over it. "Beat On the Brat" is stupifyingly simple, and so is "Blitzkreig Bop" which is a great opening song. Also, I was surprised that "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement" wasn't a higher rated song in the Ramones catalog, because I think it is very good. This is punk for the generations to come, babyyyyyy!

brain_of_j@hotmail.com (Tommy Joyce)
Damn, somebody needs a music lesson! In your review site, you constantly call powerchords 'barre' chords. Now, a barre chord is a chord played by 'barring', that is, pressing down ALL the strings with one finger. A powerchord, on the other hand, is a chord with no third (I may be too educated for you) and is played only on the lower 3 or 2 strings. These chords are almost always used by punk and heavy metal bands - barre chords are also used, probably, but not nearly as often. You can easily discern them by their sound - a powerchord would sound very tight and heavy, while a barre chord would sound all fuzzy because of added higher tones. There you go.

dean60@earthlink.net (Nadine Canady)
Personally i like the bass in one speaker, guitar in the others. I'm a beginning bassist, so with the bass in one speaker. I easily learned how to play every single song on the album.

dean60@earthlink.net (Dean 60)
that tommy idiot is wrong. they used all barre chords with a few power chords. if you see pictures of them live, you can easily see that johnny used barre chords. tommy joyce is a dumbass

Hauntedkid@aol.com
The greatest rock album ever (like I heard every other one). Having grown up with the Ramones as my favorite band has given me an apreciation for alot of different types of rock music; this record is so pure R&R that it makes its influences seem cooler, and its the root of so much music that would follow. What I mean is I hear The Ramones in everything from Buddy Holly (Ramones before distortion, and before rock had become so boring that hyperfast tempos and "shocking" lyrics were necessary to reanimate it) to death metal (similar to what it might sound like if Satan heard this album and decided that playing distorted chords fast was a good idea for his band). I feel lucky that way. If Van Halen was my favorite band I would be saying "they helped me dig everything from Poison to Yngvie Malmsteen"...

Homelessperson22@cs.com
After extensively listening to everything from the 70's punk era, there's absolutely no doubt in my mind that the first Ramones album was its greatest achievement. Unlike the Sex Pistols, they wrote a whole album's worth of songs; unlike the Clash, their songs were intentionally dumb and catchy (were they REALLY dumb or was it all a pose? Well, listening to Joey speak makes me think the former); unlike the Dolls and Television, they didn't aspire to artiness or long solos. All of those bands are great, but the Ramones stuff is like a mainline injection of adrenalin (even if Green Day ripped them off wholesale and added crappy relationship-based lyrics) to this very day. One of the few absolutely essential bands in rock history.

Colin T.
have you heard the reissue to this that they just put out? it's great - the sound tears, the drums thump, AND those "boy friieeeends" in "i wanna be your boyfriend" are restored. how awesome is that?

jose.miguel.rico@es.pwcglobal.com
One of my favourite ones, Istarted listening to their sonic and hilarious song when I was in high school, one of my best friends lend me Too tough to die, but when I got to listen to Ramones I realized it was completily different from all the stuff I've heard before and I loved it!!!!! There's not time for recovering your breath, once again and again that wonder "1,2,3,4....! comes to life songs such as "I want to be your boyfriend" or "don't wanna go down to the basement", great, cool !!!!!

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
Easily the best punk rock album ever, and a MUST LISTEN for anyone who likes the spirit of good ol' rock'n'roll. But DAMN THEM!!! I got it about half a year ago, and it's still taking away listening time from my Pixies and Japanese pop albums! And now I'm in a Ramones cover band with a 6'2" guy that has a giant green mohawk and tho we really do suck we all proudly proclaim that even then, we are better than The Ramones SIMPLY BECAUSE THAT's WHAT THE RAMONES WOULD HAVE SAID. Or then again maybe not...who cares. Oh yeah, this album gets an easy 10 from me. Just in case any of you bloody wankers give a heap....

robjenn@bright.net
Every song on this album is my favorite song on the album. The whole thing just kicks!! That's a LOT more than you can say about all the "one-hit wonders" on the radio these days.

I even like the "guitar-in-one-speaker, bass-in-the-other" thing. For some reason, it makes the songs sound heavier than on their following albums. It also makes them sound more like distant cousins to the Beatles or something.

Hands down, their greatest album, although they had quite a few good ones. This is the only one I like from beginning to end, however. A lot of their others were kind of hit-and-miss.

Rest in Peace, Joey. You made a difference, man...

Billsangry@aol.com
The new remastered version of this is SLAMMIN! The demo versions surpass the originals! Joey's voice isn't buried in the guitar wall and he sounds great! Props to all of us who recognized this album as "prime" from the very start! Gabba Gabba Hey!

JC. Jayh20@aol.com
Fast ass-kicking, energetic album, full of catchyness and raw sound. Not much to say then what this page says, or what people know about this band/album, but i definatly recommend it to any wannabe-"punk" kid listening to the crap out today that blatently weakly rips this shit off, for they will realize this is the true shit right here. I agree that it would be good if the harmony vocals from the demo where in, but ohh well. Some of these lyrics are funny stuff too, especially "Beat On The Brat", "Judy Is A Punk", "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" and the cute "I dont wanna go Down to the basement". Please dont take "Loudmouth" seriously either. This gets the 10 from me.

WBinder007@aol.com
Definitely a nine in my books. I cannot begin to imagine the impact this one had on an entire generation back when it was released, but within a year of hearing it for the first time, I unloaded all of my Pennywise and NOFX albums. There's just no comparison. There's only two songs I don't like on this one: I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend and Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World. Even so, this is the greatest debut I've ever heard. I just get really sick of always seeing the following two words used to describe Ramones songs: "three chords." Just goes to show that no one's quite as dumb as Spin and Rolling Stone writers these days. Except Blink-182 fans.

michielh@vuurwerk.nl (Michiel Heinicke)
The only Ramones album I own. Im more of a skatepunk fan myself, but of course the Ramones started it all with this album. Im not planning to get more Ramones Albums, cause basically they just kept repeating the same formula over and over again. Still, this is an 8 in my book.

derek@ntg-uitgeverij.nl (Derek Smit)
Without this one....there would be no punk. this album just blows your mind for half an hour. it rocks..............cant find any other words for it. Ramones forever...

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
They DON'T sound exactly the same even at first listen. I think I get the point, but if I hadn't actually heard the album, I wouldn't know there is clear difference between songs like "Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World", "Loudmouth" and "Jackie Is A Punk", "I Don't Wanna Walk Aroudn With You" etc.

This album is it. It says "we're the Ramones, and this is it". Perfect rock n' roll (in my opinion punk only exists in relation to the other genres competing with it at the time...if this had been released in 1965 or something, nobody would have called it punk) with the perfect sound; that being the live sound... helped by the guitar being in one speaker and the guitar in the other.

The highlight is during the middle of the record, when "Basement" is followed by "Loudmouth" and "Havana Affair". This is prehaps the best moments of rock n' roll since the 70's started. These three songs do sound much alike, especially the first two of the three... I'm just saying this because I started the post by denying that the whole album sounded the same. Anyway, this is when they got the perfect mix between catchy pop and "kickass" rock n' roll. On the following albums, they had either what I call "party tunes" like "Rockaway Beach", "Gimmie Gimmie Shock Treatment" or metallic ones like "I Don't Care" and "We're A Happy Family".

Not every single song is fantastic... "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" wouldn't have caught any attention if not for the lyrics. It doesn't do anything for me.

So why not give it a ten? The CD that you gave a ten is not really an album... and you know that, but you had to cheat because you didn't wanna make a choice between this and the next one that you think is just as good if not better. The vocals doesnt' ruin anything...the whole sound is dirty, so if the vocals are crappy or lazy, it's just fine. It just sounds like a bunch of punks in a small room rockin' out... that's fine.

I don't follow your principle of having to pick one album for the ten... This is a review page, you're not supposed have a "Pick the best Ramones album!" thing going on.

ANYWAY...what I mean is I'll give a ten to this...easily when compared to Leave Home... but if any other album than this deserves the ten, it's Rocket To Russia.

slayerrob@yahoo.com (Rob DelMedico)
actually, they DON'T play barre chords, to whoever that dorkus was that said they did.

Just watching the video proves nothing. If you're insinuating that you saw his hands in the "barre" position while they played chords live, that proves nothing, as MANY MANY musicians (including me when I played guitar) will use the standard barre position to play power chords and only strike the three notes.

Listen to the records. the top three strings do not sound. First of all, that would result in them playing major and minor chords, which they did not. Some songs they did use barres on but predominately they played power chords.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
It sounds to me like they are playing barre-chords on this specific album. It just gets a bit lost in the production because of the bass; on some songs the guitar just makes this fuzzy noise... but there's always some higher notes there that you really couldn't get just by holding down the 2-3 lowest strings.

nikus80@hotmail.com (Aprentice)
"The Ramones usually used three chords. Okay, maybe four" - paraphrased from a lot of people.

Bullshit. Look:
Blitzkrieg Bop : A,D,E,B (ok, the B was used very little, but it was there)
Beat On The Brat: B, A, F#, E
Judy Is A Punk: Eb, Ab, Bb (ok, Judy has just 3)
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend: E, A, B, C#m
Chainsaw: A, E, B, F#
Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue: A,G,F,E
I Don't Wanna Go Down To the Basement: E,B,D,A,C,G,F (SEVEN CHORDS!)
Loudmouth: A,E,B,G,D,C (SIX)
Havana Affair: B,G,A,F#,E
Listen To My Heart:D,A,E,G,C#m,B
53 & 3rd: E,D,A,G,B (which has some kind of key change (not EXACTLY, But the verse is played again 2 half-steps up))
Let's Dance: G,B,D,F,C
I Don't wanna walk around with you: E,G,A,D
Today your love, tomorrow the world: C,G,E,D,A

*Note:I got the chords from some webpage (I didn't bother to figure them out)*

So, for the debut only:
ONE song with three chords
Six Songs with four chords
Four Songs with five chords
Two songs with six chords
One song with seven chords

So, in the debut, they used 4.7 ((3 + 6 * 4 + 4 * 5 + 2 * 6 + 7)/ 14 = 4.7) chords for each song, round it up, and they used FIVE CHORDS per song.

That said, I think writing a good song with just three chords is hard as hell. With four, well, is not as hard, but it ain't easy.

I love Judy Is a Punk. I prefer the It's alive versión, though. The original was too slow, the live versión is FAST AS HELL!!!!

***********

I live in Argentina. I read in some newspaper that the Ramones (o "Los Ramones") had more fans in Argentina than in USA. Here, The Ramones are CLEARLY the most popular punk band ("The Clash? What?"). I don't know if its true (we're like 40 million people, so the ramones should have been a lot more popular here than there (because USA has more people)).

Some friend told to me that they were also very popular in China, and that their last concert was in Argentina. Who knows? Oh, this Elliot Imes say it was, so it must be true.

Why the fuck I didn't listened Ramones when they used to play in my country? Oh. It doesn't matters. I'm happy if Radiohead comes.

Which gets me to the Metallica issue? WHY THE FUCK METALLICA COMES TO ARGENTINA (actually it's the second/third time they come) AFTER SUCH A SHITTY ALBUM LIKE ST. ANGER??!?!!??!

And I like all metallica albums, but St. Anger. Crap.

LAST MINUTE: Because they are tired "both physically and mentally", they won't come to argentina, neither japan. And you know what? They've already sold A LOT of tickets. DAMN, I CAN'T BELIVE THAT THOSE BASTARDS WERE BEFORE ONE OF MY FAVOURITES BANDS!!! FUCK THEM!!!

***********.

I got a Tribute CD to Ramones called "We're A Happy Family", which has covers by: RHCP, Rob Zombie, U2, Tom Waits, Metallica, and many others. I think it's quite good. The most bizarre track is The KKK Took My Baby Away by Marilyn Manson, which barely seems like the original.

Sure, is just a tribute, but my sister heard Havana Affair by Red Hot Chili Peppers and said it was a beautiful song. See? Now it's easier to make her listen to the Ramones.

LAST MINUTE: MY SISTER ACTUALLY LIKES THE RAMONES!!!! AND MY SISTER LIKES POP MOSTLY. I mean, the only four radiohead songs she likes are high and dry, creep, karma police, and no surprises. Oh well. Long live ramones. fuck metallica.

DebNMarkW@aol.com
I was twelve years old when this album came out, and like all kids in the 70's, I thought Jimmy Page was God. I also thought Yes had some of the most talented group of musicians I'd ever seen. So when this originally came out...me being twelve and into all these bands with great players...I thought it was the worst crap I'd ever heard. Ah to be so young and stupid again. It wasn't until I'd grown older and I heard Blitzkrieg Bop at a party, and then I heard the album with an open mind, that I fully realized what a piece of work it really is. In no uncertain terms, this is the first punk album ever released which was eventually ripped off completely and more successfully by the Brits. Joey to me was a brilliant fan and interpreter of his beloved 60's rock, and knew a good hook when he heard it. It is such a damn shame that they never achieved the superstar staus that they did so desperately want. Hell, seeing other people pick up your ideas and run with them to great success would make me want to slit my wrists. As I now comfortably settle into the role of semi old fart, I can look back and fully appreciate this marvelous piece of work and the influence it has left on music. It never gets tired. I am a professional dj part time, and when I do high school kids dances, I'll put on Blitzkrieg Bop or Rock and Roll High School and the kids pack the dance floor. Absolutely timeless. One small piece of advice, Rhino has remastered the Ramones catalog with many bonus tracks and beautiful liner notes. I urge you to look for these versions. This particular one contains 8 bonus tracks which are all demos.

spinaltomek@hotmail.com
this comment is so lame, but: This is the BEST ALBUM EVER! The Ramones were the BEST ROCK'N'ROLL BAND EVER! I realized this for the maybe 1.000.000.000.000st time in my life...i start listening to other stuff because i get bored of this sometimes, but man does it come back! never ever argue with me that "i wanna be your boyfriend" isn't the greatest rocknroll love song in the world. goddammit, these guys were so damn good! i love them and so should you!

cjfreeman@homemail.com.au
The ramones were not the first punk band. It is not reasonable to just decide this according to who released an album first. If you did, then obviously the ramones win. I mean surely the important thing was who was playing the music first, and here there are a number of contenders. The australian band the saints formed, weirdly, in 74 alongside the ramones. Similar sound, but very unique approach, (australian accent, and two slow songs). Here's a direct quote that i tried to remember and then made up from guitarist ed keupper, "when i first heard that ramones record, I was really fucking pissed. I mean it was a great album and all, but I knew at that point that we were never going to get the credit we deserved......... yankee cunts." Another australian band was radio birdman. They're like the blue oyster cult, and the stooges, and a stupid jazz pianist or mixed up. They also formed in 1974!?!? Coincidence? I'll let you be the judge. Also both these bands were playing the style of music they are famous in at least early 75, and of course had never heard the goddamn ramones, (who are of course a brilliant band, I'm not knocking them, or "pissing on them" as we say in Australia). This sex pistols did it wrong, having formed in 75, not 74, but nonetheless, I don't think they were imitating the ramones.....because the ramones only made a record in 76. But the two australian bands definitely win. You might say that radiobirdman were not really a punk band - they played actual really tight riffs, with lots of solos, as well as having a big surf influence, (actually that's irrelevant). Nonetheless they definitely seem punk to me, in terms of energy attitude ect. It's definitely an energy and attitude which is very distinct from the kingsmen, the stooges, mc5, hermit helmets ect. At the same time, isn't it a little dishonest to define punk as barred chords, no actual note riffs, no solos ect.....isn't that QUESTION BEGGING? Yes it is. But even if you did the saints still win because they have the same guitar tone, strumming patterns and speed as the ramones! Convergent evolution! WOW.

But if we don't take the question begging approach, and see punk as a general attitude, aesthetic, I kind of dumb nihilism utterly distinct from smackhead lou reed wannabees, then what about THE ELECTRIC EELS or ROCKET FROM THE TOMBS. And thats four bands, with the potential to usurp the ramones, with the saints definitely having that ability.

nineinchgoth@hotmail.com
FUCK. YES. This is where punk could very well have ended. Sure, some other groups approached (and very possiblysurpassed) this, but really, RAMONES should be enough. Now that it's remastered with some demo tracks and single versions, maybe this SHOULD ge t the 10? Ah, but really, all of the first four Ramones discs SHOULD. As you said, godlike.

Benjamin Burch
Yeah, when I first heard this album all the way through, every song on it sounded exactly the same and I couldn't really separate any of the songs from each other. During the year or so that I've had and listened to this album, I don't have that problem anymore. That's really the only bad thing I could say about the album, which otherwise is a 10/10. Not a bad moment anywhere.

Peter Morgan
Here in Brisbane Australia in the mid seventies we had bands like The Saints and The Survivors who were doing pretty much the same thing as the Ramones, so they were not that seminal just lucky enough to reside in New York city were there were enough arty type people to label them as "minimalist" and the like, rather tan just dismiss them as crap.
In fact to some extent the Ramones were pretty mainstream in that they flowed with the artistic zeitgeist of the post war west.Why should a painter need to learn to draw? Technical skills are just bourgeois oppression.So a band that sounded much like any bunch of teens who had spent six months learning to play there instruments is rated as one of the great bands that thr rock music genre has produced.
Don't get me wrong I quite like this album, it's fun, but hell it's nothing special and there would have still been British Punk, speed metal etc if the Ramones had never arrived.

Add your thoughts?

Boston 1976 - Bootleg 1976.
Rating = 8

If you ever wondered what their early shows were like, find this one now! Recorded shortly after the release of the debut, it shows the Ramones at their rough-but-tight best. The songs sound just like they do on the album, but without the production (bass and guitar are together, only one Joey voice in the mix), and look at that! Joey's hitting more notes! Presumably, the voice lessons had begun. This is a very joyful recording marking a time in the band's history when they were the most excited and hopeful (they were supposed to be the "next big thing"). Dee Dee exuberantly shouts "1-2-3-4!" at the beginning of every song, occasionally adding some awkward tuneless back-up vocals, Johnny plays the way he loves to play, Joey makes "witty" comments like "It's disco time!" and "It's disco night!," and Tommy holds it all together like only a short guy can. The coolest thing is that they play seven songs that would end up on Leave Home. My only problem is that they play "I Remember You," "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and "Babysitter" - THREE ballads in 45 minutes? Take off the skirt.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Now THIS is live Ramones...Especially DeeDee...THIS is the way he should be remembered...warts and all, but so exuberant and ALIVE. Very snide, raw and apparently confusing to a Boston crowd that was probably wondering what all the in-your-face racket was...Pretty good quality sound, too...

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
If you are talking about the one called Blitzkrieg '76 (which it sounds like you are) I think it is great!!! Funny and well played, and some of the best songs! And I love the live versions of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," "I Remember You," "Babysitter," and "Swallow My Pride." This is the only live version of these songs that I've heard, and they are great and so are the rest of the songs.

bikepark@worldnet.att.net (Ben Valerius)
I downloaded the whole show in mp3 from and FTP. That show ruled! It was Recorded at The Club in Cambridge on May 12, 1976. I love it. Has almost everysong from their first two albums and Dee Dee's "1-2-3-4!"s are awesome. Just great, sometimes Joey's voice fades out, but still good.

I also have another bootleg of a show at the infamous Roxy in LA from August 12 of that year, that one is great. The audience reaction on "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and esp. "California Sun" is incredible, at the time when Joey sings "Well I'm goin' out west where I belong". Just great. Two thumbs up.

neon@neonnyc.com (Jeff Rey)
Just a couple comments. As someone said, this was recorded at The Club in Cambridge, MA, but the date was actually May 21, 1976, not the 12th (the bootlegger must have transposed the number). The Ramones also played the same venue on the 20th and 22nd - a 3-night gig. I was at all three shows and recorded a couple of the sets myself on a cheap Radio Shack recorder - it sounds just awful and is absolutely great! Jim Hull got it wrong by thinking the Boston crowd was confused by it all. Boston's own new music scene was in full swing by then and the majority of the audience either had their own original bands or were a part of the scene. They had long anticipated the Ramones arrival and seemed to be in awe of their raw power. They gave us all an education that night. I started my own punk band the day after their last show. If you'd like to read my recollections of those nights you can find it here:

dafeldman@vassar.edu (Dave Feldman)
Great stuff. My favorite thing about this record is that "Swallow My Pride" has a completely different bridge (musically and lyrically) than it would later have on Leave Home. I definitely prefer the "Oh yeah, Oh yeah" one on the record to this version's "Come on, Come on" but it's really awesome to be able to see the song (which has always been one of my favorites) in progress...the Ramones' songs are so perfectly constructed, fully-formed and just plain THERE that it's hard to imagine them ever being written.

Also noteworthy is the way Johnny's guitar and Dee Dee's bass interact in the beginning of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", and a much more powerful version of "Beat on the Brat" than is available on the debut. I do wish they had played "You Should Never Have Opened That Door" and "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement" but oh well...

Add your thoughts?

Leave Home - Sire 1977.
Rating = 9

Jeez-o-pete! This is rockingroll! Joey's singing like an angel, the guitar is in both speakers ripping up your toaster with its authority, and is it catchy? Hoo! Is a bunny rabbit nosy? Hah? You bet it is! These songs are exuberant and welcoming, even when Joey's singing about killing his lover or snuffing his mind out with Carbona; plus, there are creatively-written slow songs like "Swallow My Pride" and "What's Your Game," and superduper throwbacks to early 60's rock and roll in the form of parodies ("You're Gonna Kill That Girl"), tributes ("Oh Oh I Love Her So") and covers ("California Sun"). But that's not all!

There's also the first of many odes to questionable psychiatric treatment ("Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment"), a terrific follow-up to "Judy Is A Punk" ("Suzy Is A Headbanger"), the twenty-word freak show classic "Pinhead," the war anthem "Commando" (later featured in the Sonic Youth movie The Year Punk Broke), the horror movie kickasser "You Should Never Have Opened That Door," and a truly sad song from the point of view of a confused, pained teenager who's probably getting the daylights beaten out of him at home. It's called "Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy," and it's easily the most emotionally resonant song they had done by that point. Just wonderful, as you might expect me to say, since I only know about four words.

In my ears, this is the most perfect album they ever recorded. It's loud, mean, heavy, poppy, beachy, scary, sad - everything that nobody else was. Just listen to "Swallow My Pride" - it's about how they were supposed to be the next big thing and it just didn't happen, but that's okay. As Joey sings, "Gonna have a real cool time / And everything's gonna be real fine." It doesn't matter. Just try again.

Admittedly, I think "I Remember You" is kinda crappy, but the rest is splendid.

P.S. The original version of this record had a giddy upbeat rocker called "Carbona Not Glue" that they were forced to remove from the album because Carbona is a trade name and its copyright owners weren't too thrilled with the idea of a pop band endorsing the use of their product as an inhalant. Thus, it was replaced by "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker," which is a great song but if you want it, you can get it on Rocket To Russia.

Also, people always bitch about the album cover. I think it's a wonderful cover! It makes it look like Tommy is the leader of the band, Johnny is about to start crying, and Dee Dee is about to murder somebody! I like the blue in the background, too, so up yours, if you know what I mean by "yours."

Reader Comments

Dr. Langenback@t-online.de (Tobias)
You are right, this is the best!!

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Excellent synopis of this album...(heheh! He said "synopsis") And guess what else was cool? Guess what else just blew my mind when I first heard this one? The buzzing amplifier at the beginning of "Commando" (and others). I also thought "Gimme Gimme..." was the heaviest thing I had ever heard, and the fastest in 1980. (When I first got a copy.) I also got a "Carbona" copy. But I paid 20 bucks. Worth every penny.

3357E6D3.667F@cegeptr.qc.ca (Jeff)
There is no doubt about it, Leave Home is the best rock'n roll album ever. It starts with a mass murderer song; just after it ends you are shocked by some shock treatments. To let you take your breath back here comes de well-done ballad "I Remember You". Can you really choose between Sheena the punk rocker, Carbona or passing a night babysitting with your girlfriend!!!! As it goes without saying Joey rips you apart with the little "OOOOOUUUUUUWWWWWEEEEEEYYYYYY Do it one more time for me" of "Suzy is a Headbanger". There are no more things to describe about this album because A)I'm tired of writing this B)talking about Leave Home makes me feel to go to my room and listen to it C)I'm from Quebec and I don't write English very good.

UCFIRE@netcom.ca (Dave)
Leave Home is one of the most perfect albums of all time, except for "Pinhead". I'm sorry but that song does nothing for me, never has. The only good version of "Pinhead" is on It's Alive, the song rocks on that album, Johnny sounds like he won't have a right hand left after playing that song. Every song is awesome especially "You should never have opened that door."

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
I think "I Remember You" is a great Ramones slow song. Hey, what do you have against Ramones slow songs anyway? They do great slow songs, well, there are a few bad ones, but most of them, especially the older ones, are great!

