Often viewed by critics as the first punk band, the Ramones are an incredibly important act in the history of rock and roll. By stripping rock down to its basic elements, they created something new, brash and exciting, and breathed new life into the music industry.
The roots of the Ramones go back to early 1960's rock and roll, and the band's style (jeans, leather jackets) showed these influences. This was probably one of the factors that made them so influential -- they were doing something new, but it was connected to rock's past.
The Ramones got their start in New York City, and they quickly became part of the punk/new wave scene at CBGB's that included Blondie, Talking Heads, and Television among others. Their early sets (often featuring 10 songs in 20 minutes) soon gathered a following, and they were signed by Sire in 1975. Their debut album came out the following year, and the band then began a relentless touring schedule for the next 20 or so years.
In spite of the band's importance, they had only modest commercial success, and in 1980 they decided to work with Phil Spector on their fifth album, End of the Century. While the combination was a bit weird, it also made some sense, as the band's 1960's influences and desire for more commercial success fit well with Spector's strengths. The resulting album was surprisingly good, though the recording sessions were tumultuous (at one point, Spector apparently pulled a gun on the band).
While End of the Century was the band's highest charting LP, it only reached #44, and none of the singles charted. The band would go on to tour and release records up until their breakup in 1996. Sadly, Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee would all pass away within eight years of the breakup.
Cool trivia facts: "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" was the 103rd video played on MTV (on the first day).
The Ramones never had a top 40 hit; 1977's "Rockaway Beach" was their highest charting single at #66.
In 2002, Spin Magazine ranked the Ramones as the second greatest band ever, trailing only the Beatles.
The Ramones video for "Pet Sematary" was posted on the blog in October 2013 as part of our annual All Hallows Even celebration.