The original line-up of The Ramones. From left to right: Joey Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone and Tommy Ramone.
"Hey, ho! Let's go!"1-2-3-4! The Ramones
, an American rock band first formed in 1974, are widely regarded as the first Punk Rock
Their influence on the Punk Rock
movement was musical rather than political. While the Sex Pistols
or The Clash
's lyrics focused on sticking it to the man, The Ramones preferred to talk about common juvenile themes, like love, drugs, alienation and cheap horror movies. In contrast to the luxuriant symphonic rock that was dominant at the time, they wrote very simple, very fast songs. Their other schtick was to adopt pseudonyms; all the various members of the band went by "[First Name] Ramone" even though none of them were related, and (for that matter) none of them had that surname in real life. While their influence on rock music is widespread (one magazine ranked them the second-greatest band ever, behind only The Beatles
), their records never sold well and they toiled on in relative obscurity for many years before finally giving up the ghost in 1996.
In an all too bittersweet way
, the band are now arguably far more famous and are given more credit now than when they ever were performing
, and after all of the founding members have died
Principal Members (Founding members in bold):
- Marc Bell (Marky Ramone) - drums (1978–1983, 1987–1996)
- Clem Burke (Elvis Ramone) - drums (1987)
- Douglas Colvin (Dee Dee Ramone) - bass, backing and lead vocals, guitar, synthesizer (1974-1989, died 2002)
- John Cummings (Johnny Ramone) - guitar (1974-1996, died 2004)
- Thomas Erdelyi (Tommy Ramone) - drums (1974-1978, died 2014)
- Jeffery Hyman (Joey Ramone) - lead vocals, drums (1974-1996, died 2001)
- Richard Reinhardt (Ritchie Ramone) - drums, backing and lead vocals (1983-1987)
- Christopher Joseph Ward (C.J. Ramone) - bass, backing and lead vocals (1989–1996)
- 1979 - It's Alive
- 1991 - Loco Live
- 1996 - Greatest Hits Live
- 1997 - We're Outta Here!
- 2001 - You Don't Come Close
- 2003 - NYC 1978
"Hey ho! Let's trope! Hey ho! Let's trope!":
- Album Title Drop: In "Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio" for End Of The Century.
"It's the end, the end of the '70s
It's the end, the end of the century."
- Anti-Christmas Song: "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)".
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking/Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "I'm Against It" goes back and forth with these tropes, as Joey rejects politics, communists, games and fun, Jesus freaks, circus geeks, summer and spring, sex and drugs, waterbugs, playing ping pong, the Viet Cong, Burger King, anyone and anything.
- Batter Up: Beat on the Brat is basically this trope's theme song.
"Beat on the brat, beat on the brat, beat on the brat with a baseball bat, oh yeah!"
- Big Applesauce: Played a major role in forming the New York punk scene, and many of their songs referenced different parts of New York City.
- "53rd and 3rd".
- "Oh Oh I Love Her So":
"Then we went down to Coney Island."
- "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker":
"Well New York City really has it all oh yeah oh yeah."
- "Rockaway Beach".
- "We're A Happy Family":
"Sittin here in Queens eating refried beans."
- "I Just Want to Have Something to Do":
"Hanging out on Second Avenue Eating chicken vindaloo."
- "All's Quiet on the Eastern Front":
"New York beauty take my breath away."
- The Big Guy: At 6'6", Joey towered over every other member and most other musicians.
- Black Comedy: The band always had some pretty dark songs, but "Beat On The Brat," "We're A Happy Family," "Teenage Lobotomy" and "Wart Hog" just wallow in this trope.
- Brooklyn Rage: Unlike other NYC Bands, they were not from Manhattan but Forest Hills, Queens.
- Catch Phrase: ONETWOTHREEFOUR!
- Control Freak: Johnny Ramone.
- Cover Version: The entirety of Acid Eaters consists of this. Further, the band covered their '60s pop influences throughout their career. On their very first album, otherwise all original material, the boys included a cover of "Let's Dance" (Chris Montez), and their last album started with Tom Waits' "I Don't Want to Grow Up" from Waits' Bone Machine. Other notable covers included:
- "California Sun" (The Rivieras).
- "Do You Wanna Dance?" (Bobby Freeman).