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
Anyone who would like to do beach dances with me to "California Sun", please contact me as soon as possible, since I don't know how to beach dance. Anyway, another great Ramones record, catchy and all those other adjectives. "Oh Oh I Love Her So" always gets me in the mood for some Beach Boys (although I have no Beach Boys albums). And okay, so Bad Religion's "American Jesus" does sound like "Commando", but dammit, like the Ramones haven't ripped themselves off about 100 times? The "Blitzkreig Bop" riff has been used in at least 10 Ramones songs, and the chorus riff for "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" has been used in either 10 or more Ramones songs. So let's just leave Bad Religion out of a great album like Leave Home. Thank you, and goodnight.

pennylc@email.msn.com (Brian Action)
Leave Home is the perfect Ramones album! Every tune is a winner and I think "Oh Oh I Love Her So" is my favorite song by them ever followed closely by "She's The One". Has anyone heard The Vindictives cover album for Leave Home? It rules as far as the cover albums go. Screeching Weasel covered the first one. The original vinyl is long sold out but is available on CD on their web page (www.screechingweasel.com) The Queers covered Rocket To Russia. The Mr.T Experience covered Road To Ruin. Boris The Sprinkler did End Of The Century. The Parasites did It's Alive......will the fun ever stop?!

bakirkl@ibm.net
If you want to find "Carbona Not Glue," you can also look for it rereleased by Sub Pop (?!?) as a single.

michael.blume@gte.net (Michael D Blume)
Damn!!!! This fuckin' rocks!!!! This is so much better than their self-titled debut album. Hell, it's right up there with AC/DC's Back In Black, says I! Every song kicks ass, especially "Swallow My Pride" and "Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy". In fact, since this album is so cool, it deserves a place in my Top 10 albums of all-time list. The only thing I don't like about the reissue is the exclusion of "Carbona Not Glue", of course. I mean, what's the need of replacing it with a song that's on another studio album? Huh?! That's pretty superfluous. Don't get me wrong. I love "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker", but couldn't the Ramones have replaced "Carbona" with an unreleased song? It would have been better to have added an unreleased live version of "Sheena" too. Oh well. At least newcomers will experience the original version of "Carbona Not Glue" on The Ramones Anthology: Hey Ho Let's Go!, that is, if they bought it as their introduction to the Ramones. I bought that one too, before I bought Leave Home. It wasn't my introduction to the Ramones, though. It was RamonesMania that first got me into liking the Ramones, but you'll have to wait for my review on that compilation. As for Leave Home, it's a 10 out of 10. No, wait. It's an 11 out of 10!! Yeah, baby!!!!

Colin T.
and oh hey, the reissue to THIS one has restored "carbona not glue". oh mama!

malinsky@bu.edu
holy mother of fuck, i love this album. i like to play this record at 45 instead of the proper 33, so the whole album sounds like Punk Rock Chipmunks. best 20 minutes of pop music you'll ever hear.

billsangry@aol.com
The songwriteing balance between Joey (pop) and Dee Dee (punk) is what makes the first 3 albums so likable. I'll take this one over Rocket to Russia anyday!

JC. Jayh20@aol.com
This one sounds more fuller then the debut. I actually like this one as much as the debut, but theres only a one ten system, so this gets a 9. I like the 60's rock and roll throwbacks on here, and the "California Sun" cover is totally awesome. "Swallow My pride", "Gimmie Gimmie Shock Treatment", "Pinhead", "Commando", "Should Never Have Opened that door", all great songs. Absoulte classic album.

WBinder007@aol.com
As far as I'm concerned, this is better than the debut. Glad To See You Go is a perfect opener, and overall, it's my favorite Ramones song. From there, the album just tears until the end, with only two missteps along the way: What's Your Game and the wretched I Remember You. Babysitter, a B-side from the sessions, is just about the only slow Ramones song I like. This would be my 10, if not for All The Stuff And More Vol. 1. Best of all, the CD reissue has not only Babysitter and Carbona on it, but also an entire concert from 1976 as bonus tracks.

derek@ntg-uitgeverij.nl (Derek Smit)
Pretty much in the same style as their debut album, the production is better...more raw en the bass and guitar are now mixed both in the left and right channel. Their songs are more about freaks such as pinhead ( The slogan Gabba gabba hey is ripped from the movie freaks where the say : gooble gable we accept you as one of us) They blast of with glad too see you go wich i absolutly love, only a bit too much ballets for my taste.... Anyway if you liked Ramones you should get this one as well. lookout for a version with carbona not glue on it wich got cut out of the album and was replaced by an earlier version of sheena is a punkrocker in the U.S and babysitter in the U.K

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
Why is it a good thing that the guitar is in both speakers? It doesn't get any heavier; If you wanna be heavy, you'd use the bass. I'm not gonna say that it automatically gets worse as you have guitars in both speakers, but it's not an improvement on this album.

It may be more diverse, but that's not making it necessairly better, if anything some of the new kind of songs simply suck. "Swallow My Pride" for example is pretty pathetic (I prefer the Green River one... actually the Soundgarden cover may be even better...)

The rockers, "Commando", "Pinhead", have moved into the direction that leads to metal, while the pops are turning into teenage-film soundtracks. If this is a negative thing, I'm not sure...but gone are the Loudmouths of the previous record - "Pinhead" is cool, but something of a lesser version of "Havana Affair".

Yes, Joey's vocals aren't dirty anymore, and they fit the more polished songs; "Gimmie Gimmie Shock Treatment" and "Oh Oh I Love Her So" are both really good. Especially the way the opening riff of the first mentioned turns into the verse riff...it doesn't stop, it leads to the following riff- really good stuff.

"Commando" is a winner for those (of us?) who appericiate certain aspects of facism, "You Should Never Have Opened That Door", I love that last line before the chorus.

My remastered CD-version has, apart from the bonus-tracks, 15 tunes, including "Babysitter" and "Carbona Not Glue". I must note that it's probably a european release... "Carbona" is one of the best songs of the album, and is probably as close as you can get to the less extreme rockers of the debut.

It's interesting that the first album catches you instantly, while most song on this one I had to listen to several times before appericiating them... for an entertaining, straightforward rock n' roll band like the Ramones, I don't know if that's a "good" thing... it's like you have to brainwash yourself into accepting them. A nine is fair, but you're hinting that if you had to pick one Ramones album as your favourite- this would be it... I won't say you have a poor taste since you've picked out the right albums on most other pages I've visited ( Bug, The Beatles, Vitalogy etc.)... But, well...there it is.

(later)

I was wrong there, "Carbona" is hardly one of the Loudmouths... I probably just said that because it's one of my favourite rockers on this album. "You Should Never Have Opened That Door" is more of a Loudmouth.

peddrick@avpres.org
You would leave home to if you live in the sick demented world of 1976. The airwaves were flooded with all the biggest crap from all the biggest starts: Bee Gees, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, just to name a few. There was no end to the crap until the Ramones hit us straight to the heart. If you doubt for one minute that Rock and Roll is gone forever, drop this on the deck and don’t look back!!

nineinchgoth@hotmail.com
Refining perfection is nearly impossible, but that's exactly what the bruddahs did here!"Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy" is every bit as emotional as you say, and the other tracks (bar "I Remember you") are ace as well! The remaster includes "Carbona Not Glue", "Babysitter" and AN ENTIRE LIVE SHOW FROM '76! If you don't get the Ramones, LISTEN TO THIS SHOW. It completely blows IT'S ALIVE! away!

Benjamin Burch
What's unfortunate about this album is the lack of improvement. I certainly don't see any improvement in the production or songwriting. If anything, this album is a clear step down from the first album. But getting my complaints out of the way, this is still a great album. It's easier for me to single out songs because this album is a little bit uneven. I really like the first three songs, "Pinhead," "California Sun," "You're Gonna Kill That Girl" and "You Should Never Have Opened That Door." "Oh Oh I Love Her So," "Swallow My Pride" and "Now I Wanna Be a Good Boy" strike me as kind of stupid and generic. It's also quite a shame that "Carbona Not Glue" was eventually omitted from the album, because it's a very good song.

Add your thoughts?

CBGB 2-2-77 - Bootleg.
Rating = 9

Wow. One heck of a bootleg. I just love those Ramones! If you own the first two albums, you don't need this, but it still earns a 9. These songs are just too damn good to deserve anything less. Two sets - 31 tracks (including two run-throughs each of "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Swallow My Pride," and "Glad To See You Go"; versions of both "Carbona Not Glue" and "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker"; and performances of every other track on the first two records except "You Should Never Have Opened That Door" and "What's Your Game"), and it all just totally kicks. You just listen to it and think, "This is what rock and roll was always meant to be. It gets no better than this. This is perfect. This is bliss. Well, except Joey misses a bunch of notes every now and again. But aside from that, this is bliss." Tommy books, you can hear every instrument very heavily and clearly, and it's a mindblowing experience. Wow again.
Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
This is the best Ramones bootleg I've ever heard. It's got great sound, but the thing that set it apart is the INTENSITY of the performance...and I agree very much with Mark here--there are moments during this show where you just end up gaping at how great a rock band the Ramones were at their peak. Joey is enormously funny: "Uh, we've had a request...some of you out there wanna Mambo, so...", and then they blast into "Havana Affair"...or his simple shout of "HANG TEN!" and Dee Dee obligingly screams marching orders for "California Sun"...Johnny and Tommy bash like hell, the crowd screams...I don't know if there was any band in the world that could have touched them this night...I certainly don't know of any...

Add your thoughts?

Rocket To Russia - Sire 1977.
Rating = 9

The songs are excellent, but the production's not mean enough! After the heavy thrashing on the first two, the guitars on this one sound a little tinny. Rumor has it that they were trying to be more "mainstream" so they could have a hit. They didn't. Still, thank heavens, they didn't change their songwriting style even a teensy iota. "Ramona" is a weak pointless ballad, but the other thirteen songs are top-of-the-line hookiness! The most popular ones are "Cretin Hop," "Rockaway Beach," "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker" (which ended up in Pet Sematary), "We're A Happy Family," and the funny "Teenage Lobotomy," but the lesser-known tracks like "Locket Love," "I Can't Give You Anything," and "Why Is It Always This Way?" are just as great. So hypnotic and smart and catchy -- complete with a heavy metal outburst ("I Don't Care"), a beautifully sorrowful love song ("Here Today Gone Tomorrow"), and a couple of terrific 60's covers ("Do You Wanna Dance?" and "Surfin' Bird," which, admittedly, isn't anywhere near as good as the original by the Trashmen, but then, how could it be?).

Like Leave Home, the key word for this record is "exuberant." Regardless of how drugged-up and threatening they try to look on the cover, they run through these songs like excited little boys on a field trip. It's a truly breathtaking experience, like seeing the Grand Canyon or a really big weird-looking bug. I just wish the guitar was heavier.

P.S. The best song on the record, "We're A Happy Family," features the verse, "We aint got no friends / Our troubles never end / No Christmas cards to send / Daddy likes men." And "fag" jokes are funny. Especially to us non-"fags." Perhaps "straight" jokes are entertaining to "fags," as well; I'm in no position to say one way or the other. All I can say is that I like "fag jokes," I like "fags," and, best of all, I like the Ramones.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Awesome record. "Family" and "Teenage" back-to-back are the most potent 1-2 punch in the Ramones catalog. "I Can't Give..." is one of the most underrated Ramones tunes IMHO...Imagine George Strait singing this one! Seriously!! It comes across as a great C&W tune to me, and hell, I'm from Texas!! ...I give this album a 10.

pbfss@qldnet.com.au (Johnno)
Well bully for you Mark! I think "do you wanna dance" is my favourite song on this album along with "Cretin hop". When it comes to playing the crap out of your walkman on the train and wondering if anyone else there likes the song these two tunes are almost king dick. For mine each of the first five Studio albums are the among the most fun Ive ever had in music, and therefore they are the albums I rate more highly than the rest.

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
Hell yeah the Ramones are the best man. I loved those first 3 albums but the rest don't even wanna make me play air guitar to em. The New York Dolls were here before the Ramones and so were Love, MC5, Velvet Underground, and the Dictators (who along with the New York Dolls, were the Ramones biggest influences) and more. The Ramones may not have been the first but if there weren't there would be no Sex Pistols, Clash, Dead Boys, and many more. If you like the Ramones you would love the Dead Boys, Real Kids, Saints, New York Dolls, Crime, and Richard Hell and the Voidoids.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
Am I the only person that really likes "Here Today Gone Tomorrow?" I just think that's a lovely song. And think of what it would have sounded like had they sped it up and used thicker guitars on it. Shitnigga! (gangsta slang). Also, I think Rocket To Russia is a fantastic album, but it's definitely not the best that the Ramones ever did. I refuse to believe that. It just doesn't have the overall strength of the first two. And why the hell did "I Don't Care" have to be rewritten THREE more times??? Oh well, at least we got some more good songs out of it.

billsangry@aol.com
Even my "Metalhead" friends dig this one..

WBinder007@aol.com
If someone asked me to sum up the Ramones career with just one album, I'd pick this one. You've got great pop songs like Rockaway Beach and Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, great riff driven punkers like Teenage Lobotomy and We're A Happy Family, minimalism at its most minimal with I Don't Care, great covers with Surfin Bird and Do You Wanna Dance, crappy ballads like Ramona, Here Today Gone Tomorrow, and the most overrated song in their catalog, with Cretin Hop. Still, though, the first seven songs I named are strong enough to warrant a nine.

derek@ntg-uitgeverij.nl (Derek Smit)
Yeah no were talking, undoubtly pure rock n roll. production is less raw than leave home but lets it spoil the album. practicly ever song on the album was played live until their quits in 1996 so if you play something for over 19 years it must be good right? this album feateres more freak songs like cretin hop. In overall this albums has uber catchy songs that you'll be singing for days...more be your life like yours truly....

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
Back to real rock music, with the live sound, after that commercialized radio-friendly one; Leave Home. Although it's possible that the guitar is somewhat cleaner than the first album, I prefer it this way than being too sharp sounding as on some of the Leave Home tracks. Also there's less reverb on the vocals.

Overall this is the natural follow-up to the debut, it's not quite as raw, but on the other hand it's got catchier songs, some of them also having developed in terms of composition. Leave Home was not a big mistake, but it could have been produced better, It was just not Ramones-esque enough...

"Teenage Lobotomy" is genious, other favourites; "Cretin Hop", "Locket Love", "Sheena Is A Punkrocker" etc. "Do You Wanna Dance?" would have won more praise if it wasn't a cover.

Unlike everyone else I'm not too fond of "We're A Happy Family", I don't think it's that humouristic to start with... Where would you find that? That "we're really NOT a happy family...At all?" And Joey sounds just like an angry guy...Singing to a metallic riff... Not at all like they would express the anger on other songs... But it would of course get worse on the next album. So you have all these stupid teenagers singing along to the chorus...As if the Ramones are some stupidass half-joke skatepunk band or something. It's the same deal as with songs such as "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" and "Suzy Is A Headbanger" (Sometimes the titles alone are appealing in this way)... People will find these amusing, while missing what's special about songs like "Rockaway Beach" and "Locket Love". The Ramones were NOT a joke band, but a terrific rock n' roll band with a great sense of humor... There's an obvious difference there.

The possible weakness of the album is that it's got it's highs and lows, where the debut presents pretty much 14 songs, all just as good as the other. But I'd still give it a ten.

nineinchgoth@hotmail.com
And once again, the Ramones turn in a perfect record! "Rockaway Beach", "We're A Happy Family", "Teenage Lobotomy", the twin perfect covers of "Surfing Bird" and "Do You Wanna Dance"....... BLISS! (is it just me, or did the Ramones ALWAYS make any cover their own?) Remastered of course, with "Slug" and other demos and single versions.

Benjamin Burch
Better than "Leave Home," but not as good as "Ramones," but it's still great. The playing is noticeably better than the last two albums, and they actually sound more professional (as if they didn't before...)

Best song is "Surfin' Bird" (which I used to hate), others favorites are "Rockaway Beach," "Cretein Hop," "Here Today Gone Tomorrow," "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," ... everything except tracks 5 and 7.

Add your thoughts?

Birthday Bash - Exile 1990
Rating = 7

Intro: "HEY! We're the Ramones and you're a loudmouth baby, you'd better shut it up!" This live show was recorded on November 24th, 1977 at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go in Los Angeles, California, USA, and transferred onto CD from a slightly warped album or cassette tape. You might not notice or care, but my delicate ears (literally made from the finest Oriental cotton) are unable to simply gloss right over the constant slight dips and raises in the guitar notes. Flat, sharp, flat, sharp -- but enough descriptions of my pud; there's an important album at risk and only WE can describe it!!!

It features ten tracks from the debut, eight from Leave Home and five from "We got a brand new album comin' out in a couple o' weeks. It's called Rocket To Russia!" He didn't really say the album title in bold though. If you get kicks out of track listing mistakes, you'll no doubt grab a smiley at the sight of track three, the classic "Blitzkrieg Bob." God, I fuckin' LOVE that guy! Also, the mix is nice and heavy, with both guitar and bass strong in the mix and Joey still in his "singing, not grunting 'YEEEAAAAH!'" mode. In fact, Joey is still fey-Britting "Oh yaaa!" during "Beat On The Brat," as opposed to the deeper "Ohhhyaaaaay" approach he'd adopt during the mid-80s. It really is a shame how much his live singing turned to shit the older he got. He sounds so great on these early bootlegs!

A few other moments to enjoy:

-- "I Don't Care," in which Dee Dee's vocals couldn't be further out of tune if he'd left his voicebox in the motel
-- "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow," in which Johnny actually plays ARPEGGIOS during the middle break! And they're PRETTY!!!
-- The end of "Surfin' Bird," where we find Joey apparently singing along to some imaginary key in his head

Some of the songs seem less warped than others, and the band plays nothing but great songs with nothing but top energy and nothing else but melodicism, but nothing stops the lousy warped sound on nothing but most of the CD from making it hard for nothing but the good parts to be not unenjoyed. And one final thought: If Johnny Ramone was completely incapable of playing "California Sun" correctly (which he WAS - you know it, I know it, even several deaf people have their suspicions), why on Earth did they insist on playing it so often? It sounds horrible and makes us all feel like an asshole for letting it play all the way through! Can you imagine a visitor? "Say, who's that inept band of idiots you're listening to?" he or she might ask. And then what are we supposed to do? Answer "The Ramones" in passive agreement with his subtle putdown? Or hit him/her in the face with a shovel? I know what I did and until somebody makes a motion picture called The Shovelface Girl, that's pretty much it for Lacey Chabert.

Add your thoughts?

It's Alive - Sire 1978.
Rating = 9

If Rocket To Russia didn't rock you enough, wrap your penis around this baby! Yeeesshhh! A live recording from New Years' Eve '77, this captures the early Ramones at their finest and fastest; if all the pictures of Dee Dee and Johnny jumping up and down on the inner sleeve aren't enough to get you excited, wait till you stick it on the turntable. The crowd is screaming, a bit of guitar feedback starts up, and Dee Dee can't wait! "EINZ!...." he begins, but is silenced by the ever-cordial Joey, who introduces the band with a rushed-but-friendly "Hey! We're the Ramones and this one's called 'Rockaway Beach!'" Then it just doesn't stop! Every pounding, thumping, grinding sweatfest blends directly into the next, separated only by a quick Dee Dee scream of "1-2-3-4!" So exciting.

Man. 28 songs in about 55 minutes - each as catchy and loud and well-sung as the last. This is every bit as good as the first three studio albums, and possibly even more fun! (More "1-2-3-4"s than you can stick a shake at, and I defy you to try to find the beginning of the third, fourth, fifth, or sixth song on any side of the record - it's just one big black blur!) This is the big time, girly; this is rock and roll!

Incidentally, in the Spin Alternative Record Guide, Joey Ramone included this album on his list of "Best 10 Albums Of All Time." I thought it was a little tacky until I realized, "Wait a minute! He's right!"

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Is there a live album better? Is there an album with more exciting, in-your-face photos? (LOOK at DeeDee!!!) Hell! Look at Dee's bass cord! NOBODY uses those! Except for teenage garage bands! ( "I USED ONE" Jim sez proudly).

rboyd@csfp.co.uk (Roger Boyd)
Probably my favourite album of all time - From the opening of "Rockaway Beach" to "Happy Family," rock n roll never was or has got better than this. Production much better than Loco Live....and I was there...

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
It's Alive is pretty good (the version of "Let's Dance" and "Today Your Love Tomorrow the World" I wish they had kept the album versions, but it's good to hear something different) but there is a bootleg inferior to all the ones listed it's called Blitzgrieg 76 and it was recorded a couple of days after Ramones was released. It has great and rough versions of songs off Leave Home and Ramones.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Totally AWESOME!!! Their best live album ever! Every Ramones fan should have it. Joey actually sings on this album, and the songs are played really well. It's really great!!

Drc1111@aol.com
This album is sweet because it serves as a retrospective of what i consider to be their first "phase". It's got most of the best songs off their first three albums, plus it rocks. Even though they remained great, they were never quite the same.

echri@juno.com (Elizabeth A. Christian)
I don't generally use absolutes because I'm a wuss who doesn't stand firm behind her opinions, but this is absolutely, positively, accurately, validly, and whatever the best live album ever. All those Rolling Stones and AC/DC fans can suck my dick. If I had a dick. (I can imitate you style, too!)

billsangry@aol.com
This actually "feels" like a live album.

WBinder007@aol.com
As someone else said, this is the best live album ever. That's really all there is to it.

punkrock_derek@hotmail.com (Derek Ramone)
when i first heared the album on original vynil at a friends home i was amazed at how fast and hard it was , het would just let hear bits of sings. it was about that time that i first heared the ramones and the only album i had was leave home (wich i loved) a few days later i bought the cd at a discount store. when i put it on my stereo the volume was on 5, after the first song is was on 7 and the last song was on maximum volume. if you close your eyes you can almost be there with them. it not just an album its an experience. fast loud en DAMN good!!!

evey song a classic altough they could have skipped here today gone tomorrow its kicks ass! give this album a 12!!!! maybe more!

jdecuir@satx.rr.com (Uncle Buzz Records)
Agreed. The most infuckingcrediblemazingfantasticunbelievablerfuckinrock'n'roll album of all time. Period. It sends chills up my spine and makes my eyes water up. This is what they were like live, at their best. Listen to all that downstroking! The louder you play it, the better it sounds. Turn up the bass eq, and it sounds even better! Stuff like this makes me glad to be alive.

jjdiazsanchez@hotmail.com
This album can be as classic as everyone wants, but I just can't forgive fake crowd noise and overdubs on live albums. "NYC 78" made "It's Alive" obsolete, no fake crowd noise or overdubs, get that one instead

prince55chu@hotmail.com
Wow!!!! This is a truly great live album. I really physically jump up and down, I just couldn't help it! My dog probly thought I went out of my mind!!

Add your thoughts?

NYC 1978 - King Biscuit Flower Hour 2003
Rating = 8

Hey, do you own It's Alive? You DO!?! Why, that's fantastic!!!! As such, don't buy this piece of shit.

However, if you don't own It's Alive, FOR GOD'S SAKE, buy It's Alive! And then tell this piece of shit to eat some fucking balls.

My point, in general, is that this CD was recorded live in con's shirt (HA HA AH!!! HA AHHAHAA H!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHH!!!!!HAHHAHAHAH!!

"CON'S SHIRT!" HAHAHAHHA !!! HAHAHAHAHAH! HAHAHAHAH! HOLY FUCKING SHIT! MY GOD FUCKING ASS DICK! HOLY GODDAMNED! GODDAMNED ALL AROUND TODAY IN THE WORLD!!!)

This was recorded live one week after It's Alive and features the exact same set list as that fine album, except they dumped "Judy Is A Punk" because it has three chords and is thus difficult. Also, the most exciting thing is that Johnny "John Cummings" Ramone (former guitarist for the Ramones, now deceased)'s guitar is entirely out of tune for the first five songs! Add that to his usual incompetence at performing "California Sun" and "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" in the live setting (because - a. those songs have notes, and b. the guy who plays guitar on the studio versions of those songs wasn't invited to tour with the band), the lame-o slow part of "You're Gonna Kill That Girl" and the doldrums of the non-studio "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker," and you've got a GREAT album!!!! A high 8 at any rate. The bass is too quiet near the beginning and the drums are super-loud, but Joey does a wonderful job of actually singing the songs (a hobby from which he would retire just a few years later), and the songwriting is so heavenly that it's like drifting on a sea of rock and roll, loving the choo-choo train rhythm and going "Dana-nana-nana-nana!" in your head for almost an hour. Thank you The Ramones for saving rock and roll and writing so many amazing songs from the dark and mean ("Commando," "Havana Affair") to the exuberant and poppy ("Oh, Oh, I Love Her So," "Listen To My Heart") to the scared and emotional ("Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy," "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow"). You were wonderful and I love you.

Also, this guy in the crowd keeps blowing an air horn. That's awesome and something we should all do on live albums so it sounds like a fucking baseball game, the asshole.

