Back in the 70s, an analyst would have had a field day with my music collection. It was pretty eclectic. From early prog rock, via hard rock, via metal, via hardcore funk, via disco, via Kate Bush to (whisper it) folk, Motown, Stax, Philadelphia, I had it pretty much covered.
Then we had The Ramones, the archetypal American punks. I had all four of their first albums (they went a bit soft on the fifth when Phil Spector shoved his mitts on the production), and they really were four great guys with three great chords.
There was Joey Ramone (aka Jeffrey Hyman), a lead singer who looked like a leather jacketed broken stick insect with bad hair, ripped jeans, shades, and a truly indefensible haircut.
Johhny Ramone (John Cummings), similarly clad similarly bad hair, and the original three chord wonder. Onstage he had a very distinctive stance, legs apart, knees bent, feet turned in, axe below his crotch.
Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin) played bass badly and loudly, and had the required pudding basin haircut.
Lastly we had Tommy Ramone (Thomas Erdelyi). He had bad hair too, and he wasn’t what you’d call technically proficient, but he could hit things very hard and very fast.
I went to see the Ramones back in 1977, and they had one of the loudest, and definitely most distorted, PA systems I’ve ever been subjected too. The venue had fixed seating, and I used the term ‘had’ advisedly. The crowd was boisterous, and the first three rows of seat ended up in the orchestra pit.
All the original line-up are dead now, and I mourned the death of each one with a little sigh. But last week I stumbled across some documentary footage of them, and I was transported back in time. Gabba gabba hey, as they say.
One odd thing was that this chaotic, noisy bunch of four idiots got into the UK charts on a regular basis. They were up there with the Damned, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and all the other denizens of The Vortex. Imagine that today in the era of Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift*, and autotune. Good luck with that task, because it’s beyond me.
Now I’m gonna sniff some glue. Bye.
*Actually, I don’t mind her.