- "Needles and Pins" (The Searchers).
- "Surfin' Bird" (Trashmen).
- "Substitute" (The Who).
- "Take It As It Comes" (The Doors).
- ... And two of their most unusual covers, the theme for the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon, and Motorhead's tribute song to the Forest Hill Four themselves, "R.A.M.O.N.E.S."
- Dark and Troubled Past: Dee Dee's life is littered with hard drugs, abusive relationships and even male prostitution.
- Dead Artists Are Better: They kept touring and recording relentlessly, but never got much wealth or recognition for it... until they disbanded and the first four members had died.
- Department of Redundancy Department: A large portion of their songs consist of only a few lines or stanzas repeated over and over.
- Downer Ending: On so many levels. From all accounts, Joey and Johnny never did resolve their differences. The band never did achieve the big hits they were chasing for 20 years. The band were thoroughly dissatisfied with how their last show came off. Joey succumbed to lymphoma in 2001, Dee Dee died of a heroin overdose just over a year later, and Johnny died in 2004 from prostate cancer. The band's first drummer and the last surviving original member, Tommy Ramone lived for several years after his former bandmates, but subsequently died of bile duct cancer in 2014.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Many Ramones songs are straightforward to a fault. Just a few examples:
- "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement" is about not wanting to go down to the basement.
- "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" is about wanting to sniff glue.
- "I Don't Care" is about not caring about stuff (specifically, "this world" and "that girl").
- Filk Song: They had a few.
- "Chain Saw" was based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
- "Pinhead" was based on the movie Freaks, with the "Gabba Gabba Hey!" chant being an adaptation of the "Gooboo Gabba Gooboo Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us" chant from the film.
- "Pet Sematary", which was written for the film.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Joey is Phlegmatic, Johnny is Choleric, Dee Dee is Melancholic and Marky is Sanguine.
- Grief Song: "The KKK Took My Baby Away".
- Heavy Meta: "Rock and Roll High School" and "Rock and Roll Radio".
- Instrumentals: "Durango 95", their only song without any vocals. After its release in 1984, it became their traditional concert opener, prefaced with a recording of the theme from The Good The Bad And The Ugly.
- Irony: They will always be associated with New York, but their last concert was in California.
- It Is Pronounced Tro PAY: Sometimes Joey enunciates words in rather nonstandard ways. For example, in "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement," he manages to say "basement" in one syllable: "bas'm." In "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," he pronounces "Massacre" with a long e sound.
- "I Want" Song: Many songs contain the phrase "I Wanna" or "I Don't Wanna". A collection of them have been gathered and parodied here◊.
- Examples in the titles include "I Wanna Be Sedated", "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend", "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue", "I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement", "I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You", "I Don't Wanna Be Learned/I Don't Wanna Be Tamed", "Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy", "I Wanna Be Well" "I Wanna Live".
- Partial Exceptions: "I Just Want To Have Something To Do", "I Wanted Everything", "I Don't Want You", "I Want You Around", "We Want The Airwaves".
- Occasionally, as noted in the covers above, they would ask "Do YOU Wanna Dance?"
- These also appear within the lyrics, for example, in "Pet Sematary":
I don't wanna be buried
In a pet sematary
I don't want to live my life again.
- Limited Wardrobe: Their stage attire varied even less than their music.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Outsider."
- Miniscule Rocking: Of course. The first album packs 14 songs into barely 29 minutes.
- Mohs Scale of Lyrical Hardness: Their most dark-humored stuff can reach 8, but stuff like "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" can go as low as 2.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Averages a 6.
- The Movie: Rock 'n' Roll High School.
- Music of Note: Allmusic credits them as the first punk rock band, and their minimalist approach is staggeringly influential.
- Pop Punk: Trope Namer.
- Power Ballad: "Poison Heart".
- Professional Wrestling: "The Crusher", which originated on Dee Dee's rap album. The band re-recorded it for their last studio album, ˇAdiós Amigos!, with different lyrics.
- Protest Song: "My Brain is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)", an anti-Ronald Reagan song that Republican Johnny Ramone hated.
- "We Want the Airwaves" is about radio owned by corporations not airing rock music any more.