Even the crap Joey says to the audience is the same as on It's Alive, which sucks because that audience all felt really special like he was addressing their personal needs specifically when he said, "Hey! We're the Ramones and this one's called 'Rockaway Beach'!" and "Well, after five years in the institution, 'Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy'." and "Here's one for all you lonely hearts out there. It's called 'Here Today, Gone Tomorrow!'" But no, the lanky son of a cricket was just reciting a script and didn't care about his individual audience members at all. The only difference is that instead of "Well, after eating that chicken vindaloo, 'I Wanna Be Well,'" now he says, "Well, after eating that dressing room food, 'I Wanna Be Well.'" Like a big shot who gets dressing room food like a rich rock star like Jello Biafra with his fancy cars. Also, hey! Do you own It's Alive? You do? That's fantastic! Then why are you buying this? Don't buy this! It SUCKS SO MUCH COMPLETE HAIRY SYPHILITIC PUS-DRIPPING WHORE ASS, I gave it an 8!

But dude have you heard that song "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment"? Oh my GOD, man. Also, "Creation Hop."

We're all doing the "Creation Hop," creating things.

Reader Comments

David.Darianto@unilever.com
IMHO, NYC 1978 is a better live album than It's Alive, don't get me wrong, they're both great live albums, but NYC 1978 sounds "more live". Maybe because It's Alive is engineered a little bit in whilst NYC 1978 was recorded as it is thus NYC 1978 is more representative for a "real" Ramones live sound during that era. Personally I like NYC 1978 better though maybe for some the sound is to "raw".

hull5@charter.net
Awesome.

Man, I used to love KBFH! Greatest RnR radio show ever.

This cd is a very good artifact from the Ramones at pretty much their peak. Pretty obvious that they'd become a 'professional' band by this time, but sound is good, and they were probably thinking they were just about to break thorough. Big difference between this live album and the later ones that were much more 'punch the clock'.

"What is minimalism?"

Love it. Gets a high 8 from me.

causero@inwind.it (Roberto from Italy)
Well, I think Ramones NYC 1978 is actually a great CD (also the vinyl version exists) ...
The difference with "It's Alive" is that there no studio overdubs here, it's a straight 2-track recording from the mixing desk, so there were no chanches to eventually re-mix it, just a final mastering job was possible on the overall sound ...
Here you can hear the sounds just as raw as they were, and the real Joey's voice without too-many effects added ...
"Judy is a punk" is not missing because it has 3 chords (just remember John Lee Hooker did many songs using 1 -I mean only one- chord...), but as the show was back then recorded on a 90-min tape cassette, "Judy" just happened to be cut off at the end of the first 45 mins, before the tape flip ...

Add your thoughts?

Road To Ruin - Sire 1978.
Rating = 9

Hey! They changed a little! But that's A-OK! This is mean and hard and loud for the most part, with new drummer Marc Bell (formerly of the Voidoids, replacing Tommy who left the band amicably to work on record production) adding a heavier-handed backbeat to the distorted stuff in front. Cool!

Personally, being an afficionado of the "loud and fast," my favorites are the mean-as-nails "I Wanted Everything," "Go Mental," "Bad Brain," and "I'm Against It," but the rest are great, too. "I Just Want To Have Something To Do" is a better-developed rewrite of "I Don't Care," "Questioningly" is proof that "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" was not a fluke and the Ramones actually can write a moving, emotionally-charged ballad, and "It's A Long Way Back" is a slow but extremely get-stuck-in-your-heady song whose entire reason for existence appears to be to irritate me by not using the obvious rhyme. THREE times, Joey has the nerve to sing, "You by the phone / You all alone / It's a long way back to Germany / It's a long way back...to Germany." Why won't he say "HOME"? Gosh frig it! Great song, though.

Elsewhere, "Needles And Pins" is the first bad cover they ever did (see Acid Eaters for several more), "I Don't Want You" is an uneventful Joey-penned rocker, "She's The one" is an exhilirating happy song in the middle of a basically bleak album, and the true stand-out that'll make you scratch your tummy and say, "huh?" is the love-it-or-hate-it Jimmy Buffett soundalike "Don't Come Close." At one point, it was the only Ramones song that I loathed; now I adore it. I don't know why. I guess I'm just getting old. By the by, this is the last Ramones album that any critic ever liked. But I'm not any critic. I'm Mark "Suckjob" Prindle!

Oh! I almost forgot! "I Wanna Be Sedated" is on here! Man, that's a winner, with its one-note guitar solo. How can you beat that? With a half-note guitar solo?

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
First Ramones album I ever bought. Opened it, and began laughing uncontrollably at the lyrics. Took it home and played it. And played it. And played it. Over. And over. And over. I took it to my brother and said: "Listen to this!" He said: "Yeah? It sucks." I looked at the lyrics some more and kept on playing it. I remember thinking: "This is it. This is the way it's supposed to sound. I have FOUND it."

limbisc@earlham.edu (Scott)
Suck a fatty, sir! "Needles and Pinzuh" has gotta be one of my favorite covers the Ramones ever did. When I get a boot with that and "Babysitter," my jaw drops and weird stuff comes out. Hell, the Searchers suck, but that is a real tasty lil ditty if I ever heard one.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
I think I'm turning sissy becuase my favorite songs on Road To Ruin are "Questioningly" and "Needles And Pins." I won't have anyone badmouthing "Needles And Pins", becuase I know you all like it. You don't need to deny it. "I Just Want To Have Something To Do" kind of drones on for a little too long. Overall, I like this one, but again, it's showing a decline that would later be seen on other Ramones albums.

farnum@amath.washington.edu
The ballads and acoustic guitars are exactly what makes Road to Ruin so great.

billsangry@aol.com
This is their best attempt at making a "commercial" sounding album without compromising their punk roots.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
It's a good thing that they didn't have to put out a crappy album after Rocket To Russia, to prove that they're finished, but a barely more than mediocre one by Ramones standards. A few objections: Don't you find that "I Wanted Everything" sounds like "Gimmie Gimmie Shock Treatment" with a pointless, nowhere-goin' "cry,cry" part put in it? At first I thought it was crappy because it was too familliar, until it struck me that this has been the case with the Ramones before, and probably after. But the distrubing thing is the lacking composition. Did they really think fo a moment when they put in that title part there? It's like they were just trying to finish the song. There's just nothing that makes sense in putting these parts together. It's kinda like that Red Hot Chili Peppers song (I hate this band and therefore I refuse to put down their initials as something everyone should know)...the first single from their current album. You get the A and (not the B) then the...W?

"I'm Against It" = the chorus is horrible, overblown generic punkrock, such a load of blah blah. And "I Just Want To Have Something To Do" is not better developed than "I Don't Care", it's just less strict and therefore it loses the only thing that could make these type of songs interesting. I don't like this song at all, same thing goes for it's ugly cousin "I Don't Want You". I don't see in what way these songs would be a better idea than, what Linkin Park is doing. "This song is SO SAD!- I'm HURT!". This is not rock n' roll anymore, it's metal without palm-muted chord sequences. For all I know maybe "I Don't Want You" has it, but I can't remember.

The only metal song that works here is "Go Mental". Why isn't anyone noting that he's NOT saying mentAl? It works because...it kicks, while the other two are just dull. "Bad Brain", that's the best tune of the whole album. While I'm at it, I should say that the production is great here. And finally, I'd mention "She's The One" or "Oh Oh I Love Her So II". "Sedated"- the verse is just an excuse for the chorus to come.

The one I have is the remastered CD version with all the bonus tracks, including an alternate version of "Rock N' Roll Highschool", now I haven't heard the one the next album, and I'm not intending to do that, but I KNOW it's not just me- this song is really just a couple of classic Ramones songs stuck together, in itself it has NOTHING. I don't know if it was the intention, to sort of make a hint on...whatever. So I can't believe this song is famous. I don't even know what the hell the movie is all about. And I don't wanna know that either. And I don't wanna hear reactionary lyrics, and I don't really like the look of that Phil Spector. And I hate his guts for ruining Paul McCartney's "The Long And Winding Road", which is a really good song if we're talking about the one on Anthology 3.

causero@inwind.it (Roberto from Italy)
"I Wanna Be Sedated" from Road To Ruin...
Yeah, the one-note guitar solo, and NOT even played by Johnny ...
(Do you know who did it ?)
(Ed Stasium, the engineer) ...

nineinchgoth@hotmail.com
Alright, of the first four Ramones albums, this is less than perfect. HOWEVER, nobody can deny the thrill they first got when they first heard "I Wanna Be Sedated", and the experiments ("Needles & Pins", "Questioningly", "Don't Come Close") actually work in their favor. From here, they'd parody themselves, but this is worthwhile. The remaster includes "Rock 'n' Roll High School", the ENTIRE SET from said movie, and other stray tracks.

Ben
I've grown to really like this album. As with "Rocket to Russia" I thought it was completely generic and overrated, but now I can't get enough of it. Every song is a classic, and due to the content on here this might be the most "intelligent" Ramones album. Songs are at a slower pace, and seem to be more suited for radio airplay.

Add your thoughts?

You Don't Come Close - Burning Airlines 2001
Rating = 8

This tiny live CD features 12 songs performed live in Germany in 1978 -- possibly for television? Not sure about that, but at one point Joey says what sounds like, "It's nice to be here in Germany - on your tube." Either way, one thing's for certain - at only 21 minutes long, this CD is SHORT. In fact, you know that comedian Martin Short? He named himself after how short this CD is. It's still really good though. In fact, you know who loves it? Country music star Lyle Lovett! However, I used to know a guy named Cliff Krapp who didn't like it at all. And don't even get me STARTED about Steve Ifihavetolistentothispieceofshitagaini'llpissinyourear! Ha ha! Yeah, don't do that! No sir! Ha ha!

It took me like 30 minutes to come up with that joke and it doesn't even have a punchline. FUCK!

Don't Come Close features three songs from the debut, two each from LH and RTR, and four from RTR GODDAMMIT TO

(two from Road, four from Rocket)

As the title suggests, this tiny ripoff CD provides one of the very few chances to hear "You Don't Come Close" performed live in concert. And it sounds great! Johnny plays the chords on his distorted Mosrite of course, and at the end of each run (in the chorus), he surprisingly makes the effort to play that little note sequence that takes the riff back up to its first chord. What's really neet is that in this distorted guitar context, that little note run up to and including the top chord sound nearly identical to what would soon become the breathtaking godsending audio bliss tidal wave of life sunday drive carousel popsicle free sex smiling puppy chocolate chip cookie that is the recurring guitar motif in "Sitting In My Room"! Listen to it on for size and see me!

Other highlights include Dee Dee hitting about 60 wrong bass notes in "Blitzkrieg Bop" (including the very FIRST note), Dee Dee missing the high vocals in "I Don't Care," Joey inserting the syllable "-ayyy-" in the middle of the word "cretin," and Johnny (for the 134th time out of a possible 1600) playing "California Sun" as if moving his finger a single inch to reach the fifth note is not just difficult but, due to a quirk in the Earth's gravitational pull, COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE.

The sound quality is great and most of the songs are too (though "She's The One" can suck it), but you'd have to be potty to spend money on such a short, pointless release. What are you, potty?

The best thing about You Don't Come Close To Being A Full-Length CD is that listening to it at 2 AM last night made me have a dream about The Ramones! Sparcifically, I dreamt I was in a car with Joey and Marky Ramone, who were talking about the band's imminent breakup (which had not yet occurred in Dreamtime). I asked them if they intended to continue wearing leather jackets and donning their hair in Ramones fashion after the breakup and they both answered in the affirmative. Then, when Marky went into a store to buy something, I started talking to Joey about the "rumors that he'd died of cancer" that were going around a few years back. He seemed surprised, having not heard the rumors, and went on to explain that he wanted to leave the band because there were so many things he wanted a chance to do before he died. His example was something like "I mean, what if I want to take a train to Tanzania?"

Unfortunately, when I awoke this afternoon, Joey was indeed dead, as were Dee Dee and Johnny. I had butchered them all while sleepwalking.

Add your thoughts?

End Of The Century - Sire 1980.
Rating = 9

Yes, that's a 9. I'm aware that the Spin Alternative Record Guide gave it a 3, but that's okay. They gave Patti Smith's Horses a 10. Anyway, this is the album where the "bruddahs" (my least-favorite term that writers use when referring to the Ramones - and I see it used often) teamed up with washed-up alcoholic legendary 60's producer Phil Spector. The Ramones play fast and cheap; Phil works slow and expensively. Clashes were inevitable. Phil drove Johnny to distraction by spending eight hours mixing the opening chord to "Rock 'n' Roll High School" (the godlike theme song to a godawful movie starring the Ramones). Dee Dee and Phil pulled weapons on each other. The whole thing was a disaster. But I'll paint myself a slightly unattractive hue of orange if I don't love the resulting LP of an album!

Critics often gripe about the "tired melodies" and "reactionary lyrics," but I just don't hear it. Okay, I hear the reactionary lyrics (I just don't give a crap!), but where are these tired melodies? "Let's Go," "High Risk Insurance," and "This Aint Havana" rock with the best of 'em, "The Return of Jackie and Judy," "All The Way," and the heavenly "I Can't Make It On Time" are as catchy as anything Phil had ever come within ten miles of, "Danny Says" is yet another brings-tears-to-your-eyes ballad, and "Chinese Rock," "Rock 'n' Roll High School," and "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" are dang classics!! The only weak melody is "I'm Affected" (the third rewrite of "I Don't Care")! So what's the problem?

And, songs aside, this album sounds fantastic. Phil piled so many layers of guitars on top of each other that every song sounds completely unlike any punk rock (or, for that matter, ANY rock!) that had come before. Distorted fuzz guitars with tons of reverb lurk in the background with clear lead guitars on top, and bits of keyboards, violins, horns, and sound effects rising and falling from the warm din; it's really remarkably done. At times, Joey's vocals are a bit too trebly, but the music always sounds fresh and fuzzy - even when it's trying to rock your skinny buttock.

And personally, I enjoy a good Reaganite lyric like "You say you're poor and uneducated / You got no chance 'cuz you're hated / Just like the cats in the garbage can / When's their time coming, man?" And, uh, "Let's Go" and "High Risk Insurance" are pro-war songs. Say what you will. I like 'em, anyway.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
I love "I'm Affected" It was good enough to be rewritten EXACTLY as "We Want The Airwaves" the next year. Great song. Hated this at first, but definitely grows on you. And hey, it was gonna be called All The Way. End Of The Century was chosen later. (I have an "All The Way-1981" button to prove it!

cellings@telepost.no (Christian Ellingsen)
I very much agree with you here, except for "I'm Affected." It was my favorite from the start together with "Can't Make It On Time." Very good songs, very cool sound.

paaske@sn.no (Julius Paaske)
The best album money can buy. No weak songs. Joey has never performed better. My favorites are "Rock N Roll Radio," "Rock N Roll High School," and "This Ain't Havana". This is Rock N Roll!!!

remmert@gte.net (Rick Emmert)
I saw Rock 'n' Roll High School, and I thought it was pretty damn cool. The fact that they filmed the concert scene and laid down new live music tracks for it is worth adding this gem to your RAMONES collection.

pbfss@qldnet.com.au (John Maitland)
I love this album for no other reason than "Baby I love You" gives me a legitamate excuse to have the Ramones perform my wedding waltz!

EnCEisele@aol.com
Did everyone forget "Baby I love you"? It's my favorite song. I even danced to it at my wedding.

reech@dorsai.org
Yep, it was suppozed to be called All The Way. The Forest Hills Four attempted to break new ground but , give em an A for effort but a c for execution. I think Spector killed this album. "Rock N Roll Radio" and "All The Way" are amazing, and "Baby I love You" is a goof, but Joey is just over-vocalizing (thanks Phil!) on "i'm Affected" and "I Can't Make It On Time". "The return of Jackie and Judy" and "This Ain't Havana" are just coasting and "Danny Says" is cheesy (and not good cheezy either).

However, Rock N Roll High School is one of the Greatest Fuckin' movies of all time and anyone that don't like it can stick their head up Rex Reed's Ass!

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
I just LOVE this album- it totally rocks!!! It's great. Some of their best songs are on this album. It's one of the best albums ever!

wookie@vmicro.com (Johnny)
You know, these reviews were going along very nicely until a certain negative comment was made concerning the movie Rock 'n Roll High School. "God Awful"? This is my favorite movie and it is hard to imagine anyone with their head on straight not liking it. Especially a Ramones fan! But don't worry Mark, in time I will find the decency to forgive you.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
Holy crap, this is different. But different doesn't always mean bad! When you've got songs like "I'm Affected" (which sounds a lot better when they show it on the We're Outta Here video), "Let's Go", "High Risk Insurance", and "I Can't Make It On Time"; I think it evens everything out. And I'd also like to third or fourth the emotion on the movie Rock 'N' Roll High School. It kicks ass! My uncle got it for me for Christmas, and I absolutely love it! Prindle, how could you, a huge Ramones fan, not think Rock 'N' Roll High School is one of the coolest movies ever??? It boggles my mind! I demand an explanation!!!!!

billsangry@aol.com
You can't even hear Johnny on "Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio." He's so far down in the mix on the whole album it's sickening. Aside from "I'm Affected," I can't listen to this one..

WBinder007@aol.com
This is a five, thanks to Phil Spector. If the guitar tone from one of the first two albums was present on this one, I'd give it an eight, no questions asked. As it stands, though, I grab Boris The Sprinkler's cover of the entire album whenever I want to hear these songs.

Xspex27@aol.com (James Mohr)
I believe you meant to type "The godlike themesong to God's favorite movie Rock n' Roll High School." I didn't "get" the Ramones until I saw it, but I've been a fan ever since. Its one of the best and most entertainings film of its genre (what genre? teensploitation, drive-in, rock musical--take your pick), and even if you don't dig the Riff Randall parts you've got to appreciate the great concert footage. Gabba gabba hey!

mdenster@yahoo.com (Adrian Denning)
This was the first Ramones album I ever heard, although not the first Ramones I ever heard - which is just as well given the Spector production here. The Ramones do their usual thing for the most part - and Spector does his. Besides, one of my favourite songs EVER is 'Can't Make It On Time'. I don't know why....just it gets to me every time.

tomplotkin@sbcglobal.net
This is my generation's Exile on Main St., totally misunderstood by idiot critics (and seemingly, the Ramones themselves. Only Joey seemed to dig it) The Ramones stake their claim to the whole of American Rock 'n Roll, not just parochial NYC punk, and Phil Spector (who legitimately loved this band) justifies his own sorry existence by giving them the gift of the biggest wall of sound he ever came up with. After this album, Johnny stole Joey's girlfriend and the magic was gone, they started claiming individual song credits, they brought in ringers to play guitar solos on the albums, DeeDee started shooting up again, Joey started boozing and not caring, and the band went down the toilet. But this record just sounds better and better with each passing year. (Except "Chinese Rocks" -- interesting to hear the boys jump from carbona and glue to hard drugs, but Johnny Thunders friggin' OWNS this song; Joey just ain't a convincing junkie. Still, the tunes darkness adds to EoftheC's stylistic diversity). Did I say Exile on Main St? It's also my generations White Album and London Calling. (wait a minute, London Calling is my generation's London Calling -- but End of the Century is a better London Calling than London Calling...)

OSLANE@student.gvsu.edu
Save for the right wing lyrics, I like this album as much as any other early ramones album. How not? It has "Chinese Rocks" on it. I'm not up no my rock presses - how "important" is the the Spin altnerative record guide in the music world. I was under the impression that this was regarded by most critics as one of the ramones good albums. And what's wrong with 'Rock n Roll Highscool' (the movie) (save for that terrible gym class scene)?

franklin.arbour@gmail.com
Something weird happened to me while listening to this album today, instead of "I'm affected" I heard "I'm a faggot." Now it's all I hear, fucking fedex arrow all over again. Anyway, I agree with your rating. End of the Century was a great rock album, one of the most overlooked and underrated perhaps. All those great little melodies, and "Let's Go" peels paint. If any other band would have recorded it, they would have been energized enough to create the mother of all follow up albums, but since this is the Ramones, they instead chose to self-destruct spectacularly and that's kind of why we love them, right?

Great stuff, a definite 9.

Ben
My personal favorite Ramones album. People (including the Ramones themselves) hated it when it came out, but its reputation seems to have gotten better over the years. I think it's their best album, and it would gave been pretty cool if the Ramones and Phil Spector did more than just one album. The wall of sound works wonders for them. Every song is excellent. The best one here is "Chinese Rock."

Add your thoughts?

Raisin' Hell - Bootleg
Rating = 9

Where do bad grapes go when they die? HA! LET'S LAUGH!

No but seriously, this CD includes ten tracks performed live at the Paradiso in Amsterdam on February 11, 1980, 15 from the Roxy in 1976, and then the original "5-song demo" that I reviewed at the beginning of the page when we were so much younger than today. Those who appreciate incorrect song title listings will crap their shirts when they see this one -- "I Don't Hang Around With You"? (the song is actually "Go Mental" - figure that one out) "Hang Ten"? (it's "California Sun," but Joey shouts "Hang Ten" right before the song starts, in a calculated attempt to make bootleggers appear foolish) And best of all -- "Listen To My Feet"! Next time, I'll listen to my feet/Next time, I'll be sweet! Other MAJOR-LEAGUE FUCKUPS include tracks listed as "Gabba Gabba Hey" and "End Of The Century" when nothing could be further from the truth.

Altogether, when you've sorted out all of the foul-ups, bleeps and blunders, the disc in its entirety features two Road To Ruin and End Of The Century tracks, six from Leave Home (actually only five, but they performed "California Sun" at both shows so you have to listen to Johnny demolish that relatively simple guitar line not once but thrice), and NINETEEN(!!!) from the 14-song debut. That's EVERY SINGLE SONG, plus an extra version of "I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You," "53rd and 3rd" and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," and TWO extra versions of "Judy Is A Punk" (from both concerts and the demo tape).

Man oh man were the Ramones a great band. Good God did Johnny downstroke fast as hell in the early days. I love him! He got his own statue in the cemetary where he was buried. I saw a photo on Yahoo! The sound is good too. It's always good to have good sound. Here, I took some notes. A few things to note regarding this particular bootleg:

-- Joey screws up a verse of "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" by singing the wrong words
-- Joey announces "Rock 'N Roll High School" as "our new single"
-- In the 1980 "Judy Is A Punk," the entire chorus consists of Dee Dee and Joey bubblegum-singing "DI-IE! DI-IE! DI-IE! DI-IE!"
-- Even by 1980, Joey was getting lazy on some songs; he does a godawful job on "I Wanna Be Sedated," "I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You" and "Pinhead." When the 1976 show finally shows up, you're all like, "Dude! He was so much better back then!" and shit.
-- Johnny somehow ROYALLY frigs up his guitar part during "Pinhead," leading Joey to Steven Tyler some ad libs ("Come on come on come on come on yeah yeah yeah!")
-- During the 1976 show, Dee Dee and Joey BOTH sing "Glad To See You Go" in its entirety
-- Joey dedicates "Havana Affair" to "All you salsa fans out there!"
-- In the 1976 "Judy Is A Punk," Dee Dee can't hit his vocal note ("-aa-aaade") for some reason
-- Johnny plays the middle part of "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" CORRECTLY for a change! Maybe because they only play it twice instead of four times? Also, "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" isn't listed on the CD cover, but it IS on here.
-- The 5-song demo versions of "Judy Is A Punk" and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" are still by far the most beautiful versions ever recorded.

Dee Dee, Joey and Johnny Ramone's early deaths have all been linked to bootleg sales. If your goal is to keep killing them over and over and over again, don't miss Raisin' Hell - it kicks ass! Hell, maybe you'll even help kill C.Jay!

Add your thoughts?

Pleasant Dreams - Sire 1981.
Rating = 7

Uhhh....okay. This would be the start of the "Ramones aren't as good as they used to be" era. You see, they wanted a hit. They wanted to be accepted by the mainstream. They wanted to make some money. And three of them were chemically dependent. So anyway, Pleasant Dreams is a bubblegum pop album. Nothing more, nothing less. But it's a good bubblegum pop album. If you listen to it with the attitude, "The Ramones founded punk rock," you'll end up breaking the record over your knee by the end of side one, but if you think to yourself, "This is that one Ramones album where they decided to do bubblegum pop," you might thoroughly enjoy it.

