Joey-Ramone-Obituary

Joey Ramone

Obituary

NEW YORK (AP) – Singer Joey Ramone, the punk rock icon whose signature yelp melded with the Ramones' three-chord thrash to launch an explosion of bands like the Clash and the Sex Pistols, died Sunday. He was 49.

Ramone, the gangly lead singer with the leather jacket, tinted glasses and permanently-torn jeans, was hospitalized last month with lymphoma. His death was confirmed Sunday by Arturo Vega, the Ramone's longtime artistic director.

The Ramones – its four members adopted the common last name after forming the band in 1974 – came out of Queens, a motley collection of local losers with limited musical skills. Joey became the lead singer only after his drumming proved too rudimentary to keep up with his bandmates' thunderous riffs.

While British bands such as the Sex Pistols and Clash received the media attention once punk rock exploded, both were schooled by the Ramones' tour of England that began on the U.S. Bicentennial – July 4, 1976.

"They changed the world of music. They rescued rock and roll from pretentiousness and unnecessary adornments," said Vega.

Their "do-it-yourself," garage-rock influence still echoes today in bands like Green Day and the Offspring. The low-tech Ramones spent just two days and $6,000 recording their 1976 debut album.

"They're the daddy punk group of all time," said Joe Strummer, lead singer of the Clash, in a recent Spin magazine interview.

Despite their influence and critical acclaim, the Ramones never cracked the Top 40.

Bruce Springsteen, after seeing the Ramones in an Asbury Park, N.J., club, wrote "Hungry Heart" for the band – but his manager convinced The Boss to keep the eventual hit single. The Ramones' best-known songs reflected their twisted teen years in Queens: "Beat on the Brat," "I Wanna Be Sedated," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," "Teenage Lobotomy," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker."

Joey Ramone was born Jeffrey Hyman on May 19, 1951. His career started during the early 1970s glam-rock era, when he played in several New York bands – occasionally under the name Jeff Starship.

But his collaboration with Dee Dee, Johnny and Tommy Ramone was something special. They became fixtures in downtown clubs like CBGBs and Max's Kansas City, joining fellow punkers like Patti Smith and Richard Hell.

The scene eventually produced commercially successful bands like Blondie and the Talking Heads.

The Ramones recorded their first album of two-minute, three-chord blasts in February 1976. The band then earned a loyal cult following with a seemingly endless string of tours where they would crank out 30 songs in 90 minutes.

In 1979, Joey and the band appeared in the Roger Corman movie "Rock N' Roll High School," contributing the title song to the soundtrack. They also did the title track for the film "Pet Semetary," based on the book by Ramones fan Stephen King.

Their last real stab at commercial success came in a bizarre 1980 collaboration with producer Phil Spector – a session that bassist Dee Dee Ramone recalled most for Spector's pulling a gun on the band inside his Beverly Hills mansion.

Joey eventually wound up singing a syrupy version of Spector's classic "Baby, I Love You" – the strangest recording of the band's 22-year career. The Spector-produced "End of the Century" did become the Ramones' best-selling record, hitting No. 44 on the charts.

Five years later, the band released "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" – Joey Ramone's angry rant about President Reagan's visit to a German military cemetery.

The Ramones disbanded in 1996 after a tour that followed their final studio album, "Adios Amigos." A live farewell tour album, "We're Outta Here!", was released in 1997.

Since the band's demise, Joey Ramone kept a fairly low profile – occasionally popping up to perform or host shows at Manhattan clubs, making occasional radio show appearances, and working on a solo album that was never released.


Copyright © 2001 The Associated Press


Guest Book

Not sure what to say?

Really liked his singing and leading the band!

Dear Ramone Family my condolences's for your'e loss I'm terribly sorry to hear that.my name is Faith Tobin./he'll surely be missed.luv,Faith

I still love this band and have been calling The Ramones my favorite band since the 70s. I saw them in concert once in a gym, general admission... back before people were getting trampled to death by exuberant fans. Rest in peace, Joey, DeeDee, Johnny and Arturo Vega. You are all missed and remembered. Tommy, rock on and make it about the music.

I Love Music, it is even better when two Brother's share the wealth! Rockaway Beach!

This is hard to say. So much has already been said about you and the RAMONES.I will always recall that throughout my troubled childhood, I could listen to "I Want You Around" and instantly feel okay. Your music cheered me up and kept me alive. My children will inherit my RAMONES albums. You will be missed, but your legacy will live forever.

MAN....MAN.....MAN!IVE BEEN A FAN FOR SO MANY YEARS.HE WAS A GOD TO THE PUNK GENERATION AND IT WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WITHOUT HIM.I WENT AND SEEN END OF THE CENTURY IN ATL,I CANT BELIEVE HES GONE.TO ALL OUR PUNKERS IN AMERICA.....GABBA GABBA HEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!NY NY

A great lead singer in one of the best bands ever. My sympathy to the family and friends of this great person. Your music will live on!

I had the greatest thrill seeing the Ramone's at Joe's Big Bamboo in Little Rock a couple of years ago. I grew up on their music and it was so wonderful to see them live and to meet them in person. Joey you will be greatly missed.