- Punk Rock: One of the bands that defined its ethos.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Deconstructed. They were a mess for most of their existence, and despised each other and were profoundly miserable at times.
- Refrain from Assuming: "Blitzkrieg Bop" is not "Hey Ho Let's Go".
- Sequel Song: "The Return of Jackie and Judy," for one.
- Serious Business: By many accounts, perennial Control Freak Johnny treated the band as such. Even the band's attire was this - he once blew up at CJ backstage just for taking off his shirt during a set.
- Shout-Out: The name Ramone was one, taken from "Paul Ramon", the pseudonym Paul McCartney used to check into hotels during The Beatles' touring days.
- John Cusack's character Jake Anderson is wearing a Ramones T-shirt in a scene from Must Love Dogs.
- And one Teenage Bottlerocket song has the singer giving a girl his Ramones sweatshirt.
- Also, one of Sylar's victims in Heroes wore a Ramones T-shirt — which Sylar later wears to pass off as the guy just before Mohinder comes to pay him a visit.
- Singer Namedrop: "The Return of Jackie and Judy":
"Just to see the Ramones. Oh-yeah."
- Single Stanza Song: They were quite partial to this one. Examples include "I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," "Listen To My Heart," "It's A Long Way Back."
- Spelling Song: Motorhead wrote one about the band, "R-A-M-O-N-E-S". The band later did a Cover Version themselves.
- Stage Names: Taken by all of the group's members. None of them are related.
- Studio Chatter: Usually this just consists of Dee Dee counting in songs in his distinctive way. However, "Danger Zone" has a little bit more than that:
Dee Dee: Which song are we doin'?
Johnny: "Danger Zone"!
Dee Dee: Oh, ready? note One-two-three-four!
- Subdued Section: "Blitzkrieg Bop" of course.
- Step Up to the Microphone: The song "Wart Hog", arguably the Trope Maker if not Ur Example of the "passionate and barely comprehensible screaming" variant of Hardcore Punk, is sun- er, performed by bassist DeeDee Ramone.
- Take That: To a lot of Album-Oriented, Progressive, baroque, guitar-solo filled music that dominated most of The Seventies.
- "Censorshit" is one to Moral Guardians (specifically calling out Tipper Gore by name), saying they're suppressing free speech and should focus on more important problems instead.
- Teenage Death Songs: "7-11," "53rd & 3rd."
- Those Wacky Nazis: Johnny Ramone had something of a fascination for Nazism and Nazi imagery, so lyrics mentioning or discussing Nazism pop up from time to time. This is probably most famously seen in "Blitzkrieg Bop", arguably the band's Signature Song, but more explicitly in songs like "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World", which uses the lyrics "I'm a Nazi schatze, y'know I fight for the fatherland." The lyrics were originally going to repeatedly state "I'm a Nazi, baby" until the president of the record label told the band to change them.
- Three Chords and the Truth: Almost every song. Sometimes two chords.
- Which could be attributed to Johnny Ramone's hatred of guitar solos. They were originally started because they "had gotten bored with everything else" and described '70 rock as overextended jams.
- Today X, Tomorrow the World!: "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World."
- Trope Codifier: Punk Rock, at least the musical aspect.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change: "I Wanna Be Sedated", "The KKK Took My Baby Away".
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Joey and Johnny Ramone — the two were polar opposites politically and philosophically, Johnny's fascination with Nazism led to endless anti-Semitic jokes at Joey's expense, Joey constantly vetoed Johnny's edgier songs, and the two ultimately stopped speaking to each other after Johnny stole Joey's girlfriend, and ultimately married her. Nonetheless, the two remained professionally inseparable, and when Joey died in 2001 Johnny was reportedly devastated and entered a prolonged depression.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Typically the songs make some general sense, but sometimes there's some... odd insertions (like the whole "Do you like bananas?" bit on "This Ain't Havana").
- Could be a reference to "Havana Affair" from their first album.
PT-boat on the way to Havana
I used to make a living, man
Pickin' the banana.
- What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs? — dramatically inverted in "Wart Hog" Not only were the ranting, Poe's Law inducing lyrics the product of a very bad trip according to Word of God, the song explicitly mentions this fact. Twice. In separate verses. One verse contains the lines:
I wanna puke, I can't sit still
Just took some dope and I feel ill.