"The KKK Took My Baby Away," "Don't Go," "She's A Sensation," "7-11," and "Come On Now" are all pretty much the same song; they all sound like The Bay City Rollers's "Saturday Night," but slower. However, they're nice enough, and Joey sings them well. And the rest of the songs are actually memorable! "All's Quiet On The Eastern Front," "You Sound Like You're Sick," "You Didn't Mean Anything To Me," and "Sitting In My Room" are the Ramones of old -- fast, fun, and rockin' like a truck. It's just hard to notice them between all the sappy stuff. And the three others? "We Want The Airwaves" is a decent fourth take on "I Don't Care," "This Business Is Killing Me" is a poorly-paced Four Seasons-esque song (but without the fruity falsetto), and "It's Not My Place (In The 9 To 5 World)" is a remarkably different kind of song for them - the drumbeat is screwed up, the bass is thumpy instead of smooth, and hmm.... I don't know! It sounds more like early Who than early Ramones. Great song, though! Again, you might grow to like this album; you might not. I did, but I'm special that way. Most people hate it (it inspired DC punkers Government Issue to sing, "The Ramones used to be a hit / Now they're just a pile of shit!"), so, like most things, it's up to you.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Bubblegum pop? Yep. But only in the sound. To these ears, "KKK" rips off Cheap Trick's "He's A Whore". "She's A Sensation" is another underrated song in the Ramones catalog... Imagine if Stasium had produced this one?

dbailey@rci.rogers.com (Derek Bailey)
I enjoyed this album very much. Yes it lost a little bite but it still sounded great to my ears. I've always liked Graham Gouldman too.

cellings@telepost.no (Christian Ellingsen)
First time I was disappointed, but it began to grow after a couple of listenings. If you don't compare it to the first records, you will find it very good. Else, it sucks. "KKK" is one of their finest moments.

reech@dorsai.org
Oh man, I almost cried when I got this album. It is sooooo lame. I have no idea what the hell they were thinkin. Here it is 1981, Punk Music is exploding and they come out with Pablum. Pure shit. Graham Gouldman (the producer) should have been shot. "This Business Is Killing Me" and "It's Not My Place (In The 9 To 5 World)" are so pathetic they defy criticism. A pitiful effort. Johnny Ramone must hate this one even more then me!

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
I totally LOVE this album too! I think it's also one of the best. True it's a little slower than the others, but it's great!! How could someone not like it? Lots of fun songs and Joey can really sing on this album! It's wonderful!

ngp33@huroned.edu.on.ca (Fraser Tebbutt)
"We want the airwaves" doesn't sound at all like I don't care, but I would agree that all the other songs that you have mentioned sound like it do. This album is harder to find so I think it is a collector.

sjc@oso.chalmers.se (The Mooncat)
it's fucking brilliant - I'm listening to it now, so it might not be oio oio oi but it's a shit more damned punk rock than this green day bullshit we get these days - all punk is is bubblegum so take yer black flag and stick it up your fucking prepubescent asshole you metallica tshirt national health glasses geek gimme this, rezillis, cramps, gravedigger 5 etc anyday

jarwood@ui.urban.org (Jay Arwood)
I felt it necessary to respond to your ugly smear of the Bay City Rollers. Their song, "Saturday Night" is one of the best pop tunes of all time! Why the pounding drum beat leading to those heavenly hard rock guitar chords, repeated over and over...

Hey, nurse, what're you doing with that needle? Stop! Stopit...zzzzzzzzzzz

billsangry@aol.com
Ick...

okarovic@EUnet.yu (Ognjen Karovic)
I'm totally OK with Ramones pop albums like Pleasant Dreams and End Of The Century. I mean, they aren't as great as first four records, but if I compare them with mid and late eighties releases, this was definitely style where they should stay. "KKK" is one of the best pop songs I've ever heard in my life. She's A Sensation and 7-11 are great, too. Production is much better than it was on End Of The Century (especially drums!). New logo is cool, too.

mikharras@hotmail.com (Mike Harras)
This was the first Ramones record I bought & couldnt understand the big deal over these guys....SSSSnnnzzzzzz luckily after I picked up the first one, listened to it & said "oh ya.....uhh...gah.....uh uh uh!"

CaFFiNeADDiCkT@aol.com
Holy shit, its the scary guy from the neighborhood watch signs!!!I wonder if thats where Operation Ivy got the idea for the jumping guy for their albumz.

WBinder007@aol.com
Are you all fucking nuts? I love this one, way more than Road To Ruin. Sure, it has a few songs that suck, but name one Ramones album that doesn't. Don't Go sounds like a Brian Wilson song, if he only knew basic barre chords. The KKK Took My Baby Away, may rip off Cheap Trick's He's A Whore, but it also kicks the shit out of that song so it's okay. The opening two songs are great as well. There's a ton of other cool songs here, as well. To me, this one's a nine, regardless of what everyone else says.

pedroandino@msn.com
what a weird album! even if you smoked weed then dance with yer' girl you are number one ! come baby i'm ready! the kkk took my baby away so funny. the ramones never did a bubblegum pop album in thier careers but this album yet again is a lost classic! i got many lost classics: peter criss, rock in a hard place, october, not of this earth, surf's up, the chlli peppers debut album, instant replay, love beach, fly by night, odessa, an american prayer, empty sky, for those about to rock we salute you, adore, louder than love, the elder, bedtime stories, the fragile, a trick of the tail, mind games, and finally,meddle! i love the ramones! viva punk!

bylcote555@yahoo.com
As I was walking down the hall in 8th grade to my in-house suspension in 1985, my friend Brian came up to me and said, "Hey you like that punk rock stuff, right?", and handed me a copy of Pleasant Dreams. "You can have it, it was my brothers", he said. I said thanks and went into the little suspension room. I sat there all day just reading the lyric sheet. Those lyrics changed my life. It was the first Ramones album I had ever seen, I still had never heard it. The painful angst and the us vs. them sentiment of "Sitting In My Room" is sheer poetry.The sad '50's style heartbreak song "7-11"is amazing.. "I'm just a junk food guy/and I am telling you why", need more be said? Anyway, I got home at about 3:30 pm that day and played that album repeatedly, in some kind of stupor. It was the greatest fucking thing I had ever heard to this point. I still rank it in my top 5 Ramones albums and it blows End of the Century out of the water.You should probably turn it up and play the vinyl of this again. Maybe you're listening to the c.d. or something. "It's Not My Place in the 9 to 5 world..."I hear ya Joey, I hear ya...

prole33@yahoo.com
this is the 5th best RAMONES album...right behind "road to ruin" and well ahead of "too tough to die". its also the last record where joey actually sings in his voice...as opposed to his cookie monster wanna be HC punk creepy voice. this is a GREAT powerpop record...and easily as good as CHEAP TRICKs "in color/ B+W". everyone whines about this record...and it wouldbve been MUCH better with todd rundgren or ed stasium at the knobs...but the RAMONES couldve survived with dignity had they followed their muses and wrote loud guitar pop songs as opposed to chasing trends from 1983 on...

Ben
The songs seem to have just gotten stupider for this one. I know they were reaching for the mainstream charts with this album, but the songs sound more like parodies of chart hits than anything.

The most obvious rip off is "We Want the Airwaves," which sounds like a dumb ripoff of "I'm Affected." The only three songs I like on this album are "The KKK Took My Baby Away," "Come on Now" and "Don't Go." Their first mediocre album. The production is also pretty lame, and Joey isn't singing that well.

Add your thoughts?

New Haven Agora Theatre 9/13/81 - Bootleg
Rating = 7

It's sweet of Joey Ramone to always say hello to whatever town he's playing in, especially right before the third track they perform, "Blitzkrieg Bop." "It's great to be back here in (INSERT CITY NAME HERE)," he says to many cheers, before continuing with either "Especially here in (INSERT CLUB NAME HERE) - Take it, Dee Dee!" or if he can't remember the name of the club, "And it's great to see all of you again - Take it, Dee Dee!" If the concert is being sponsored by or aired over a local radio station, he adds, "We'd like to dedicate this one to (INSERT RADIO STATION HERE) - Take it, Dee Dee!" Of course, after 1989, this became "Take it, C. Jay!" but the basic sentiment was the same. Nobody could be sweeter than Joey Ramone at Harris Teeter. Harris Teeter's a Southern grocery store chain - you can go there to shop or for shelter from rain. Sometimes they're open for 24 hours - you can go there to shop or to hide from rainshowers. If you've not done your shopping, that's just a small blunder - so go to Harris Teeter! Get away from the thunder. Shopping at Harris Teeter never is boring - go there to shop or if outside it's pouring. To not have a stocked fridge can truly be frightening - so go there for food and to hide from the lightning. If Harris Teeter has a big sale on beef logs - Go there for food! It's raining cats and dogs. Harris Teeter is great, this couldn't be truer! The South is a hellhole of rain and manure.

Otherwise, hey! Did you know that even in 1981 (and I don't mean the Public Image Ltd. song "1981"), the Ramones began their "gigs" with a tape of Ennio Morricone's "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly"? I sure didn't - I thought that was a '90s development. God, what a bore! Can you imagine as a band member having to listen to that shitty song every single night of your professional life? No wonder they were a bunch of cokeheads, heroin addicts, alcoholics and Republicans!

This bootleg seems a little bit sped up in the beginning. Joey's voice seems a little higher than usual, and the ill-considered opening track, "Do You Remember Cock-In-Hole Radio?," seems a little faster than it usually does. It's also a pretty terrible monophonic recording. You can hear all the instruments though, surprisingly. But I tell you what - Joey sounds bored to tears with their early material. He sings the Pleasant Dreams naterial with lovely tunefulness and conviction (going so far as to sing the opening guitar line of "We Want The Airwaves" because Johnny is incapable of performing it!), but just runs through the early material by rote, half-assing everything, singing it all in 2 or 3 notes, not bothering to even try hitting the high notes. Nobody wants to hear that. Didn't he realize that he was being recorded for a live bootleg release? He should learn to take some pride in his profession and give 110% every night, like today's top performers (Bruce Springsteen, Guns 'N Roses) do.

Here are a few more odds and ends from my notes, taken while listening, listened to while writing:

- Johnny's guitar disappears in the beginning of "Surfin' Bird"! Why? Where does it go? Did he leave the stage for a moment to cast a vote for Ronald Reagan?
- Joey lets Dee Dee handle a lot of vocals by himself -- including the a capella section of "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," which he performs so out of tune, your eyes will bug out of your head and dangle southward attached to the sockets only by colorful slinkies that make them boing comedically up and down.
- "I Wanna Be Sedated" is too slow and never-changing to work in the live context.
- They play SEVEN songs from Pleasant Dreams!!!! SEVEN!!!! "This Business Is Killing Me," "All's Quiet On The Eastern Front," "We Want The Airwaves," "The KKK Took My Baby Away," "You Sound Like You're Sick," "She's A Sensation" and "Come On Now." Can you imagine going to a Ramones concert and having to sit through more than HALF of that album!??! What I really need to do now is get a live show from the Subterranean Jungle tour -- what did they play off that album aside from "Psychotherapy"? Anything? God, I hope not "Time Has Come Today"! What a pile of CRAP! The Chambers Brothers, if dead, must have been rolling in their graves!
- Someone in the crowd starts singing "Rock And Roll High School" based only on the drum intro. Ha! Fans - will we ever trust them again?
- The show basically woulda ruled if not for Joey's laziness/fatigue. As it is, it's still good. SEVEN SONGS from Pleasant Dreams!!!! That's hilarious!!!! That'd be like going to a Rolling Stones concert and having to sit through three-quarters of Physical Graffiti!

Aside from the PD tracks, you'll find here 8 Rockets, 4 Ends, 6 debuts, 4 Leaves and 2 Roads. That's something that I'm curious about -- why did they play so few songs from Road To Ruin live over the years? There are some CORKERS on there!!!! Why no "Bad Brain," "I'm Against It," "Go Mental" or "I Wanted Everything" live? That's a great album! Who the hell wants to hear "Do You Wanna Dance?" and "Do You Remember How Boring Rock And Roll Radio Is?" for the fifty billionth time? And how about replacing "Here Today Gone Tomorrow" with "Questioningly" every once in a while? I'll never understand you people. Eat dit and shy!

Oh and another thing -- Too Tough To Die? I GUESS NOT!!!! (because you all died within like two years of each other)

Add your thoughts?

The Chinese Wall - On The Road 1991
Rating = 9

"Where were you on July 20th, 1982?"

I think we've all had a meddling prosecutor ask us that question once or twice before, but now there's a foolproof answer! From this point on, on July 20th, 1982, you were in New York watching the Ramones kick some ass. Kapiche?

"Ahhh yes," you'll be able to say with your hand firmly on the Bible, "I remember it well. The band came onstage to thundering applause, and Joey grabbed the mic and said, 'YAAAAAAAAY! It's true! We are the Ramones!' Heh heh, yeah me and Billy The Cheese were both there, there in the back watching the kings of Queens putting on the greatest show of their lives. So whatever you heard about us dumping a Monte Carlo into the Hudson River -- that's an old wives' tale. Fugeddaboutit!

"In fact, why don't you talk to my brother Vinnie? Bring him up here and he'll tell ya all about it. I came home that night reekin' of cigar smoke and La Fleur Petrus on account of I was slam dancing in the pit with all those fuckin' kids. But how else would I a-known that they played four songs each offa Rocket To Russia, Pleasant Dreams and End Of The Century, three each from the debut and Leave Home and two from Road To Ruin? Ba-da-bing!

"Hey look, I'm a nice guy. An honest businessman. Now why would I go messin' around with 400 pounds of uncut cocaine? I was at the rock and roll show! How many people you know can say they got the chance to hear "This Business Is Killing Me" played live, eh? Or "All's Quiet On The Eastern Front," eh? Or "Come On Now," which admittedly is not a very good song but eh? Or "I'm Affected," eh? Or "Needles And Pins," complete with a mention of the Searchers in Joey's intro, eh? But don't get me started about that little spic punk that tried to leave right in the middle of the set. Never go against 'We're A Happy Family.'"

HJa hja! We've all had a good laugh at my ethnic stereotyping but now it's time to get down to business. What is really in store for you, the consumer, if you lay out your hard-earned green (unless you're a Puerto Rican, in which case you sit on your couch and collect welfare) for this Ramones bootleg? Well mister, today's your lucky day. I'm just the guy to tell you! You see, not only have I HEARD this bootleg -- I AM this bootleg!

(*'Mr. Bootleg' theme song begins playing*)

Who's the guy with red-rimmed eyes? Mr. Bootleg! Mr. Bootleg!
Who's the man that you can't stand? Mr. Bootleg! Mr. Bootleg!
Who's the bloke that blows coke? Mr. Bootleg! Mr. Bootleg!
Who's the fag whose second car's a Jag? MSKDLF

So I was sitting around reading a Reader's Digest and farting through the confession window the other day when

If you ever wondered how Dee Dee managed to play his bass lines while jumping all over the stage like a crazy lunatic guy, BUY THIS BOOTLEG. Because the bass guitar is mixed louder than the regular one, you get to hear exactly what Dee Dee was up to during those heated, pill-driven moments. And it is HILARIOUS. See, he does manage to slap the correct notes, but... in no rhythm whatsoever!!! Oh my good grief, you'll be laughing til daylight turns to redlight at his half-breed "Thub-thb-thb-thub. Thub-th-thub" haphazardry. On the lighter side, you'll also get to hear him play the fairly difficult-for-a-junkie bass lines for "I'm Affected" and "Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio?"! Which brings up another issue.

Here's the other issue: At what point during the Ramones' career did somebody say to them, "Hey guys! You know that really long, boring song with the generic '50sy chord sequence whose only saving grace is the elaborate Phil Spector orchestration? You should play that every goddamned night of your lives!"

On an unrelated topic, here's Joey in a rare piece of stage patter, never to be heard again: "Well, this tune's off our most recent LP, entitled Pleasant Dreams. But DID YOU KNOW?????? This Business IS Killing Me!"?

Also, don't be fooled by the lying cover. "Do You Wanna Dance" may not be listed, but it's on here. And it'd better fuckin' remember it.

On a separate and unrelated topic, Joey halfasses "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment," but they put wildass echoes on the chorus that make it sound neat. Likewise, Marky plays a ridiculously long drum intro to "Rock And Roll High School," and Joey STILL starts in the wrong key! And he sings "Let's Dance" all on one note! Awful! Terrible! Luckily he sounds great on the rest of the songs, really giving it my all.

Dee Dee and Joey sing the chorus of "Commando" in HARMONY, it's been reported! "Teenage Lobotomy" - what's with the lazy chord changes? Everybody notices them. What, was Johnny too old and fat to make the speedy-quick chord jumps like in the album version? Fuckin' jackoff putz. He DESERVED to die!!!! (For eating my beans that time)

Who? Johnny Ramone? No! I thought we were talking about Little Johnny Ramboni! I don't know no Johnny Ramone. But that fuckin' Johnny Ramboni. That fuckin' kid. I'm just sittin' there mindin' my own business when ba-da-bing! Fugeddaboutit! Kapiche?

The coda of "Suzy" goes right into the intro to "Let's Dance" because they have the same drumbeat!

Joey announces that there's a full moon, "but you can't see it cuz it's rainin' outside." That's gonna be the part that convinces the jury that you had nothing to do with the boxcar of decimated orphans. How would a guy who spent the evening dicing up children as they screamed in agony know that there was a full moon? Answer: Na-da.

That's Italian. For "Not Guilty."

Also, everybody in the jury is on the "take," but there's still a chance that the judge is on the "make," and being that this is "make or break," we gotta "fake" or there'll be a big "ache" and no celebration "cake" in the "wake" of this "shake"-down - you'll need a "rake" to dig up the "lake" where Johnny the "Snake" will be after he's "baked" for safety's "sake," so put on the "brakes" and get "nake"-d in the middle of an earth-"quake" - that's MY "stake", "Jake."

(*sucks on the business end of a cigar, shoots everybody in the courtroom*)

Ba-da-bing!

(*goes out into street, shoots everybody in town square*)

Kapiche?

(*drives around country, shoots every living thing in the continental United States*)

Fugeddaboutit!

Add your thoughts?

Subterranean Jungle - Sire 1983.
Rating = 6

Ehhh.... The things chemical dependence will do to a band. Three of these songs are weak covers, four rely on the same exact riff that had already been used in "Blitzkrieg Bop," "I Wanna Be Well," "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," "Wild Thing," "She's A Sensation," "La Bamba," "Louie Louie" - my, it's a tired riff. Still, there's some rockin'. "Psychotherapy" is one of those classics you read so much about in common literature of the plebes, and both "Outsider" and "Highest Trails Above" smoke a chimney in the rib roast. And the mix is cool as McGuyver. Tons of guitars piled on top of each other, with a more screwed-up chorusy feel to some of it. Some neat effects (my favorite - the weird two-chord fade-in to "Psychotherapy" that later reveals itself to be the weird two-chord fade-out of "Every Time I Eat Vegetables, It Makes Me Think Of You) and a sense of fun help to make it a more enjoyable listen, but it's too uneven (a few of the songs are mighty mighty sucktones) and there aren't enough new riffs to justify its existence. Pretty good, but don't get it unless you're already a fan.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
I remember right before this album came out, Marky had been dumped. The album was supposedly pushed back to work on the cover art. Were they, or were they not gonna put him on it??...well, they did, as we all can see...AWAY from the rest of the guys, and a tiny, bleached-out picture...how absurd...worst album sleeve of any Ramones album, sez I.

The music? Blimey! I became confused after hearing the first three songs..."Little Bit O'Soul"?? No thank you! Group seems really uncertain about what they should be doing...Dee Dee tries mightily on this one: "Time Bomb" is one of my favorites..."Everytime..." is funny, although it tries too hard to be "Why Is It Always This Way"--if not musically, then thematically...

Why did they use Richie Cordell? I personally hated this production, but it WAS 1983, and a fairly successful album by Joan Jett had made something of a splash with the same bottom heavy/top heavy ick... Still... it's the Ramones, by God. ...but I give it a 5.

buttbump@juno.com (Popster)
The electronic drums on this one SUCK!

paaske@sn.no (Julius Paaske)
I think this is the most underrated Ramones album. The album has weak songs, but most of them are great. "Somebody Like Me". One of Dee Dee`s masterpieces. And the greatest Sweet-slow-love-Ramones-song; "My Kind Of A Girl" can make me cry. How can you give the album, which contains "Psycho Therapy" a 6? OK, I admit "Time Has Come Today" is the worst song they ever had put on a Ramones album. Sounds like the Stones to my ears.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
I think it's great! All good songs, even the covers. "Psycho Therapy" and all the other songs are great, and the vegetable song is hilarious!

relax@bellsouth.net
May I remind you all that we're talking about the Ramones? Anything they did, be it crap or not, is always ten times better than what was popular at the time. I'll take Sub Jungle over any other b.s. that was pumped out in '83. Even over bands like Minor Threat and Black Flag. Yeah, their records might have been grittier, but if it weren't for the Ramones, those kids would be rockin' to Zep and Aerosmith.

Bzscz97@aol.com
I think this Lp is underrated. It's much better than Pleasant Dreams. If your just discovering the Ramones or don't have this album I think you will find it to be a nice surprise.

P.S.: And what's your problem with the slow songs. The Ramones slow songs are some of the best slow songs available, (lest any Celine Dion fan think otherwise!)

dkastiga@rcvideo.com (Debbie Kastigar)
Pick and whine all you want, this is the band that saved Rock N' Roll in the 80's. At the time when MTV was trying to shove the Thompson Twins and Duran Duran down our collective throats, the college scene turned to the Ramones for salvation.

They kept rock alive and real and were always the boys next door. Partied with them at Bethany, WV; never be the same!

billsangry@aol.com
I tried REAL hard to like this one... Then I listened to "Leave Home".... You can't polish a turd... Sorry...

TVEye70@aol.com
The only truly weak point in the Ramones catalogue. Adios Amigos, Pleasant Dreams, they all beat the crap out of this. Even Brain Drain is better. The songs that aren't covers are pale, ugly rewrites of past highs. No one's doing particularly well in this sorry mess - and the production, though coming from a pair of 60's heroes, is way over the top with the 80's effects. "Psycho Therapy" is wicked cool and "Outsider"'s pretty good too, but there's not too much to recommend this. Not to the detriment of the Ramones (saviors of rock?), but this one's a 4/10.

cuthbert@vianet.on.ca
this is an lp/cd that i keep returnin to esp for Time Bomb sung by Dee Dee I got a chance to tell you off, and Im gonna use it well, everybody everywhere you can all go to hell! man i crank this one up for the kiddies

spinaltomek@hotmail.com
speaking of the "tired riff". you are right pointing out that the cord sequence A-D-E, or alternatively C-F-G or G-D-E or any other using the chords I-IV-V is not the most original chord sequence ever. actualy it's the most unoriginal riff you can think of. it's the standard blues chords. every bassist, guitarist, piano player learns the blues that way. and most rockers and punk rockers will at least cover some songs in early stages of their band before writing their own songs.

but it's not a boring or tired riff. it's a cool riff. blitzkrieg bop rocks! it's one of the most popular ramones songs! and there are plenty, milion rock, pop, blues, country songs using that chord sequence. and they are cool and popular as hell! so how come the same riff may excite you so much you think you put on the coolest rock'n'roll record ever and it may also bore you and think: that one again????? don't they have any original ideas?

that's for me one of the most difficult questions in rocknroll history. the question of how important a chord sequence actually is and why it sometimes has such a great effect on your personal excitement and why sometimes not at all.

and it's probably the question to ask when you want to understand why people like the ramones! speaking of thousands of people getting excited by listening to "blitzkrieg bop" in the late seventies? was that riff original then? hell no! overused as hell already! so why the excitement? because the sound of the ramones was new then? okay, but why does that record, that song then still excite people nowadays anyway? there are plenty of bands with that sound, harder faster better produced, many with better singers, faster guitarist...and yea probably more original riffs.

i don't make a terrible new statement by saying - there is more to a song than just a melody, some lyrics and chords or riffs played along.

i can't answer the question really, but i just want to point out that i doubt that there is something like a "tired riff". sure, it DOES annoy me as well hearing somebody play that chord sequence and thinking they recorded the coolest song in the world. but on the other hand i often enough hear a new song and get really excited by that one and think: wow, what genuises, they use such an old riff and still make a cool song!!

it's like rhyming. if you have the rhyme "i love you so, please don't go" nobody will think you are capable of actually writing lyrics. but if you incorporate the rhyme go-so in a more meaningful context, people will laugh and think: wow, cool, that man knows how to play along with words, although the rhyme is simple.

see, the first guy in blues/rock history to play A D E was not the most original person in the world, not a musical genuis and everybody who plays that chord sequence is a copycat asshole...i guess it's more the other way around. the first one to play A D E was a fine man. but the guitarist who nowadays pulls off a great song with that riff and excites you - THAT is a genuis!

so what makes a song exciting. i guess the riff or chord sequence is a part of it, but sometimes i think almost anything can be a cool chord sequence. look at slayer or the pixies or frank black or sonic youth or many of the other bands reviewed on this side. there are loads of people that came up with chord sequences nobody would think of as cool sounding or anything, but they CAN fit.

uh, so this is not really going anywhere. speaking of the ramones, i guess a lot of the fun/not fun comes from joeys singing. really. the basic concept stays the same, all the time! the bass plays root notes, the drums play 4/4 beats, the guitar power chords. so what, they never changed that. (almost never and never to a great extend). later they put in some keyboard here and there but instead of adding more excitement those songs are the most boring ones.

hell i guess the voice really is one of the most important thing in rock n roll history. and maybe not so much the actual capability of the singer to hit all the right notes, although its pleasent if that works, but more the mood he is in. you can really hear that joey was excited the first few years recording ROCK N ROLL records. because for a young guy i guess that IS the coolest thing to do! and everybody HEARS how bored he got later...

and boy, does one hear how much fun that guy from AC/DC had during the classic records, how much the beach boys really were in romantic love and how angry and pissed off mr johnny rotten was recording Never Mind The Bollocks. How depressed and confused and lost Kurt Cobain was. One hears and feels whether the singer is really feeling what the music wants to achieve....

i guess, even though it sounds strange - one does also HEAR and FEEL whether a guitarist really is excited or the bassist or drumer, even if they just play root notes or power chords or 4/4 beats. you just hear, that they love it, that they love playing along.

thats why i like the ramones or the pixies so much, because they recorded so many songs that don't necessarely transport the feeling of "i'm in love" or "i hate you" or "i'm bored" but just the feeling of "wow i love playing guitar and especially with these people". nice thing to hear, even more if you are a musician yourself.

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Too Tough To Die - Sire 1984.
Rating = 9

I originally gave the next three albums lower grades, but I think that was because this was one of my first review pages and I let myself be influenced by other critics and public opinion. Speaking for myself, I love the Richie era and get as many thrills out of these three records as I do from the "classic four." They're loud, mean, hard, catchy and fun as all get-out. So up your nose with a rubber hose, all you people who don't like shitty music!

Beddah. Having dumped Marky right after the completion of the last record (his alcoholism was ruining his playing), they picked Richard Beau (from some band called Velveteen) as his replacement. Wise choice. Where Tommy was basic but great, and Marky was a hard-hitting god until his sloshy habit rendered him a bit "thumpy" (as even really stupid drummers don't put it), Richie played like a heavy metal drummer - and it really helped pull the band together into a lean, mean hard rock machine. As many critics were kind enough to point out, this sounds like the true follow-up to Road To Ruin. Everything from the title to the cover to the words to the production to the riffs is MEAN, but exuberant!

It starts a little slow, but that's probably on purpose; they wanted to prove that they were a heavy rock band again. "Mama's Boy" feels like the two-minute intro to a song that never actually gets going (cool intro, though!), "I'm Not Afraid Of Life" sounds like a bitter rip-off of the Cars's "Candy-O" (perhaps purposely? Johnny was pretty vocal about his disgust that these "wimps" from Boston could become huge stars while the Ramones toiled in the underground), and the title track ...ahhh, sucks.

But then, man oh man, it gets a-cookin' dinner. Johnny's instrumental kickbuttathon "Durango 95" should have been the album-opener (instead, it soon became their concert-opener!), then Dee Dee's punk squelch "Wart Hog" really heats up the mezzanine before the just-as-speedy "Danger Zone" (with its stirring intro - Dee Dee: "Which song are we doing?" / Johnny: "Danger Zone!" / Dee Dee: "Oh.... Ready? 1-2-3-4!") does the same, getting you in the fist-thumping tear down the billiard hall mood just before bringing you into blissful Ramones pop heaven (and I mean ROCKIN' bliss heaven - not that bubblegum stuff!) with "Chasing The Night" (yes, it's the "Blitzkrieg Bop" riff, but it's still a terrific song), "Howling At The Moon" (yes, it's the "Blitzkrieg Bop" riff, but it's still a terrific song), and "Daytime Dilemma" (no, it's not the "Blitzkrieg Bop" riff, but it's still a turtleneck sweater). Man alive, can that Joseph sing! This stuff is SO good! Then "Planet Earth 1988" brings you back to the dark midtempo mood of the beginning of the record, "Human Kind" and "Endless Vacation" bring back the punk, and "No Go" lets you go home covered in pop bliss. That's four midtempo dark songs, five punk songs, and four loud, uptempo pop ditties. Now that's a dang Ramones album! Good stuff. Really. Seriously. It's not the classic Ramones from the 70's, but it's a new mean alive Ramones dedicated to good hard rock - not bubblegum pop. Yes sir. Buy it. And buy me a sandwich while you're out.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
I always heard it as: "Which song are we doing?" "Danger Zone" "ALREADY??" "1234!" (They were trying to get back to their 1-2 minute roots, after all...) "Daytime Dilemma" is a killer! ...I also give this album an 8.

UCFIRE@netcom.ca (Dave)
"Durango 95" is the best instrumental I have ever heard. "Wart Hog" rocks, "Endless Vacation" rocks, "Danger Zone" rocks, "Planet Earth 1988" is o.k. and "Mama's Boy" is also o.k. The rest of the album is not very good. I'm sorry for saying this but it is my opinion and I am entitled to it.

reech@dorsai.org
A great comeback. This mutha's got it all: Hardcore, great lyrics and kewl pop shit!

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
It's a good album. I agree that "Durango 95" is the best instrumental ever! Some songs are over-produced, but it's got some really great songs.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
I got this on a church trip that I was forced to go on, and it made it a little better. I had already heard "Mama's Boy" and "Wart Hog", which is absolutely excellent. But I was totally surprised by "Chasing the Night." What a fuckin great song! And "Endless Vacation" was very hardcore, which means very good. "Durango 95" is a little short, but is still good for an instrumental, although it relies on the chorus riff of "Wart Hog". Whatevva. Still really good. Except for the suckiness of "I'm Not Afraid of Life" and the other two four minute songs.

Hell yeeah. 9 out of 10. Only a 9 because of "I'm Not Afraid Of Life", although it doesn't leave my head when I listen to a few seconds of it. There's no way you can't love the songs that Dee Dee sings on; he's just too energetic. And goddamn, those three 4 minute songs in the middle are fuckin catchy! I challenge anyone to get "Chasing the Night" out of their head. Betcha can't eat just one. And Prindle, "Mama's Boy" is a damn good song! Don't knock it!!!! Hail to the Ramones!!!!!!!!!!!

Omay7@aol.com
Too Tough To Die was a true comeback for the Ramones."Wart Hog" "Durango95" "Danger Zone" "Too Tough To Die" and Mamas boy" are my favorites of the album.It was a complete turnaroung from the bublegum pop they had been doing on Pleasant dreams and Subbteranian Jungle (exept for Howling at the moon). Next To Rocket To Russia and Ramones Self Titled I think this is their best album.

pippen@netnet.net (Felipe)
i think this is one of their best albums. I guess that Richie Ramone was a big "open-mind-new-different-sound" for them. I just don't know what he's doing now!? If you can tell me I'll be glad.

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
This is the one that got me hooked on the Ramones. A great album throughout. I always felt that it had a "hardcore" type feel to it. How can anyone doubt Dee Dee's true talents after hearing gems like Wart Hog and Endless Vacation.

mytee4ce@infinet.com (Kelly Games)
This album kicked ass! I loved Humankind!! Me and Richie see eye to eye on things! Not to metion he looks good as hell!

matser@material.kth.se (Mats Ericsson)
"Mama´s Boy". Classic sing-along although none of my favourites. Cool to play on the guitar though. "I´m Not Afraid Of Life". I have to agree that this one really sucks. Too long, too slow and not the least exciting. "Too Tough To Die". Actually very good. Super-melodic verse, laid back chorus and then on to the E-A scatter in between. Played with low E this is one of the Ramone´s heavier songs. "Durango 95". Simple yet excellent, should´ve been put first. "Wart Hog" rocks. Besides from being a good song with Dee Dee´s "singing" adding to the aggression, I would say it´s much due to the right-on-the-note-hard-hitting druming performed by Richie Ramone. "Danger Zone". Pretty ordinary hardcore punk. Not classic Ramones. Fits good on the album. "Chasing The Night". This one is good but not great. As an opener for the two following pop-rock masterpieces it is a brilliant move. You really gets in the mood. "Howling At The Moon". I really like this one, especially the longer version on the album. It´s like a combination of "Blitzkrieg Bop"-"KKK" with a wonderfull bridge in between. "Daytime Dilemma" is also a great song. Great Riffs, wonderfull chorus in the end. "Planet Earth 1988". What is this crap I thought at first, but now I realise it rocks! (of course it´s very simple though) "Humankind" is good, melodic hardcore punk and "Endless Vacation" is cool. "No Go" ends the record in a groovy way, and you know this is not a fill-out. All in all I think this album is very good, it´s the 80´s Ramones at their best. The album is diverse, I like the mix of rock, metal, pop and punk, pick the best from each genré and what more can you ask for? Buy this one!

billsangry@aol.com
Ahhhhhhhh Yeah!!! Regardless of the bad blood caused by Ritchie's departure, I respect him on the strength of this album alone! Even the album cover will kick your ass!!!

okarovic@EUnet.yu (Ognjen Karovic)
Now this is nice album from "eighties Ramones"! They've made decent a-lot-of-different-styles record for the first (and only) time. Both good are punk and pop songs. Dee Dee's Wart Hog and Endless Vacation are great. Above all, the production on this album kicks ass! Tommy Ramone and Ed Stasium are the kings!!! Wish they were involved in every single Ramones release. This sounds fresh even in 2001. (which I couldn't say for Animal Boy or Subterranean Jungle). The highlight is Daytime Dilemma (great verse, great chorus, great bridges,...even the piano fits well!). The only one that sucks bad is No Go. Oh yeah, bridge in Howling At The Moon is AWESOME!

derek@ntg-uitgeverij.nl (Derek Smit)
Yes, there are back to their original sound. i like every song on this album and there even doing an instrumental song (duranho 95) wich rocks. they played it as opening for their live shows. the only weak song is howling at the moon. never cared much about that one. chasing the night & humankind is great and if you own the reissue of this album you can find demo versions of these songs with richie ramone on vocals. how about that.......... anyway.......great album ....number 5 in my list ( just after the first 4 albums).

Jeffery Hoelscher
I always loved the 'Durango 95' to 'Warthog' segue. It's like a lengthy intro to a great song. Since everyone but Richie is dead, I think we can legally change it to one song entitled 'Durango Hog'. Or maybe we should put it on a ? album and call it '95 Warts'.

Ben
Wow, where'd this come from?! This is the album "Pleasant Dreams" should have been and the real follow up to "End of the Century". I don't mind even the dumber songs here ("Endless Vacation"; "Wart Hog") because it's the Ramones having fun and being the Ramones again, and best of all Tommy's back. I do remember reading something positive about this album on the allmusic guide (and it does get decent ratings on rateyourmusic), but I was so disappointed by "Pleasant Dreams", that I figured there was no hope for them... But then you recommended this to me on one of your message boards. I'll give this an 8.5.

Add your thoughts?

Animal Boy - Sire 1986.
Rating = 9

The Spin Alternative Record Guide really trashed this one, but what do they know about non-pussy music? This is rock! Because this is one of the first reviews I've ever written and I don't have a clue how to write a decent critique yet, I'm now going to simply describe every song on the album. Yes, that will be helpful.

Richie's "Somebody Put Something In My Drink" starts it off with an angry motorcycle metal riff that's far more reminiscent of "I Just Wanna Have Something To Do" than most critics would care to admit. Then the title track, hoo-eee, that's hardcore punk there! It tears! If I rode a skateboard, I'd ride it to that song. I'd do a "bitching ollie!" Then, "Love Kills" and "Apeman Hop" are semi-fun punkers, "She Belongs To Me" is very pretty (though keyboard-doused), "Crummy Stuff" is a silly catchy pop song reminiscent of End Of The Century, "Mental Hell" is Joey's outburst concerning the state of the band (they weren't getting along at all by this point), "Eat That Rat" is more Dee Dee-screeched hardcore, "Freak Of Nature" boasts the line "Got a ten-inch erection," and "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down" and "Something To Believe In" are keyboard-assisted epics (four minutes long apiece!) that will never leave your head after you hear them one time.

I dig the soil out of this album, except for two things: (1) "Hair Of The Dog" is terrible, and (2) the production is godawful. Treblier than The Stooges's Raw Power, it's just a big freaking headache! Great songs, though. Motorcycle rock. And I don't even ride a motorbike! Johnny's looking a little tubby on the cover, though. Maybe it's just bad posture. And Dee Dee has a spiked punk cut! Spiky punk hair and a hardcore screech/growl. That's rock and/or roll!

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Horrible production...redeemed by a couple of good songs...I actually was moved by "Something to...". "Animal Boy" kicks...and the "Something To" video is hilarious. ...I give it a 6. The "dead ducks" on the sleeve are also nauseating.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
It has a few good songs, but it's not as good as some of the other albums.

bhl@theonramp.net (The Levinsky's)
one thing that I can say about this album is that it is different than any other Ramones album I have heard. They seem to show off their talent a lot more on this album. Songs like "She Belongs To Me" shows their original talents of writing songs about love. Along with a keyboard solo. Songs like "Bonzo" show their original talents in many ways. "Love Kills" is one of the heaviest songs I have ever heard due to the powerful lyrics of Dee Dee. This album gets a 9 out of 10.

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
Synthesizers yes............but hey it was the mid 80's. It's funny, at the time I didn't really notice, but listening to it now it really stands out. I love Eat that Rat and Somebody put Something in my Drink. You could almost classify this album as "new wave" Also.......I always did like Ritchie Ramone.

cuthbert@vianet.on.ca (Karl Cuthbert)
Bonzo goes to Bitburg aka My Brain is Hangin Upside down was released as a 3 song ep with Daytime Dilema on flip side and a sweet jewel of a Lemmy "Motorhead" Kilmister produced tune called Go Home Anne sweet simple Ramones with some Lemmy edge it really rocks they shoulda released that one on a future cd

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Paco Ramone Pour Homme - Red Robin Records.
Rating = 8

This is most probably a bootleg. Found it at Princeton Record Exchange for 10 dollars, enjoyed the monkey picture on the cover, bought it. If features eight tracks from 1/14/78 with Tommy drumming, four tracks from 9/7/80 with Marky drumming, three tracks from 1978 with Marky drumming, three tracks from 7/20/82 with Marky drumming and (here's the part that Excites me so much, I begin doing advertising for a popular search engine) ten tracks from 7/22/86 with RICHIE DRUMMING!!!! If I haven't made this clear yet, let me do so again for beginners, naysayers and ne'er-do-wells ---- RICHIE Ramone was, in my opinion, the greatest drummer BY FAR that the Ramones ever had. He had an extremely tight, tough, mean, rigid sound that worked wonders for the three albums he played on. And the chance to hear him ripping up the skins on old Tommy-era Ramones classics is one that shouldn't be mist -- he plays those quarter-notes so fucking fast, your head will bounce up and down. Just so rigid and metallic. Wonderful drummer. They blew it when they lost him. Unless he was an asshole in person, in which case fuck him.

Side note: I have side one of John and Yoko's Life With The Lions playing right now, and it is simply godawful. It's upsetting my dog, my wife won't let me play it when she's home, and it's making the right side of my head throb with pain and consternation. Please don't buy this record. PLEASE.

Now back to a GOOD record! Here are a couple of interesting things you might dig if you're a Ramones fan -- one is to know that Joey actually stopped giving a shit about hitting notes in concert as early as 1980 -- BOY, does he halfass what the record sleeve calls "Give Me Give Me Shock Treatment." Another is that in 1982 they did a live version of "Surf City"! Jan and Dean! That hadn't appeared on a Ramones record that early, had it? Or was it a b-side or somesuch? EH? The third thing that I love to pieces is that in 1978 they do a distorted Ramones-style run-through of "Don't Come Close"! And it's a great song! Always has been! I can't believe I used to dislike it. What was I, a numbnuts or fly-by-night charlatan of romance?

Unfortunately the sound quality on a lot of it kinda sucks. A few of the 1978 ones are so trebly, in fact, that they resemble Yoko Ono in the head-harming department of youth. Let's cut to the chase: Ramones are good.

Even though Johnny fucks up part of "Pinhead" and Joey doesn't know the words to "Somebody Put Something In My Drink" (or, as I say in my hilarious parody that I sing all the time, "Somebody Put Luncheon In My Sink.")

The most important thing is that everything dies. Cherish your loved ones now, because one of you is going to be in a coffin soon. And YES I realize that this is high school ranting -- I'm not saying that I JUST discovered that people die - I'm just saying that the mother of a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer on New Year's Day and she was dead by January 10th. No warning. Just gone. That's all I'm saying.

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Halfway To Sanity - Sire 1987.
Rating = 8

Same band. Same style. But less poppy, and some of the "hard rockin'" is a little self-parodic. I love it, of course, because this particular Ramones era (the "Richie" era) was characterized by really tight tough metallic rock (as opposed to the minimalist punk of the "Tommy" era and the beach pop of both "Marky" eras) but I should probably warn you that, when you get right down to it, this stuff isn't exactly all that creative. "I'm Not Jesus" is generic hardcore with stupid vocals, "Bop 'Till You Drop" is generic Metallica stutter-metal, and both "Garden Of Serenity" and "I Know Better Now" probably take themselves a little too seriously. But I LOVE them!!! The mix is SO tough, tight and awesome, and the songs just kick my dumb fat boring ass!!! What else is here? Why, the great midtempo metal anthem "I Wanna Live," extremely stilted "surf" song "Go Lil' Camaro Go" (which I always heard as a parody of the early Ramones material, but perhaps it was just a shittily written beach song), hilarious punk rants "Weasel Face" and "I Lost My Mind" (the final Dee Dee growler), proto-grunge "Worm Man," basic hard rocker "Death Of Me," pretty, though banal, ballad "Bye Bye Baby," and decent pop rocker "A Real Cool Time."

An extremely diverse record that "Richie" era fans like me will totally dig, but that normal rock fans might not be able to dig as well. In fact, you'll all probably just make fun of it. Well, who needs ya, eh??? Okay, I'll admit that it shows some weaknesses that we, as fans, should really not be given the chance to see. Most notably, "Bop 'Till You Drop" and "I'm Not Jesus" prove, once and for all, that these old men cannot compete with young speed metal dynamos like Slayer and Metallica. Too bad. Still, I love it to pieces. It rocks pretty well, in a stupid, overdone way.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Daniel Rey saves this album. "Garden" is pretty cool. ...overall, I give this album a 6...on the Ramones scale. And that's a very scaly scale.

UCFIRE@netcom.ca (Dave)
"Garden of Serenity" is the best song on the album. "I Wanna Live" is a close second. Everything else is pretty good except "I'm Not Jesus". Now that song is god-awful. The opening riff is good, now only if they kept it up throughout the entire song.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Um...... okay, it has a few great songs, but overall it's basically not that good. I'd say it's their 2nd worst album, but that's just my opinion. It's still a ton better than Acid Eaters.

relax@bellsouth.net
Since when were the Ramones trying to be speed metal dynamos? I think it's obvious that Metallica and Slayer annihilate the Ramones in being masters of thrash. I see "I'm not Jesus" as being a pretty rockin' tune from the cranium of Ritchie Ramone, not a headbanger's delight.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
Considering that The Musichound Guide To Rock Music gave this album 1 and 1/2 stars, I'll say that Halfway To Sanity is better than I expected. But I do agree that it's a bit stifled and distant from the earlier stuff. "I'm Not Jesus" is just plain confusing (if not bad), and "Bye Bye Baby" annoys the hell out of me because it's just Joey rehashing that riff he uses in nearly ever song he's ever written. "Go Lil' Camaro Go" is fun, and everytime I hear those "umaumaus" at the beginning, I go into hysterics. They're just very funny to me. And "I Lost My Mind" is funny as hell. The way Dee Dee sings it priceless. Overall, probably a 7.

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
Whats so bad about I'm Not Jesus ?............seriously. Anyway this album is cool. Maybe a little disappointing at the time, but there would be worse to come in the 90"s. Didn't Funkyman come out about this time?

racasar@adinet.com.uy
Good album, I love "I wanna live", "A real cool time" and "Bye bye baby", good hardcore songs too. Great voices, Joey was in a good moment and very funny Dee Dee´s vocals on "I Lost my mind"

billsangry@aol.com
With this album it seems like they were making an effort to "write and sound" like they did on their first 3 albums. I do like this one, but I'm not crazy about it. "I Lost My Mind" and "Garden of Serenity" are exceptional.

Add your thoughts?

Trenton City Gardens 8/29/87 - Bootleg
Rating = 8

Did you know that Elvis was for a brief time a member of The Ramones? Don't look at me with that "I don't believe you" face -- it's true! There very well WAS a short time during the late '80s when the Ramones' drummer was the one and only "Elvis Ramone."

Elvis COSTELLO Ramone, that is! Heh heh. Yes, I had you going for a moment there, but no it's true, Elvis Presley died in 1977 of toilet disease and therefore could not have been a Ramone in the late '80s. However, when Blondie's drummer Clem Burke was asked to replace Richie Ramone (who quit the band due to money disagreements shortly after Halfway To Sanity was recorded), he knew that "Clemmy Ramone" would sound too much like a venereal disease so he opted for the name "Elvis Ramone" and history was rewritten!

Then like three shows later, they replaced him with Marky Ramone. But for those few shows, man darin orange, hey? I mean pffft. Legendary! And now I own a bootleg of one of them! Let me tell you a few things about it, as well as adding my opinion to that of Johnny "John Cummings (All Over Himself When George W. Bush Got Elected)" Ramone, who declared the Elvis shows 'a complete disaster.' Up your ass, Johnny Ramone! You want a disaster, look at the boringass shit shows you played during the '90s!

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say "up your ass" to a guy who died of prostate cancer. But Elvis was a perfectly passable drummer - nice crisp tone, interesting rolls and fills to whirl things along, and a swell hairstyle for the kids. I bet I know why Johnny couldn't deal with him though, and here's why: (a) he actually played the songs at the correct speed, rather than just playing as fast as he could, (b) due to lack of adequate practice, he missed some breaks and endings here and there, and (c) unlike the apparently superhuman Richie and Marky, he clearly DID tire as the performance wore on. It's this third piece of the "problem puzzle" that must have really driven Johnny crazy, and to be fair, it was reason enough to toss Elvis Presley out on his Graceland ass. Things sound great at the outset, but as the speedy set continues, you notice more and more of Elvis's quarter-notes being replaced by half-notes (my terminology may not be correct there -- you know how Ramones drumlines are supposed to go 'tih-tih-PAH-tih, tih-tih-PAH-tih"? Later in the set, you can tell that Clem is just going "tih-PAH, tih-PAH" and skipping each second and fourth hit). At one point, I suspect he even begged his bandmates to change the set list so he could rest for a few moments (there's a VERY long pause before the band goes into the midtempo "I Don't Care"). So that's my theory at any rate.

But that's not to say it's not a bootleg you should hunt down immediately. It is! Sure it sounds like shit, and there's this awful squeaky noise over a good portion of it, but come on -- it's "Elvis Ramone"!!! I bought my copy on ebay, and so can you. The highlights are many, including:

- "Do You Remember Rock And Roll Radio" - Clem screws up the part where the vocals come in! Whoops!
- "Freak Of Nature" - They play "FREAK OF NATURE"!!!! Dee Dee voices the "freak!" vocals through a hilarious echo pedal
- "Rock 'N' Roll High School" - Clem plays the ridiculously long intro in a slightly different manner than his forefathers did!
- "The KkkKkK Took My Armchair To Spain" - Clem sounds sloppier than an oft-used mop during the big drum break, then gets bored and keeps adding rolls and such!
- "Crummy Stuff" - They play "CRUMMY STUFF"!!! And Clem misses the ending and keeps playing, eventually having to do a corny roll into a ship-bop-boo big rock finale. Whoops!
- "Glad To See You Go" - They have to restart the song entirely because Clem first plays it at half-speed. Whoops!
- "Wart Hog" - Dee Dee puts no effort at all into his vocals, so Joey shrieks "WAAAAAAH!" along with him during each chorus!
- "Somebody Put Luncheon In My Sink" - Clem makes no effort at all to do the drum fills in the intro, choosing to just play a steady 4/4 beat as if it's any Ramones song at all. Whoops!
- "Pinhead" - Johnny plays the intro to "Bonzo Goes To Shitburg" before noticing Clem's "Pinhead" bass thump and switching into correct gear. Oopswh!
- "Mama's Boy" - Johnny plays NOTES!

Johnny can lie and say that Clem ruined the show, but for my moneybags, Joey's the real culprit. He just growls, barks and phlegms into a delay pedal the whole time instead of singing. I for one welcome Clem's unique drum style, even if he couldn't quite keep his speed up to modern hardcore tempos. And to be honest, a Ramones show with funny mistakes is much more interesting to me than the generic speed-shows they were doing during the C. Jay years (although I must admit I was intrigued by the heavy focus they put on cover tunes when I saw them right before Acid Eaters came out).

For your records, they played 3 debut, 4 Leave Home, 8 Rocket, 1 Road, 3 End, 1 Pleasant, 1 Subterranean, 4 Too Tough and 6 Animal Boy. Interestingly, Joey announces that they have a new album coming out called Halfway To Sanity, but they don't actually play anything off of it. The way he says it really gives the indication that they'd PLANNED to play something, but then he suddenly breaks away from his planned dialogue and says, "But you know - I've had enough of that crummy stuff!" Which of course makes it sound like he thinks the new Ramones album is a piece of shit, but what are you gonna do about Joey being a dumbo? (down underneath manhattan bridge overpass?)

You know what he should have done? Gone to Harris Teeter to buy some meat. Purchase some food and get out of the sleet! Harris Teeter is the place you can go - if you're all out of beans or it's starting to snow! Harris Teeter has food that won't fail. So go there to shop and get out of the hail! Harris Teeter has bathrooms if you need to tinkle. So go there to shop if it's starting to sprinkle! Harris Teeter sells toys for your pet. So come buy some food, and your hair won't get wet! Harris Teeter may be full of big crowds, but at least you can go there when the sky's full of clouds! Harris Teeter didn't, but you know that "you did"/come to the store when the air got too humid! Harris Teeter's selection is awfully neat - and for short, you can call us "The Hairy Teet"! In that way, you might say we're a lot like Cher. Our tits all have whiskers, and we don't wipe our derriere! So come to Harris Teeter, see the food on our shelf. Then buy a cucumber and go fuck yourself!

Copyright Harris Teeter Inc. 2005
"Eat shit! At Harris Teeter!"(TM)

Reader Comments

bri.hyndman@sympatico.ca
Just out of idle curiosity, whatever became of Clem Burke? He banged a mean drumset back in the day (ever witness his over-the top backbeat to 'Dreaming' when Blondie played SNL circa 1979?)

He cited Keith Moon as a major influence (I assume he was referring to drumming technique, but could have referred to lifestyle as well?) and destroyed his drumset in a gesture of tribute at the end of a Blondie concert when Moonie's death was announced. Didn't peg him as a Ramones fan, but stranger combos can and have happened.

death_sycthehell@yahoo.com
Yeah, I think Clem did his best trying to keep up with the Ramones, I just got this bootleg yesterday for free after looking to buy it for ages. I have to say he got a lot of the songs right but the part were he keeps playing after the band stops on Crummy Stuff is quite funny. And another reason to get this bootleg is for just hearing Joey yell out WAHHH!!! in Wart Hog how many times would you hear that? also Clem messes up Rockaway beach royaly.

Add your thoughts?

Weaselface - Jewels Of Live 1992
Rating = 9

What the -- Hey! What the hell is this coming out of my ass?

Augh! It's a piece of paper! Let's see what's written on it.....

"first 12 are from '77 live at the Whiskey, next 13 are from '87 in Sheffield, final two are early demos."

What the hell is that supposed to be mean? And why's it coming out of my ass? Hang on, there's more!

"Only repeates are 'rockaway beach' and 'pinhead.' It's GREAT to hear live versions of 'weaselface,' 'garden of serenity' and 'bop til you drop.' Includes 8 debut, 5 leave home, 5 rocket, ZERO road to ruin!?, 2 end of, ZERO pleasant, ZERO subterranean, 1 too tough, 2 animal, 4 halfway to sanity."

What is this, some kind of restaurant menu? I'm trying to give an important presentation to my stockholders here! Hang on -- oh wait, this part's written in poop.

"'77 show has a good bottom. Joey's a little muffled but very audible. Great energy, and Johnny's downstroking is incredible. They sound like a locomotive! Joey halfasses 'chainsaw' though."

Finestein? Is this from you? Is this about the Stergenmeier project? Hang on, there's more --

"'87 show is from the very first show of the Halfway to Sanity tour! Joey is all coked up and keeps fucking up hilariously. He's also grunting a lot of his lyrics, and sounds VERY gravelly."

Wait a second... I know what this is! I'm on Foul Ups, Bleeps & Blunders, aren't I? Ha ha! Where are you, Don Rickles? Come on out! Oh wait, there's more.

"His two hilarious mistakes: 'GIMME GIMME SHOCK TREATMENT!' he shouts as the band launches into 'Chinese Rock.' Later, when he's sure it's time for 'I Wanna Live' and checks his set list only at the very last second: 'this goes out to In Concert, which is being taped tonight. We got a brand new album out right now called Halfway to Sanity and y'know -- I...ehh, whatever....' (band goes into 'today your love, tomorrow the world')"

This is starting to hurt. Oh no! I just realized - this isn't paper at all! It's all being printed on my large intestine! Crap! Oh hang on, here comes more.

"I love RIchie's drumming! So tight, not boxy! Crisp!"

Thoughts? Comments? Damn you Schwartz - stop playing with my hemmorhoids! Oh wait, there's more.

"the label says they play 'i can't make it on time,' but it's actually 'bop til you drop.'"

Okay, that seems to be about it. Alright then. Now I know you're all wondering why and how our stock price managed to drop to the negative triple digits. You see, apparently when you spend your revolving credit facility on prostitutes and cocaine, the s - oh wait, there's more.

"hilarious Joey vocalisms in 'Chinese Rock' - 'Wanna take a walk/wanna go cop/wanna go get some Chinese yeah!' and 'It's hot as a bitch/I shoulda been rich/But I'm just diggin' a Chinese yeah!'"

I honestly had no idea I was set up to receive faxes. I wonder if I can check emails with my Dingleberry -- oh wait, this part's in blood. MY OWN BLOOD!!!! OH GOD, WHY!?!?!!?! Okay, let's see what it says.

"Not only can Johnny not play the arpeggiations in 'Garden of Serenity' - he can't even play the correct CHORDS for that section!"

Hmm. Oh, hang on. Oh yeah, I think I feel it. I think the climax is coming up! This part's gonna be pretty exciting!!!

"Though he halfasses 'rockaway beach,' Joey bothers singing 'pinhead' and 'Somebody put something in my drink' and they sound great!"

See??? I was right! It's written in sperm! Here, smell!

(*rubs semen-coated strip of large intestine all over Elaine Wickelsky's face*)

You're FIRED!

(*office breaks into gales of laughter at hilarious The Apprentice reference*)

Reader Comments

jjdiazsanchez@hotmail.com
Just wanted to point out two corrections:
Joey saying "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" before Chinese Rock was an editing error by the BBC, the band actually played Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment after Bop Til You Drop during most of '87 and '88.
And it's not Richie drumming there!, it's Marky, the show happened on October 15, 1987, Marky re-joined the band in September.

Add your thoughts?

RamonesMania - Sire 1988.
Rating = 9

Fantastic compilation. Lots of great songs from the latter part of their career, plus a selection of spiffies from the first few. Unfortunately, the original albums sounded much more cohesive. Here, the various production types render some of the stuff (especially off of the first album) wimpy-sounding. Play it on random. It sounds better when you don't know what's coming up next. If you buy this, you'll have the songs. Two albums worth. And what you do with them is your own business. Me? I'll just buy all the original albums, thanks. However, this has a cover of the '60s bubblegum song "Indian Giver!"

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
What a tongue-in-cheek title! I've found that this album appeals to 15-19 year olds...and that's good. It's a great Ramones primer, but as mania goes, I can think of several other Ramones songs not included here which cause more intense salivation by yours truly...Great liner notes!

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
Hey what happened to "53rd and 3rd", "Let's Dance", "Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World", "I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You" ????? The greatest Ramones songs ever. They only have 3 tracks from Ramones and 3 from Leave Home and those weren't even the good ones!!!!!

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Good album. You don't really have to get it if you have all the others, but it has a lot of good stuff.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
Really good, though I probably won't get it. It's like Bad Religion's All Ages. You don't really need it, but you can't trash it. And just so you know, the Ramones were the main influence of Rancid, and Rancid fucking kicks ass! I don't care what anyone says about them, they will always have a special place in my punk rock collection, cuz no one can write a more raucously catchy punk tune than Rancid!!!!!

cynderelli@techline.com (TAD)
"I Just Wanna Have Something to Do" is a classic. I ended up buying RAMONESMANIA 2 get it, & even tho that collection was programmed by some brain-damaged chimpanzee, there's a lot of great stuff on it: "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," "Blitzkrieg Bop," etc., etc., etc. Great fun. & Mark, have U ever heard Holly & the Italians? Their 1st album (THE RIGHT TO BE ITALIAN) sounds like a female Ramones, if U could picture such a thing....

greatrp@hotmail.com (The Great RP)
Ramonesmania is a good compilation, no doubt, but after I read the back cover I became quite rotted. See, the last sentence of the biography says: "From this moment forward, rock & roll will never again be the same. (continued on inner sleeve)", and the rest of the bio was not seen by me 'cause it wasn't there. Anyway,The Ramones rock.

Add your thoughts?

Dallas Arcadia 11/11/88 - Bootleg
Rating = 6

Hello, I'm Harris Teeter. Perhaps you're familiar with the chain of grocery stores/rain shelters that bear my name all across the southeast. I know I'm proud of them and hope you are too. Remember our motto: "If you're hungry or it's raining, come to Harris Teeter and fuck off!" I must admit I was a bit surprised when I was handed a garbage can and told to review the little tiny band playing inside, but give me a few mountains of cocaine and I'll do anything. So I sat down on the bedpost, put in my monocle and began to concentrate, concentrate on the music and mayhem taking place inside this magical trash can.

First of all, the mix inside the trash can was abysmominable. I couldn't hear the bass at all, the guitar was just a big indistinct fuzzed-out mess, and the singer (who I'm told goes by the false teeth "Joe Ramone") was just barking and burping instead of singing. All the songs were played too quickly to be enjoyed by anybody not in the tiny "slam dance pit" at the front of the stage inside the trash can, and I was very let down by the entire depressing spectacle. You see, I've been a fan of the actual-sized "Ramones" band since their first album came out in 1976. I was a younger man then, but I was old enough to know pure rock and roll when I heard it, and these Ramones were nothing like pure rock and roll. Rather, they played hardcore punk rock, Ghetto-Style! But that was a long time ago, back when the Ramones were hungry, angry and possessed by the spirit of drug dependency -- nothing could be further from the bored, fat old bastards that were ruining my favorite songs inside this garbage can. What had happened? Intraband feuding? Depression at having never secured a hit single? Why couldn't Joey just sing the goddamned songs correctly?

On a different topic, like many of my customers at Harris Teeter Grocery Store & Rainstorm Protective Facility, I'm absolutely fascinated by the latest fads and fashions. Take this "math" thing. The whole idea of adding one object to another, and somehow coming up not with one larger object but TWO separate objects! It's enough to wind a man weary, I tell your! As such, I decided to use my sense of confection and discovery to eke out exactly what percentage of this trash can material was wrought by however many original studio albums by the Ramones. And here's what I found (don't look too closely at the screen - it just might BlOw YoUr MiNd!): 5 debut, 3 leave, 8 rocket, 2 road, 3 end, 0 pleasant, 1 subterranean, 4 too, 3 animal, 3 halfway. And here's a real kick in the jock: at one point Joey says, "This one's off our brand new album, entitled RamonesMania." Then they play "Gimme Gimme Sedated Lobotomy" or some old bullshit crap.

Aw man, that just made me think up a hilarious joke. Check this bitch out:

Problem: "What's the difference between Ronald Reagan and Al Gore?"

Solution: "Ronald Reagan always enjoyed a daily piss on his 'Gipper Tour'!" HA HA HA!

The funniest moment in the entire garbage can, and one that I enjoyed so much I went and got my Korean wife Sukmi Teeter to watch it as well, was during the third verse of "Teenage Lobotomy," when gun nut Johnny Ramone (so called because his left testicle was in fact a very small pistol) goes to the chorus one line early and ruins the whole song. It's hilarious! He stops playing and can't figure out how to get back into the song! He kinda makes up for it by actually playing the arpeggios in the intro to "I Wanna Live," and believe you me it's always great to hear "Bop 'Til You Drop," "Weaselface" and a spirited version of "Wart Hog," but why did they play "Too Tough To Die"? That's a terrible song! By far the worst on that entire album! And don't give me that "they like to play all their title tracks" b.s. because I waited all goddamned night for "(I Don't Wanna Be Buried In A) Leave Home" and "(Now I Wanna Sniff Some) Subterranean Jungle" and both were BOGUSLY ignored!!!!! ..... !!!!!!!

Well, I have to get back to selling food and keeping rain off of peoples' heads, so I'll leave you all with this thought: Was the "trash can" some kind of metaphor?

And if so, can I poop in it? And wipe my ass all over your shirt? Because I'm HAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRIIIIIIIISSSSSS TEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!! (*grasps nearby pud, masturbates through television*)

Add your thoughts?

Brain Drain - Sire 1989.
Rating = 7

Richie quit the band to become a golf caddy in Beverly Hills? Is that true? That's what Joey says in the Ramones book. Hmmm. Anyway, Marky's back and pumped way too loud in the mix to sound anything but awkward, Dee Dee's growing his hair out again in the wake of his non-top-selling rap solo album, and the music is much more reminiscent of Subterranean Jungle pop rock than the hard rock/metal of the last three. The mix is moronic, but some of the songs are truly boner.

"I Believe In Miracles" and "Pet Sematary" are the best (midtempo rockers with a dark backboner), but the punkers "Zero Zero UFO" and "Ignorance Is Bliss" will get the diesel a-shimmerin' in your tires and your feet thinkin' about Larry Hagman. Plus, "Palisades Park" is the best cover they've done since "California Sun," and "Punishment Fits The Crime" introduces us to Dee Dee's new non-hardcore Lou Reed-ish vocal delivery. On the stinky marina, "All Screwed Up" is a horrid pop song, "Learn To Listen" is a slow ripoff of "Eat That Rat," and "Come Back, Baby" is a return to the emotionless "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" school of balladeering. But, on the more pleasantly aromatic marina, "Can't Get You Outta My Mind" shows that Joey really did learn something from all that mid-60's rock he'd been listening to, and "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight Tonight)," is, regardless of the "Blitzkrieg Bop"-esque nature of the melody, an awfully pleasant holiday number. Not bad at all.

Unfortunately, Dee Dee got sick of the whole mess and quit. Many people say, "Who gives a crap? He was just the bass player!" But that's an untruth. It just are. Dee Dee wrote most of their songs! Joey was the friendly 50's music / bad metal guy, Johnny was the Republican anal retentive perfectionist who committed himself to artistic stagnation (he wouldn't practice!), and Dee Dee was the one with the mental problems. Drugs, drink, obsessions - it all showed up in his lyrics. He was the dark one who was always on the verge of falling apart. He was a freak, a creep, a junkie, a weirdo, a riff-writing genius, a liar, a dumb kid, a bored old man - and he quit. And they kept going anyway. Fools.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Dee Dee was all that, and still is...but don't sell Joey short. He contributed some of the funniest, most memorable, and sick stuff they ever did. Dee Dee DID become bored. He was on auto-pilot the last two times I saw him with the band, and was dragging them down. He was, and is a brilliant songwriter though.

Regarding the album: Bill Laswell would seem like the perfect fit for this group, but it just doesn't work..."Don't Bust My Chops" is a chuckler, but boy, some really crappy stuff on here...and folks, "I Believe In Miracles" just ain't that great...Dee Dee writing about how he always shits on his wife and how she always forgives him...having said that, that's what makes the guy such a great songwriter--he doesn't give a rat's booty-hoe what you or I think--he wrote what he felt, and that was good enough..."Tattooed your name on my arm. I always said my girl's a good luck charm..." Great line. "Well, it sounds like you like it then!" I don't. You can hear him coming apart on this album, and it made me sad. Still does.

cellings@telepost.no (Christian Ellingsen)
This is clearly their best album since Century. Why the drums is so loud? It is one of the main things that makes this album so great. Listen to "Miracles"; great drum sound. Same with "Punishment Fits The Crime" which is one of my all time dee dee favorites. Not as good as their best stuff, but a lot better than the last ones.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Pretty good. Not the best, but it has some great songs. It's too bad Dee Dee quit, but I'm glad they put out a couple more albums anyway (except for Acid Eaters.) At least Dee Dee still wrote songs for the Ramones even after he quit, because duh, he was a great song writer! (As were the rest of the Ramones.)

ngp33@huroned.edu.on.ca (Fraser Tebbutt)
Dee Dee is amazing but obviously he wasn't happy. He is a good song writer, but have you seen a picture of him on his new album Zonked? God he looks old. Not to be mean but is he gay or just really excentrike he talks with a sort of gay lisp.

relax@bellsouth.net
At least this album wasn't as weak as Animal Boy. And for the record, the Ramones should have broken up right after End of the Century.

jonyg@online.no (Jon Y.)
this is my favrite ramones album.i belive inmiracles is my favrite ramones song of all time next to pinhead and commando.I think its too bad tha DeeDee quit cause he was an amazing bassist and songwriter.I think All screwed up and can't get you outta my mind are horrible.DON'T BUST MY CHOPS KICKS ASS.

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
Learn to Listen is a good song that people tend to forget about. I thought that this album would be the hit that they were always looking for. With a song for a Stephen King movie and a Christmas song, but once again no luck. Every December I wonder why the radio will play so many crappy Christmas songs when they could play the Ramones. It's no "White Christmas" but it sure beats the hell out of "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer."

billsangry@aol.com
Easily their HEAVIEST sounding album. A bit too "Metal" for my tastes but listenable. Marky sounds like he's hitting his drums with broomsticks. "Punishment" is a great tune..

derek@ntg-uitgeverij.nl (Derek Smit)
wow a very metal sound, these guys were getting louder and louder is a metal way but the way the snare is recorded is just silly. sounds like marky is drumming with lampposts. anyway it's an okay album. not great but some good tunes and if you dont like it , its always better than your average crap nowadays. i love ignorism is a bliss. id give this album a 7

Now, I love The Ramones.. Complete FANATIC! Dee Dee was the best Ramone but when he quit I don't think they should've broken up. Plus, Dee Dee still wrote songs for them and was a big part of the band. I don't think that anything should've changed.

R.I.P.
Jeffrey Hyman
John Cummings
and
Douglas Colvin

A.K.A.

Joey Ramone
Johnny Ramone
and
Dee Dee Ramone

Add your thoughts?

Summer Of '89 - Bootleg 1989.
Rating = 6

Jeez. This is what their late-80's shows were like? Everything played at twice the speed of the studio versions, with Joey belching out the words instead of singing? Gad. Lots of mistakes. Some great songs, but they play them so fast, you can hardly tell. Compare Dee Dee's bored old bag "1-2-3-4"s to the early speed freak shouts on It's Alive, and it's pretty obvious that he was about to quit. He even sounds bored on "Wart Hog!" How can anybody be bored during "Wart Hog?" This live bootleg is ... uhh ... interesting, if not particularly listenable.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
You know, I saw the 1988 tour and was amazed by Dee Dee's indifference. His "1234"'s were by rote...HOW?? He looked as if he just wanted to get it over with. I think the threat of Johnny's wrath was the only thing that kept him going. I remember in a 1981 show, they were just incredible...especially Dee...jumping around like maniacs, playing the shit out of the tunes...unbelievable to see him just standing there with sunglasses on, wishing he was somewhere else... The only time he was into it was when he saw a girl in the front row...he finally became animated and pressed a pick into her hand at the end of "Animal Boy". At least his dick was excited. Wish the rest of him had been.

you@nadn.navy.mil
I have seen the Ramones easily 30 times. (they always played around NYC) I was at the last show that Richie played at on LI, I was at the first show that Mark played after his return. I also saw them in 1988 / 89 on the Brain Drain tour, their worst. Dee Dee was pissie, he apparently was fighting big time with Joe and John, and he just looked unhappy. Nothing worse than going to a show and having the band just stand there and look pissed. On top of that, Brain Drain was brutally stale. When I saw the Ramones again in 1990 (with C. Jay) they were great. C. Jay sparked new life into the tired band, and sang DEE DEE's songs better than Dee Dee at that point in time. Joey's voice was long blown by this time, but they still sounded good. I saw them five other times with C. Jay, and each time he was fantastic. Dee Dee was great way back in the day (I saw them for the first time in 1981 at Stony Brook U.) and he was great until the late 80's. At that point, something had to change, believe me!

Add your thoughts?

* All The Stuff (And More) Volume One - Sire 1990. *
Rating = 10

The first two albums and some bonus tracks. The best Ramones that money can buy.
Reader Comments

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Really great!! The second Ramones album I ever got. I love it!!! Some of their best stuff is the early stuff. It should be an unwritten rule that every Ramones fan should for sure have either this album or their first one.

biburge@cancom.net (Shannon Burge)
This album rules, BUT...WHY THE HELL COULDN'T THEY HAVE PUT "CARBONA NOT GLUE" ON IT????? Jeez! I like "Sheena is a Punk Rocker", But I don't need it on every Ramones CD I buy. Oh yeah, and the live tracks are redundant.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
yay for sire records putting this out. very sexy.

echri@juno.com (Elizabeth A. Christian)
Now, this is a minor weakness in a glorious compilation, but I have found that listening to this cd too much can create the illusion that the band is slowing down in the last half hour. My solution is to hit pause and wait about five minutes till my brain remembers that the Ramones are pretty darn fast.

jltichenor@earthlink.net (James L. Tichenor)
All the Stuff And More! And that's basically it folks, a big fat easy TEN. This shit will kick the shit out of you and shit the kick out of you for that matter! I made a point to sit down and learn every single one of these songs on guitar and you should too boys and girlys. And what's this I hear? The live tracks are redundant? NO WAY! What better way to make a great album greater than by putting a couple kick ASS live versions on it too. Man, in those early days the Ramones were undoubtly the speediest, catchiest band around. Go and buy this album right fucking NOW! Play it! Learn it! Worship it! Feed it! Dress it up like a person! Schedule me for the phychiatrist!

bikepark@worldnet.att.net (Ben Valerius)
This was the Ramones album I bought, with the All The Stuff 2 as the only other.

Man, from the time I heard this 6 months ago to when I hear it now, it still blows me away today. Of the songs I have, Blitzkrieg Bop has got to be my favorite. The opening riff was one of the coolest things I've ever heard. An A chord played five times at Warp 10 followed by a split second change from D to E, and it would resume again. Then "Hey ho, let's go" would come in 4 times with the last line accompanied by Johnny's guitar slamming on an A. This was truly great. When Beat On The Brat came on, my mom, after hearing the same "Beat on the brat/beat on the brat/beat on the brat with a baseball bat/oh yeah oh yeah oh oh" verse 3 times, told me never to play it in her presence ever again. As you can probably tell, that is largely ignored now. Oh here's something I want to clear up: everyone says that the songs on Ramones all have 3 chords. Not so. Most of them actually have 4. Blitzkrieg does, BOTB (beat on the brat) does, Judy Is A Punk does, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, yes, I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You, ditto, and I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement had 6, count'em 6 different chords. The bonus tracks rule aswell. I Don't Wanna Be Learned/I Don't Wanna Be Tamed being my favorite. Overall, perfect 10, two thumbs way up!!!!

misterkite@mindspring.com (Adam Bruneau)
Wooo doggiee! I was a-sittin' in my friend's basement playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater on Dreamcast while listening to The Misfits when it dawned on me. There was this band called The Ramones, a band I had never really heard before and who was held in awe by millions of people including Mr. Prindle on this here website. Luck had it that looking around in the local CD shop that night I came across this mighty disc and fell instantly in love. The Ramones just plain kick ass. Good fuckin' rock 'n' roll, my man! Their brand of simple, funny, straight-up rock music has inspired me more than really anything i have heard since The Beatles! If yer not a fan, you must not have heard this album..... Oh, "Beat on the Brat" rules!!!

Soonerjb@aol.com
I agree that this twofer package is a bargain for the Ramones newcomer, but to spend any amount of time reviewing this as an album on it's own is a waste of time. The bonus and live tracks are not enough to justify putting more dough into Seymour Stein's pocket for repeat material. For those old-timers or used LP bargain hunters fortunate enough to own the original LPs (both rating 10's) this is a waste. I give the contents a 10, but the usefullness a 6.

Paperlatr1@aol.com (Ted)
Worth buying just for the two best songs ever: "Suzy Is A Headbanger", & " Oh Oh I Lovew Her So"...and you get the first record to boot!! Required listening to any fan of "90's" metal..ala Korn, Limp Bizkit etc., to show who really has the balls!

AlanW@SeattleArtMuseum.org (Alan Wright)
This is a fine two-fer of the first two Ramones LPs with some bonus stuff, but I wish they'd used the original mix (bass one side, gtr. The other) of the first album. Many a punk bassist learned to play listening to Dee Dee's bass, having cranked the channel to the drums/vocals/bass-only channel!!

billsangry@aol.com
I'd rather have paid for the individual releases to be remastered and remixed with better sound quality. Still, how can you argue with the music itself? You really can't. When I'm down in my darkroom -- this is what's in the stereo...

Add your thoughts?

All The Stuff (And More) Volume Two - Sire 1991.
Rating = 9

Rocket To Russia, Road To Ruin, and some bonus tracks. Godlike.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Asked Joey about the Busta Jones stuff they did, and he said there would be some of it coming out. We got "Slug", which is great in my book, but where's the other stuff?? IS there any other stuff??

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Just wonderful!! Great songs from the albums, and some totally great bonus songs!!! It's great- I love it!!

ngp33@huroned.edu.on.ca (Fraser Tebbutt)
This is an amazing album you get two for the price of one plus "Slug." I love to play all the songs, but I do wish that "Carbona Not Glue" was on it.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
"Slug" and "Yea, Yea" are good additions to this pimpin CD. available at all fine retailers for an inflated price.

Add your thoughts?

Loco Live - Chrysalis 1991.
Rating = 6

The same stuff as Summer Of '89, but featuring new bass player C. Jay. He sounds younger and more excited, but of course there's no way to replace the great Dee Dee. Still, at least he doesn't ruin every song by belching instead of singing! Mostly it's intriguing to hear how quickly they can run through these thirty songs.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Back cover is fantastic. Songs? Hmmm...well, they are all played at light-speed, but they did give Sire an up yours by including "Carbona"...not enough to redeem the record, though. Why is Joey grunting like an ape? It's that metal thing again. Stop it! Younger fans, or those who are just turning on to the group will love this 'un...Buy It's Alive first, though... ...I give this album a 5.

harrisme@indy.net (Mike Harris)
I just read your review of the Ramones' Loco Live and was surprised to see how bad of a review you gave that album. Personally, I think Loco Live is one their better performances. That album is pure rock-'n'-roll music and C. Jay plays a part in that, just as much as the other Ramones. Sure, perhaps he isn't as "authentic" as Dee Dee Ramone, but he fits the groove nicely and I'm glad that they got someone who can perform.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Dee Dee was great in the band, that's for sure, and C. Jay is totally different from Dee Dee, but he still rocks. I mean, it was too bad that the Ramones had to lose Dee Dee, he was really good, but they were also really lucky to get C. Jay for a while. They were just as good as before with C. Jay, just a little different, but they still had the same old Ramones sound. So anyway, I think C. Jay was really good and I'm glad he was in the Ramones, and by the way, I also think he has a great voice too.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Fast and fun. Joey pretty much yells instead of singing, but it's really funny, and it has "Carbona Not Glue"!

ngp33@huroned.edu.on.ca (Fraser Tebbutt)
This album is not that bad. Did you know that Marky re-dubbed all of his high-hat parts on the record that is all you can hear on "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment". C. Jay seems to be really nice and Dee Dee's presence is still there. I love how fast this album is and I don't mind if Joey grunts he doesn't have time to fit all the words in.

Bm400@aol.com
LOCO LIVE was the first CD I bought of The Ramones, and immeaditly, I knew I was a fan for life. The way they played just got me so pumped up, and got the blood flowing through the veins, it was unbeliveable. I then proceeded to buy the rest of their albums within the next month, and knew all the lyrics by the end of the two months. The only ones I do not have are their first four albums, which I have not been able to find anywhere, even on the big records, but I will keep on looking until I find them. The way they go through 30 songs in aabout 30 minutes makes them all the better.

ramone.sabo@r1981.freeserve.co.uk
the first thing i said bout loco... was "uh, doesnt teenage lobotomy sound weird" but i really dig the album, produced badly or not

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
Just like being there.

fboucot@hotmail.com (Frank Boucot)
Is "It's alive" better than "loco live" ? Obviously, "it's alive" shows the Ramones at their best (they meant it, man). When you hear "Loco live", they do sound bored and old (teenage angst has paid off well), even if they try, with C. Jay's help,not to show it to much. It's true, even if it kills me to say that. So obviously, "it's alive " is better. BUT that stuff was recorded in bloody 1977 (I was 3 at this time) "Loco live" is 1991, the year I first saw the Ramones live. This moment was pure happiness, I will never forget it, and when I was in the first row, 5 meters next to Johnny,I was too wild to even notice he could be old, or bored. So "Loco live " is my favorite, because it's part of my life, my history.

mudhead666@hotmail.com
Seeing the Ramones for the first time during the Loco Live tour may have changed your opinion of this record. This was the case for me. It captured the hell out of the Ramones I saw. Older but louder, faster and meaner, like they had something to prove. And they did. After Johnny had ranted about the Who reunion and Pete strumming acoustically they had a stake to settle. Done and done. They never quit and never had a reason to. Sure, It's Alive may be the superior record but Loco Live shows the latter day Ramones could still chainsaw with the very best of 'em. Who cares if Joey couldn't keep up to the beat, who could? I love this record and as far as a rating goes, I would rate it: JesusWorthy.

billsangry@aol.com
Uh, too robotic.

WBinder007@aol.com
Any live Ramones album after It's Alive is pointless. Prindle's six may be a bit generous, but then again, it's hard to argue with a tracklist like this one.

Add your thoughts?

Escape From Zagreb - Bootleg
Rating = 5

One topic that is too seldom addressed in popular critique of musical theory is how bad the Ramones sucked in concert during the C. Jay years. It wasn't his fault: he played his role energetically and faithfully. It's the rest of the band that sounded like God taking a dump. They played all their songs at triple-speed in an attempt to cram as many in as possible, which resulted in Joey grunting and shouting "Yayeh!" instead of singing, Johnny lazily strumming his guitar up and down instead of playing his trademark locomotive downstroke "da-na-na-na!" attack, and Marky hitting the drums so hard that you couldn't hear any of the other instruments or horn section. And the big reverbed stadium drum sound was so GROSS! Why did the drums sound like that? Deep Purple sure, but the Ramones? Pssshht, yeah, right! Shows how much YOU know! The Ramones needed a light crisp tappity touch like Thomas Ramone or Richard Ramone. This Mark Ramone - what was he all about? What was his deal?

This bootleg is a mono shitty mess. There's no song list, no track breaks, and all you can hear are the drums and Joey moving his bowels back and forth. Presumably that big mess of hissy noise is the guitar and bass, but don't count your eggs before they've hatched. The disc is also full of song breaks, cut-outs, cut-offs, and it deteriorates miserably as the concert goes on, getting whistly, hissy and warbly, although I guess that could be the band being attacked onstage by a bird, a snake and a sedge warbler (which is itself a type of bird, but a DIFFERENT type than the whistling bird I mentioned earlier in the sentence). Theoretically they would have screamed if being attacked by three of nature's most vicious predators, but Johnny's "The Show Must Go On" attitude guided the band til the very end, when they were finally cut down by a couple of crabs and a monkey.

That was symbolism, vaguely, what with a "crab" being the astrological sign for "Cancer," and heroin being a wregtihgwttttttttttttttttttttttttt

Jesus! My own brain just punched me in the back of the head!

11/24/90 was the date of this performance. Thanksgiving must have either just passed or was right around the corner. Happy Birthday, Ramones! Enjoy some turkey and a slice of yam dumplings. Do you think they felt dumb performing "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg" when Reagan had been out of office for two years? Apparently not so dumb that it would stop them from playing 7 debut, 3 leave home, 7 rocket, 1 road, 2 end, ZERO pleasant (not even total ass-kicker "Don't Go"? FUCK! Why bother playing a concert at ALL!?!), 1 subterranean, 3 too tough, 3 animal, 1 halfway and 2 brain drain tracks for their shifty-eyed Zagrebian fans. If you're wondering where Zagreb is, why I'll tell you. It's down in Louisiana, just about a mile from Texarkana. In them old cotton fields back home. Yes, that's where you'll find the capital of Croatia. Tell 'em Uncle Fuckleberry sent ya!

Joey shouts something after "Surfin' Bird" - either "Change the fuckin' lights" or "Change the fuckin' mics." Of course (heh heh!), at his advancing age, he might have been shouting (heh heh!), "Change my Depend-brand adult undergarments!" Ha ha! Why, the last time I saw a hairpiece like that, it had a TAIL! Hello, I'm Don Rickles and welcome to Foul-Ups, Bleeps And Blunders! My co-host Steve Lawrence couldn't be here this week because he's off with his kike wife visiting his wop friends and some colored people! On top of all that, he's gay! Why, the last time the city threw a party like that, Sammy Davis, Jr. will be hanging from the chandelier eating a banana!

"53rd And 3rd" is one of the only songs that sound good because they actually play it at the proper speed. In "Mama's Boy" you can't hear ANYTHING but the booming drums. "Sniff some glue" is FAR too fast for Johnny. Mention wife anecdote. Oh no, that's a note to me. A reminder to tell you about my "wife anecdote."

Fireworks keep exploding throughout the show. You know what kills me? The point of the early songs was the great vocal melodies. During these late-period shows, when Joey didn't bother singing them ("sheena," "rockaway"), they just SUCKED! With a capital LETTER!

Who disagrees with me that the Ramones were a miserable concert act during the C. Jay years? I saw 'em with Dee Dee right before he quit, and they were dynamite! On fire! But then I saw 'em with C. Jay, and my entire body was strapped with dynamite! I was on fire! Luckily the f(iretr)uck came and "took care of" business. My body is still charred and smoky though. And I can squeeze tar out of my nipples if you need any. For a new road or whatever.

Add your thoughts?

Mondo Bizarro - Radioactive 1992.
Rating = 8

Their first album with C. Jay, but he's not contributing any songs yet. Joey wrote seven, Marky wrote two, and DEE DEE wrote three! This one is supported by a VERY strong mix, lots of loud warm guitar playing, and catchy tunes left and right. It seems a little polished for The Ramones, but it sure beats the amateurish Brain Drain mix. Dee Dee's songs are midtempo emotional rockers (okay, one is just macho and offensive, but the OTHER two are quite emotional! "Poison Heart," for example?), Marky contributes two great high-speed punk rock ass-kickers in "Anxiety" and "The Job That Ate My Brain," and even Jeneric Joey '60s Pop-So-Plenty comes up with some surprisingly strong numbers (specifically the catchy-as-a-football-made-of-glue "Heidi Is A Headcase" and fist-pumping punky popper "Tomorrow She Goes Away"). Real confident sound all around, and a damn fine rock and roll experience for fans of such things. Brings back the poppy early sound of the band without sacrificing the blunt force of their later material.

Something still bothers me about it though. It doesn't have that sick "this is reality; this is our lives" vibe to it -- it seems more like entertainment. I guess it's just that to me, without Dee Dee, there is no Ramones. It's like Pink Floyd without Roger Waters, or the Misfits without Glenn Danzig; no matter how authentic it sounds, it's still just not the real thing.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
I agree. It's NOT the Ramones. But it IS better than I had hoped it would be. "Tomorrow" is the best thing they'd done since 1986. The production is great. I really liked this album. ...In fact, I like this album a lot...I had to turn it down when I first got it--my wife got pissed--and that's a good sign. 8.

cellings@telepost.no (Christian Ellingsen)
Great record, great sound, best vocal in ages and C. Jay does a very good job on the two tracks he sings. I don't agree with you at all on C. Jay; I think it was time for dee dee to go. The band was standing still and it was time to move on. And they did, with style. "Tomorrow," "Cabbies On Crack," "Poison Heart," "Job That Ate My Brain," and "Strength To Endure" are all very good tunes. You say it's not the ramones-sound. Ok. But what is the ramones-style?? Is it the heavy stuff on their last records? Is it the pop-sound from mid-80's? I'm sure you meen the sound of their four-five first releases. But they have not sounded like that in over ten years! This record is great, and I am sure C. Jay has a lot to do with that. And, the record includes one of their finest moments of all time: "Touring." Ok it was written a long time ago, but what the heck...its so great. Why didn't they play it live??

kylit@akk.llaky.fi (Kimmo Ylitale)
NOT THE RAMONES SOUND?! NOT THE RAMONES SOUND?! What is the Ramones sound then? Did "Howling At The Moon" have typical Ramosounds? Basically the sounds have always been the same (guitaryouknow), but they have always followed their time (Halfway To Sanity was a bit of hardcore etc.). Mondo Bizarro has more traditional Ramones sounds than many others.

C. Jay Ramone is a great vocalist and a songwriter, he fits perfectly to Ramones. In some ways I think he's a better singer than Dee Dee (Older fans go ahead and shoot me!).

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
It's kind of bizarre, like the name says, but good. Some great songs and some are really catchy.

ronin2@email.msn.com (Dave Weigel)
Personally, I would invert your ratings and give this a 7 and Brain Drain and 8. But it's not my site, is it? Oh, how I wish it were.

It was all downhill after Dee Dee left, but this album provides some great and memorable music. "Strength to Endure" edges ahead of "Poison Heart" in my book, but they're both great Dee Dee semi-ballads. Marky proves himself pretty good at writing songs in the vein of Joey or Dee Dee, much like Mike Love did after 25 years of sitting next to Brian Wilson. As for Joey, it's pretty obvious that he can't write a great song by himself. Everything he does with Danny Rey is classic; his solo numbers are mediocre to crap. "Censorshit" has some of the clumsiest lyrics I've ever heard, but the riff saves it. "Cabbies on Crack" is dull, and "Touring" is a straight-up rip-off of "Rock 'N Roll High School".

I'm split on the Doors cover...overall, I hear 3 brilliant songs, 7 good ones, and 3 mediocrities. And C. Jay is okay. I would never want to replace Dee Dee; he gave it a try.

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
Gee, I didn't realize that C-Jay was gonna sing too. Turns out, the ones he gets to sing are the best on the whole album. By the way, leave Wart Hog for Dee Dee.

billsangry@aol.com
Joey sounds the best he has in ages on this one. I like it.

nenemalotodojunto@yahoo.com.ar
Aside from the Rock & Roll Highschool rip-off, "Tomorrow She Goes Away" has something in the chorus stolen from "Imagine", don't you think?

Add your thoughts?

Acid Eaters - Radioactive 1993.
Rating = 4

All covers, but they aren't even Ramones-styled covers! The C. Jay-sung "7 And 7 Is" and "My Back Pages" are great; the rest are boring and pointless. They aren't fast. They're just simplified versions of late sixties hits. Yahoo? No! Ya-BOO!

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
I had the same reaction to this album when I first heard it. However, I now think it's gonna be an album that a lot of Ramones fans remember fondly. I LOVE the cover of "Out Of Time". "My Back Pages" rocks. And "Journey To The Center Of The Mind"? DUDE!!!!

jeanette@euronet.nl
why don't you like acid eaters? It's all from the sixties and if you ever listened to the originals, you know why the Ramones started playing. This record is one of their best. They 'finally' go back to their roots. Everything song is great on this album, although they used to do "Surf City" a lot better on their Pleasant Dreams tour.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Bad. Bad covers. The worst Ramones covers ever. The worst Ramones album ever. What a disgrace to the best band ever! Oh well, if some people like it, that's fine, but personally I don't. However, it is hilarious to listen to sometimes, just because it's so bad!

relax@bellsouth.net
95% of the shit on this album makes up for the bilge they tried to sell us on Animal Boy and Mondo Bizzarro. All covers is a VERY stupid idea, but at that point in the Mones career, it worked.

pippen@netnet.net (Felipe)
I don't really like the cover songs they picked, I mean, if they had Dee Dee the creativity would be a lot better, because by this time Dee Dee was with his band ICLC and perfomed great songs. "I can't seem to make you mine" and "Surf city" that got me. The instruments sound great, but C. Jay's voice is really annoying, he doesn't have the skills to sing.

ramone.sabo@r1981.freeserve.co.uk
i'd like to point out that over the yrs i've had to go to london and watford (also in england, bout 30 mins away from my house) to get my ramones albums.

i went to watford especially to get acid eaters, i was already in alot of shit and warned not to go out that afternoon, regardless-i went.

i bought the album, put it on my walkman to listen to on the way home. i was dissapointed, i think i was hoping for alot more. i was disgusted- kinda didn't understand it. i put it on 3 days later, to give it a chance. it's never done much for me to date. i just kept thinking "they shoulda done another album, i'm sure their ideas hadn't dried out"

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
A bad idea.

BoolyGooly@aol.com
Not a bad album but it sounds like they were tired. In my opinion they should have taken those songs and revamped them as if they were playing live again in 76. But "Surf City" is pretty damn bad. It ends the album on a sour note.

billsangry@aol.com
I don't mind this one all that much. Some of the best songs on it are the most obscure ones. I love "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" and "Shape of Things to Come." It's kind of a "hit & miss" album.. I don't think I'd recommend it though..

okarovic@EUnet.yu (Ognjen Karovic)
They should cover some punk and hardcore from early eighties. That would be so fun! I only like Out Of Time and My Back Pages.

WBinder007@aol.com
I say it's a six. Some of the covers are good, others suck, but when it comes down to it, a Ramones album is a Ramones album, and they're all worth at least a few spins. Except maybe Greatest Hits Live.

sundanny@uol.com.br (Daniel)
I really love this album, I think that the covers are fantastics! I Can't Control Myself, Journey to the center of the mind, Have you ever seen the Rain, My Back Pages... C. Jay's voice is really good, it isn't so good as Joey's voice but it's a great voice. That album was the first Ramone's album that I have ever listened to and I really like it.

Jay
I enjoy reading your reviews and the comments. I do think the Ramones are the greatest rock n roll band. Some albums are a bit uneven, but I love everyone of them. The CJ songs really bother me. Joey should have been the only singer after Dee Dee quit. Your review of Acid Eaters says that CJ sang "7 and 7 is" and it is clearly Joey on vocals (and a great vocal). CJ only screws up "My Back Pages", "Journey to the Center of the Mind" and "Shape of Things to Come". This album gets ripped on quite often, but it is a fun listen and could have been better with all Joey vocals. You should give it another listen. "Have You Ever Seen the Rain", "Out of Time", and "When I Was Young" are all great. I was super excited when this came out. Ramones doing Love, The Who, Bob Dylan and other great 60's tunes. What is not to like? It's no masterpiece, but I am glad they made it.

Add your thoughts?

Adios Amigos! - Radioactive 1995.
Rating = 7

Thank God they were serious. Dee Dee wrote six of these (some of which are among the worst songs he's ever written), C. Jay wrote two, Marky wrote one (the fantastic punk rocker "Have A Nice Day"), and Joey contributed two of his best ever -- the up-and-up "Life's A Gas" and down-and-down "She Talks To Rainbows." The other two are covers. Like Mondo Bizarro, this is pretty good - I just feel like maybe if Dee Dee were actually IN the band, he wouldn't be handing them crap like "Cretin Family" and "It's Not For Me To Know." Still, "The Crusher" (from his rap album) rocks heartily, and "Born To Die In Berlin" is depressing as a shoe, 'cuz you know it's about him. He was born in Berlin and moved away at a very young age. And now he says he feels like he was born to die in Berlin? How sad! Bitter melody, too. Wonderful song. Easily the best one on here.

On the whole, it's kind of a poor career ender; C.Jay sings more than any Joey fan would want, and it's far too uneven, with all sorts of worthless should-have-been-outtakes (like the GOD-FUCKING-AWFUL Johnny Thunders cover) stinkin' up the otherwise nicely developed set of material. I still think they should have quit after Brain Drain, quite frankly. But what do I know about making a living? You know what I do for money? I'm a professional cheese wallet!

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
Even-handed review, Mark...and I agree for the most part. Dee Dee contributed crap for the most part. The best songs on the album: "Born To Die..." Awesome. The best Ramones song in...shit...since...hell, I'll go back to Rocket. Anybody wanna gimme a better one? "Got A Lot To Say" C'mon. The kid wrote a good one. Give it to him. :) "Life Is A Gas" Upbeat and sung like he meant it. "Cretin Family" is pretty embarrassing. But hell, C. Jay redeems it on Greatest Hits Live.

Give it a "B-"

remmert@gte.net (Rick Emmert)
I think that this is the best RAMONES album since Too Tough To Die. It is a fine farewell. A definite A+.

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
The best thing about this album is their 'tribute' to Johnny Thunders by doing his classic "I Love You" but other than that, what a piece of mainstream, over-produced crud.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
This album really has an attitude. The only album with songs by C. Jay I love "Got A Lot To Say"- maybe C. Jay should have written more for the Ramones. Who knows.

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
I was very surprised at how good this album is. There are some pimpin songs on here! "The Crusher," "Born to Die in Berlin," "Take the Pain Away," "Have A Nice Day," dammit, it just goes on and on! And why does everyone hate "Cretin Family"? I guess it's because of the lyrics. ("hey here's the mirror/see your stupid face...") That is pretty stupid. No matter. And "It's Not For Me To Know" is a good song too, so smoke it, Prindle. I really hope that I will be able to pull off an album like this when I'm 40+.

ramone.sabo@r1981.freeserve.co.uk
hey!-i dug this album. it's got alot of anger in it. i like what dee dee wrote and cretin family is very cool. i get to sing that and the crusher alot due to playing bass in a ramones cover band. mind you i didn't notice spiderman for a month or two.

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
She talks to rainbows is THE worst Ramones song ever. A very dissapointing farewell album. But, I still like it though. I think Dee Dee's "Crusher" is better.

BoolyGooly@aol.com
I think Spiderman is on that album. Joey sounds great, In fact I like it more when he sings less and growls more. His voice is fucking awesome any which way he uses it. Yet I always find myself fast fowarding over the C. Jay songs: The Crusher, Cretin Family The R.A.M.O.N.E.S. song is the best thing they've done in years

billsangry@aol.com
I've never been a big fan of Rey's production methods. He makes them sound kinda like "generic punk."

WBinder007@aol.com
Cretin Family is the worst song on any Ramones album I own, bar none. The Tom Waits cover and The Crusher are both really cool, and Born To Die In Berlin is amazing. Who thought Dee Dee had it in him? (Especially after Cretin Family. Yeesh.) I heratily second Prindle's seven.

sundanny@uol.com.br (Daniel)
She Talks to Rainbows it is my favorite Ramones song, and I think that's the best song that Joey wrote. It has fantastic lyrics, it's a fantastic song! And Born to Die In Berlin is great too, both songs. Take the pain away is a beautiful song. I really love those three songs, Cretin Family has great lyrics!! But I think that I Love You, The Crusher and others songs are weak... And I Don't Wanna Grow Up is great too! Its fun, and fast, and has great lyrics! Its a cover, but what can we do!? :D

jhmusicman12@gmail.com
"Why don't you get a hula hoop and do the cretin hop?" is my new favorite lyric of all time.

popedirect@gmail.com
I find CJ's songs really distinctive - the other guys seemed to stick to the formula, they wouldn't use a chord change like in "I Got a Lot to Say" (the tri-tone "devils interval", fact fans). Shame they didn't have him writing songs earlier. I like 'Scattergun' too

Add your thoughts?

Greatest Hits Live - Radioactive 1996.
Rating = 6

Didn't they just put out a live album a couple of years ago? And how can this be a "greatest hits" album if it doesn't have "Rock 'N' Roll High School?" Or "Chinese Rock?" Or "Psychotherapy?" Greatest hits, my ass.... "Cretin Family?" That's a greatest hit? Feh.

I'll give 'em one thing and one thing only. Okay, three things. (A) The guitar is louder in the mix than on Loco Live, (L) Joey actually tries to sing on key instead of just grunting everything, and (V) they were kind enough to include two previously unreleased (and darn enjoyable!) covers - Motorhead's "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." and Dave Clark Five's "Any Way You Want It." Still, it's a misnamed and extremely irritating release. If it were a bootleg, I'd give it a 7, but the fact that they had the gall to release it pisses me off so much, I docked 'em, pal. Oh yeah.

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
The thing that pissed me off about this release was the fact that the concert wasn't complete...enjoyed the fact that Stasium and Rey were at the helm...nobody else should have been... Joey and C. Jay really shine on this album...C. Jay redeems "Cretin Family" (which is utter nonsense, and embarrassing to this Ramones fan) and there are still plenty of overdubs...(Johnny is particularly lazy in his riffing...in stark contrast to C. Jay, who is right on the eighth notes most of the time) but the inclusion of the gorgeous "Any Way You Want It" is a must for Ramones fans..."R.A.M.O.N.E.S" is good too...and honestly...they didn't dole out shit to their fans...something I'll always be grateful for...thanks guys...

Coppa@worldnet.att.net (Joey Coppa)
I was at the concert which was recorded for greatest hits live. At the concert there were a LOT of songs which for some reason got edited out of the album. At the concert it was a lot of fun, and I thought it was my favorite concert I ever went to. I remember when I first got the album, I was disappointed. No pictures from the show, more than half the show was edited out, It just wasn't what I was hoping it would be. But it's still a lot of fun to listen to. I mean, it's a short live album, but it's filled with great songs. There are no songs that they play poorly or anything, you know? If you just forget about what songs the album should have, just listen to what's there, it's a great fun album. Oh yeah, at the show, they played "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." and "Any Way You Want It", which were both edited out, but added as bonus studio tracks.

centric6@jet.es
The Ramones was the best Punk-Rock band in this world. They were the first group that i hear when i was a child.

corpsebag@hotmail.com (Michael Cory)
Same opinion here, why put "53rd and 3rd" on an album and leave "Pinhead", and "Rock and Roll High School" off it??? Rip-off. They still play the songs fast though, some points for that.

hughpots@rocketmail.com (Hugh Udine)
RAMONES ARE GOD AND VICE VERSA!!!! GABBA GABBA HEY!!

reech@dorsai.org
They are to Punk as to what Moses was to religion. It would all be wanderin' in the wilderness and false idols without em, baby! No Punk or for that matter rock n roll fan should be allowed to have a stereo without also having their first 5 albums (I'm including It's Alive with the first 4 studio ones). My life was saved by Rock n Roll thanks to them!

HEY HO LET'S GO!

limbisc@earlham.edu (Scott)
I totally agree about this album sucking, but it was basically the last Ramones show I saw and like to think of it as a document of that. While C. Jay plays and sings well on it, listen to the 1234's. I thought that the count off meant that the song started on "5" but they actually don't. There's a delay from the 1234 to the song! What's wrong with that picture? "Cretin Family" and "Strength to Endure" needn't be on this record in place of the classics that I expect. I know what songs should be coming next in a couple of instances, but instead, I hear shite. I think that the last show would have made a more memorable record.

sessie@juno.com (Emily)
Like Loco Live, it's fast and fun, but where are the rest of the songs??!!! They cut out a lot of the concert for this album- too bad. But what they did leave on is great, and some great bonus tracks too.

My80CHEVY@aol.com
I LOVE THE RAMONES

ngp33@huroned.edu.on.ca (Fraser Tebbutt)
This was the first record I ever got of the Ramones after seeing them at Lollapalooza. I didn't know anything about them and now a year and a half later I have almost ten albums and I have had 5 dreams about meeting them they are addictive. But I wonder where all the rest of songs went and why were they taken off.

pippen@netnet.net (Felipe)
How the hell they wouldn't put pinhead in that CD??????!!!That's funny how they put "Spider-Man" and "Strenght to Endure" in this album. Why C. Jay sings so much??!!! That would be terrible for Dee Dee fans like me it's not fair. We never got Dee Dee singing live in a CD or even with Loud Background Vocals(C. Jay's vocals are louder than Joey's!!). It looks like they just made this CD to keep the fauth with the record company.

billsangry@aol.com
This is basically a condensed version of "Loco Live." I would MUCH rather have heard live versions of lesser played out Ramones songs like, "Freak of Nature, Why is it Always This Way, Humankind, I Lost My Mind, or All Screwed Up." I mean, I LOVE Teenage Lobotomy - but how many live versions of it are there?

WBinder007@aol.com
Okay, first of all, for a greatest hits album this one is missing quite a few songs. I'll admit that the two studio tracks are killer, but here's a partial list of what's missing. Babysitter, California Sun, Carbona Not Glue, Chain Saw, Chinese Rock, Commando, Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment, Glad To See You Go, Go Mental, Havana Affair, I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement, Judy Is A Punk, Let's Dance, Listen To My Heart, Loudmouth, My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg), Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, Oh Oh I Love Her So, Pinhead, Psychotherapy, Rock & Roll High School, Somebody Put Something In My Drink, Suzy Is A Headbanger, Swallow My Pride, The KKK Took My Baby Away, You Should Never Have Opened That Door and You're Gonna Kill That Girl.

At least half of those TWENTY-SEVEN songs should be on anything called a greatest hits package. But no, instead we get Cretin Family and Strength To Endure. I give it a three, and wish I never bought it.

Add your thoughts?

We're Outta Here! - 1997.
Rating = 8

So is this it? Are they done yet? I hope not. This is a great send-off, but I want more. No, no. Sit down. Let me explain.

What this is is is is is is is a "box set" featuring a CD of the Ramones' final concert and a nearly two-hour videotape retrospective. The CD, though definitely the most interesting live CD they've done since It's Alive (what with fantastically tough and tight sound, as well as lots of neat special guests like Eddie Vedder, Lemmy Kilmeister and some Rancid guys), is still just, alas, another live album - their third in only seven years (Rolling Stones, anyone?). The video, on the other hand, is wonsplendid! Everything a silly fan could dream of - live footage from all throughout their career (including some BITCHIN' stuff from 1974!!! Back when Joey was a fruity artsy guy, Johnny wore his shirt open wide so his rock and roll chest was showing, and the guys actually stopped to tune between songs), interviews with all of 'em, on-the-road footage from the 80's, hilariously dated appearances on Sha Na Na, The Uncle Floyd Show and (yay!) The Simpsons, an expose of Johnny's racist tendencies, chit chat from rich rock stars like Jello Biafra and some neat neat neat FILM footage of the final Ramones show, including a classic Dee Dee moment, walking on stage to guest sing "Love Kills," screwing up the band by starting the lyrics too early, singing all the lines in the wrong order, and completely forgetting the last verse before stalking off stage and continuing his ongoing vendetta against Mr. John Cummings. Great footage. Great video.

So what am I complaining about? The CD. We deserve something other than just "a document of the last concert." We're fans out here. We all KNOW about those early demos. We all KNOW about those hard-to-find B-sides. Some of us even know about some great Pleasant Dreams and Too Tough To Die outtakes. So what else is in the vaults that we DON'T know about? And when the hell are The Ramones gonna let us HEAR it? I can only hope that another box set is in the works. Ramones! You've got nothing to hide! Give us what we want! Ya bastards!

I'll give my diatribe a rest for now, but do me a favor, reader, and try to snag a copy of this videotape. The CD is pretty cool (except for Joey's typically godawful onstage belching), and the video is tops. There's even some footage from the It's Alive concert!!! And man - you ain't NEVER seen a more aggressive rock and roll band than this one. Dee Dee and Johnny are smashing and leaping and stalking around maniacally. Even Joey is jumpin' up and down and kicking his foot with his crazy short haircut of the day! What a band. Wottaband. Rock and shti!

POST-SCRIPT: They weren't done! They later released remastered versions of their first eight studio albums along with informational booklets and rare demos and b-sides included as bonus tracks. Buy them all!

Reader Comments

jnw@iglobal.net (Jim Hull)
You betchaass they were...whoo-WEE!!

If anyone thought the Ramones kicked ass in 1996, they should see the footage from 1974-81 and see how much ass they REALLY used to kick...the 30 seconds or so from the It's Alive show just made me salivate and bugged my eyes out of my head...the video is a must-have.

The CD, well, I can take it or leave it. There are so many live shows available, and it would have been nice to have a kind of companion cd of outtakes, since that's what the video is for the most part...and believe me, at least 1 cd of unreleased stuff exists...maybe someday.

I give this "Forest Hills Four Fun Pak" a 9. It's something every Ramones fan should have--if only for the video.

Zorak143@aol.com
First, the CD. Yes, it's just a recording of their final show, but it's good, and it's really the only way to accompany a retirement-box-thing like this. I'd rather have this in the box than outtakes. It's just, you know, more fitting. The outtakes can wait.

Second, the video. It's great!! Awesome old live footage, Joey feeding a kangaroo, and everything else you could ask for from a retrospective documentary. Anyone even remotely interested in the Ramones will like this.

RONIN@BELLATLANTIC.NET (Dave Weigel)
The live CD is indeed their best live album since the legendary It's Alive. Okay, Joey sounds kinda weak, but the song selection is perfect! Whose idea was it to play "The Crusher"? Give 'im a cigar! That song rules, and I never would have expected them to play it. Love the guest stars, too. Chris Cornell: "Hey! You wanna hear some more fuckin' Ramones? What? WHAT? Well make some fuckin' noise, 'cause this is your last fuckin' chance!"

Und ja, die video ist sehr wunderbar. Awesome, godlike live footage, hilarious home movies, corny TV appearances (except for the one on the Best TV Show of All Time, The Simpsons-it's not corny, it's brilliant), and hideous, um, "illuminaries" (a wart-covered Lemmy, a fat, grey-haired Debbie Harry). And there's Jello Biafra! Boy, nothing brightens my day like Jello.

I've rambled on long enough. Buy the box, hear the album, watch the video. It'll leave you with a tear in your eye, and a ring in your ears.

ngp33@huroned.edu.on.ca (Fraser Tebbutt)
Man Joey must have done a lot of drugs in his day, because he always forgets what he is going to say (my friends who aren't Ramones fans love those parts). Did you ever wonder where Johnny got his republican views from he said that he never wanted to do anything but he then complains about people on welfare. All in all they were great (even though they are my parents age) I am only 17 and I wish every day that I could go back to six years before I was born and meet them and befriend them. My goal in life is to meet one of the Ramones.

ji.gelin@worldnet.att.net (Glen Gibbs)
A rather astute review of the Ramones discography, however, I must disagree with the opinions expressed regarding the CD We're Outta Here. While it is an important historical document of the greatest band of all time, I found the performance rather disappointing. The songs are simply played too fast. I was also puzzled by the way Joey was singing the songs; after much scrutiny, I have reached the conclusion that I possess the capabilities by which to sing as well as he on this album. This is all too evident on "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" and "53rd and 3rd": my two favourite Ramones songs. "Gimme Gimme....." is played so impossibly fast that the memorable guitar riff is all but lost, While Joey sings in a low blue-sy grumble, completely forsakening the once beautiful melody. "53rd and 3rd" is transformed into nothing more than bad metal once again played at a ridiculous pace. Not to mention that one of the blonde stooges from Rancid singing the bridge to the song is both embarrassing and abysmal. This may also be an unpopular stance, but I believe C. Jay saves this record. "The Crusher" is one of the finest songs the Ramones have done in the last ten years, and "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." while not a Ramones song per say, is one of the catchiest songs I have ever heard. What do these songs have in common? C. Jay singing! I have rambled long enough.

santi_mart@geocities.com
el fan number one de THE RAMONES felicita a 'stos por todos los a'os de rabiosa vitalidad musical

HEY HO ! LET'S GO !

DanGBH@aol.com
Have to say I love this. My opinion may be deemed unworthy because [a] I'm a brit and [b] I never got to see the bastards live; I did hear a lot of bootlegs, though, and a lot of what I loved was the way they always seemed to try to play that bit faster than they could actually manage, and the way joey's superb voice was always a bit lost as he tried to keep up; that's how I heard it, anyway. I also thought Lemmy's notes and C. Jay's own (in the booklet) summed up just why he was great in the band. A load of enthusiasm goes a long way. And this album sounds hugely enthusiastic to me. It'll live a long time on my car stereo! If you saw them, even on a bad night, you shall have my envy forever. Why, by the way, on every recording I've ever heard which is innocent of overdubs, does Johnny miss his cue on the bit where he comes back in in "Blitzkrieg Bop?" After twenty years?

imes.judy@mcleodusa.net (Elliot Imes)
The best moment on the tape is when the crazy Buenos Aires people are crowded in the streets, and Marky is filming from inside the van. They try to drive through but the fans (who seem like they have no regard for their health) bang on the windows and try to get in the way of the band. Is it Marky who keeps saying, "Fuckin shit!!!"? Great segment. And of course, there's the Almighty Jello Biafra, who could make N Sync's farewell videotape be something worth watching.

About the CD, I was surprised about the speed of the songs, but when you get down to it, it makes the songs more energizing. And personally, I thing Lars from Rancid (who is definitely not a "blond stooge") sings the "53rd and 3rd" bridge better than Dee Dee sang it. So put that in your ass and reach for it. Anyhoo, it's a great retrospective...yaddayaddayadda....and so on. Also, I'm disappointed by how fat Joey is. That beerbelly does not bode well for punk rock.

you@nadn.navy.mil
The Ramones have a ton of unreleased stuff. Word is that they will be putting out a box set in '2000 that will include everything. I have the EP of "Smash You" ( a fantastic song) and "Street Fighting Man" (yes the Stones cover, and not very good) that is the b/w of 1994's "Howling At The Moon" single. I also have the "Pet Semitary" single with an unreleased track on it (aweful one too!). There has to be a ton more. My quick summery of the Ramones catalog......The "Tommy" era records are great....the best. Road to Ruin is OK, but not nearly anything over a 6. Just sounds like sellout. End Of The Century was even worse. A 5, maybe. Too overproduced, too under achieved. They just tried way to hard to make a "hit" record. Some great songs here, but some terrible ones (along with a Teen-mag style cover of the four looking quite fruity). Pleasent Dreams was Sire saying "we need a hit from you guys..." pretty much. A less polished version of ..Century with some pretty good tunes. Subterranian Jungle I kinda like. It's the CD to put in the mixer to break up the sound. They were different here, in a rushed way I think. Very catchy stuff that isn't anywhere's else...which might be why I like it too. Too Tough To Die is a great CD. They sounded fresh again, not washed up. Ritchie added new life here that the band was lacking. Great heavy rock tunes. Even the synth songs are great. Animal Boy tries too hard to be heavy. Too much skwalking passed as vocals here. The guitar on here sounds great though. Lots of edge to it. The title cut is also one of my fav's. "Apeman Hop" and "Crummy Stuff" are aweful. Too dumb, even for these guys! Halfway To Sanity is my least favorite Ramones record up to this point. "Go 'lil Camaro Go" with Debbie Harry is awefull. "I'm Not Jesus"? what were they thinking? The sound here has quickly become tired again. In concert, Ritchie and Dee Dee seem bored, making way too many mistakes. A year earlier, they were alive. On to Brain Drain. The mix is terrible. Marke's drums are too loud (were they that proud to have him back?) and most of the CD is just plain boring. I can't even remember the last time I played it! Now, the C. Jay years.....I like C. Jay. In concert he gave the group energy. He also did the same on the next two CD's. Mondo Bizzaro was kind of a return to the Too Tough To Die sound. The CD has energy. Great songs, probably the best CD since ..To Tough.... Great tour too! I even picked up one of those autographed posters they were selling...... On to Acid Eaters.....A tough call. I really like this CD. I liked it from day one, but I always liked the Ramones cover songs. Again, like Subterranian Jungle, a good CD to split things up. Hippies hate it, maybe that's another good thing about it! I don't go comparing it to original material, 'cause to me this was their Garage Days Revisited CD...and I like it. Now finally, Adios Amigos!......I was very disappointed. Back to sounding tired and dumb. Right up there with Brain Drain - as far as lackluster can be. They just sound spent here. As for live CD's.....1977's Leave Home is a gem. The best era, the best line up, the best sound.....The little "medley" on Rock 'n Roll High School is great too. Loco Live is bad. Joey can't, or won't, sing. Even in person, Joey is lacking in movement by this time. It just sounds, well, Iduno, fake. I have one thing that I do like, and that is the feel of the actual concert here. The "Good, the bad & the Ugly" opener, and even the order of songs was the same as many of the concerts that I had attended. A good document. So it's nostalgia, but crappy sounding. Greatest Hits Live - I think not. A record company obligation, I think so. The sound is better than Loco, but the song selection has too many of the recent duds rather than the classics. We're Outta Here is Loco Live sober. The music sounds a bit tighter, the singing is almost back. The guests are pretty cool, and the VHS is very cool. Now the new Box set.....hopefully it will be more studio stuff than live. I have a bootleg that has shows from 1977, 1981 and 1986 on it. By the time they started recording more live stuff (1986) they started sounding bad. A cool bootleg - it's called Paco Ramone Report Card on Red Robin records. Real poor quality, but you can hear the band get older! Gabba Gabba Hey!

ramone.sabo@r1981.freeserve.co.uk
i dug this but i thought it was a bit rushed. i thought dee dee should've sung 'anyway you want it' with them-now that would've been the ultimate ending.

GuerillaCookies@cs.com
The video was great. the c.d......I didn't think it was possible but there is such a thing as TOO fast. Even for the Ramones. Loved it anyway. Can't keep up though when i sing along with Joey.

billsangry@aol.com
The CD. A good listen..

The Video. Essential..

Seeing Marky Ramone wearing a bad wig. Priceless!!

Add your thoughts?

(Jeff Wilder reviews) Anthology: Hey Ho Let's Go - Rhino 1999.
Rating = 10

Perfect! A two CD, 58 song compilation with loads of great music! Has "Carbona Nut Glue" on it! Has all the classics like "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Beat On The Brat" and "I Wanna Be Sedated". Has plenty of killer album tracks. Has all the great songs from the uneven 80s albums. All that great music plus a hardcover booklet with pictures and liner notes. The only complaint I have is the absence of "We're A Happy Family." But other than that this compilation is perfect for both Ramones fanatics like myself and casual Ramones fans. GO BUY IT NOW!!!

Reader Comments

mihalek1@email.msn.com
ther's gonna be a new ramones song for a movie called too tough to die

cmyers@winston.com
Where the fug is Wart Hog on this comp? Great songs anyhow and the book is kick ass. Too bad it doesn't hold all the bsides and shit that the Warner/Rhino people are releasing in June when the first four albums are getting rereleased. What a shame, cashing in on Joey's dead body.

festivefriend@volny.cz
The Ramones were fucking shit. Limited. And don't make excuses for their limitations....you DON'T for Elton John, Roxette, Phil Collins etc. It's time people woke up from this ludicrous 25-year-old critical conspiracy that the Ramones were 'cool' just cos they were supposedly the first Yank punk group. They were rubbish, they had one good song and they regurgitated those SAME FUCKING THREE CHORDS time and again.

Strictly for stupid kitsch-loving wacko brain-dead dorks.

WBinder007@aol.com
To the person above blasting the Ramones, allow me to offer some constructive criticism:

You, my good sir or madam, are a fucking moron.

The Ramones didn't just reuse the same three chords over and over again, dipshit. If you're referring to the A-D-E progression from Blitzkrieg Bop, then yes, they did reuse it for the chorus of Oh Oh I Love Her So and maybe once or twice more, but this is a band that recorded over 200 songs. Reptition is bound to happen.

I'll admit that there are a few parts that sound alike, like the repetitive chugging on the B chord in both Beat On The Brat and Swallow My Pride, or the A chord at the beginning of Blitzkrieg Bop and Loudmouth, but the sheer amount of creative riffs laid down by Johnny shreds your grossly-inaccurate claim. Teenage Lobotomy (A,B,D,E,F#,G), Carbona Not Glue (A,D,F#,G,G#), Rockaway Beach (A,C,D,E,F,G) and Loudmouth (A,B,C,D,E,G), to name just a scant few, all have killer, creative riffs, and guess what? Each use more than three chords, you ass. The respective chords are in the parentheses next to the songs for proof.

If you're serious about them only having one good song, then I shudder to think about what your definition of "good" is. The first three records are phenomenal. Sure, from about 1986 on the only really good albums are the live ones, but to say that they only have one good song?! That's like saying that Brian Wilson was a halfway-decent composer and producer, or like saying that The Ventures were sort of talented musicians. And by the way, Ramones fans don't think they're cool because they were the first Yank punk band, we think they're cool because they were, and still are the best Yank punk band.

So, in conclusion, fuck you.

punkrock_derek@hotmail.com (Derek Ramone)
RE: eaten alive vol.1

So i got a call from a small record store near my home town and the record store owner tells me he got a rare album for me from the ramones ...so i went over and bought it off course.

when i got home i found out it was on green vinyl(excellent). there arent any words on the lp it just green with a big A and B on it. so i put it on the turntable and WOW...i havent heard this kinda rock n roll from the ramones since i bought rocket to russia.

It more like an rehearsel for its alive...same intro..same intro for here today gone tommorrow..more sloppy tough. joey doesnt fall in at the right time for lets dance en johnny get stuck with a cord in pinhead but in overall it a freakin great record with classic ramones numbers....and my favorite part is where joey introduces there next album rocket to russia ....it will be out in a couple of days..then someone from the auddience shouts its allready out...and joey says: ow it's allready out. pretty funny..:)

If you like it's alive and wanna hear more get your hands on the baby. i give the album an 8. gabba gabba greetz derek ramone

forum1313@hotmail.com (Grant)
The only thing wrong about this double album is the absence of some of there later hits. One track that is worth the purchase would be R.A.M.O.N.E.S. since the only studio album that's one is the Japanese version of Adios Amigos. The first cd is filled with 5 albums! That leaves them 9 albums to cover on the next cd. I think they are missing a lot of the early hits too, like "We're A Happy Family". I personally wouldn't mind paying a bit more for something more like a 5 or 6 cd anthology. But they did the best they could for 2 cds.

Mark.Triall@prudential.co.uk
Many thanks Mr Prindle for sharing your love of the Ramones on the World Wide Web.

I would have never listened to them otherwise. Thanks agian!

Trailly

ps - have you checked out new antipodean Rock voice the 'Datsuns' yet? Derivative yes, but they kick butt.

dasfichte@web.de (Dominic)
johnny's dead. R.I.P.

Add your thoughts?

The Family Tree - Music Brokers 2008
Rating = 7

The Ramones are my favorite band of all time, so of course I've found occasion to enjoy their solo material. Dee Dee and Joey's efforts are reviewed elsewhere on this site, Marky's mainly suffer from poor (non-Marky) vocalists, and C. Jay's are hit-or-miss as well. But this double-CD is having none of my complaints, piling together a 28-track collection of solo material, side projects and sundry other assortments.

Featured are:
6 - Dee Dee solo (one with Joey singing, another with Lux Interior)
6 - Joey singing with other bands (Die Toten Hosen, The Rattlers, Blackfire, Sibling Rivalry, Youth Gone Mad, The Independents)
6 - Marky solo (with The Intruders, Osaka Popstar, Cherry Currie & Wayne Kramer)
3 - C.Jay solo (with Bad Chopper, Bien Desocupados)
2 - 1975 Ramones demos ("I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," "Judy Is A Punk")
2 - Johnny playing guitar with The Swing Cats (one with Lemmy on vocals)
1 - Tommy solo (with Uncle Monk)
1 - Joey solo
1 - Tribute to Joey Ramone featuring no members of the Ramones (The Bowery Electric Crew)

Among these featured tracks are six Ramones covers, including:
- "Blitzkrieg Bop" by Joey and Die Toten Hosen
- "Slug" by Joey and The Independents
- "Pet Sematary" by Marky
- "The KKK Took My Baby Away" by Marky & Osaka Popstar
- "I'm Making Monsters For My Friends" by Dee Dee Ramone I.C.L.C.
- "Punishment Fits The Crime" by CJ & Bien Desocupados

Also within the featured tracks appear eight covers of songs by other artists, including:
- John Cage's "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Srings" by Joey
- Blodwyn Pig's "See My Way" by Sibling Rivalry (Joey and his brother Mickey Leigh)
- Metallica's "Jump In The Fire" by Dee Dee
- Nirvana's "Negative Creep" by Dee Dee
- Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas" by Johnny & the Swing Cats
- Roy Brown's "Good Rockin' Tonight" by Johnny & the Swing Cats (probably learned from the Elvis Presley version)
- The Runaways' "Cherry Bomb" by Marky, Cherry Currie and Wayne Kramer
- The Beatles' "Nowhere Man" by Marky & the Intruders

The other half are original songs by the original artists, some of which are mighty good (Dee Dee's "I Am Seeing UFOs," "Now I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Bad Horoscope"; Joey & the Rattlers' "On The Beach") and others of which blow the man down (Marky's overhappy "3 Cheers For You," Joey & Blackfire's shitty pop-punk-ska-hardcore "Lying to Myself," The Bowery Electric Crew's sappy cornball "The Bowery Electric"). You can find all of this material on other releases (it is a compilation, after all), but would you want to!? Most of you probably don't even own all the proper Ramones albums, let alone a Dee Dee or Marky solo album. So let this budget-priced sampler be your guide!

Highlights of interest that I feel like pointing out are:
- Johnny's guest appearances on the Swinging Cats songs, which consist of an incongruently heavy fuzz guitar backing up twangy '60s leads
- Dee Dee's covers of "Jump In The Fire" and "Negative Creep," which strongly suggest he's never heard either song
- Tommy's solo track, a banjo bluegrass song called "Round The Bend" that fits the rest of this material about as well as a Chinese Checker would fit a Parcheesi board. (Not very well -- after all, it's a MARBLE! It'd just ass-roll all over the buttfucking place!)
- My penis

Hey come on if a man can't point out his penis anymore then we're living in Communist Africa.

Let's close down the bar with some hilarious new jokes created in today's "It" world:

Knock knock!
Who's there?
The Ramones!
The Ramones who?
No no, I said "Pheromones." Smell me and let's do it.

Why did The Ramones cross the road?
To lay down the track "Now I Wanna Cross Back Over The Road"

How many Ramones does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Hopefully not many or you're gonna need a shovel.

This all reminds me of an occurrence that happened (alt. "happenstance that occurred") to me two weeks ago. I was speaking with people at this thing, and one of them voiced a desire to go to Rockaway Beach. A second responded, "How long does it take to get there?" I never in my life thought I would get the chance to use this lyric in conversation so I calmly responded, "It's not far - not hard to reach."

Nobody caught my reference.

I AM OFFICIALLY FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OLD.

Add your thoughts?


Other Ramones Web Sites

* THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE ON EARTH YOU'RE ALLOWED TO BUY RAMONES CDS.

* http://www.ramones.be/

* Ramones Club

* The Blitzkrieg Psycho's Therapy Bop

The Ramones are awfully good, so read my interviews with Tommy, Marky and C. Jay!