The Ramones were a punk rock band which formed in Queens, New York, United States in 1974. The band originally consisted of Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitar), Dee Dee Ramone (bass) and Tommy Ramone (drums).
The band originally formed as a 3-piece with Dee Dee on bass/vocals and Joey drumming. Soon realizing this line-up would not work, their producer, Thomas Erdelyi (aka Tommy Ramone) joined as drummer and Joey took on lead vocal duties. This began the line-up for their first three albums. Tommy left the band in 1978 and was replaced by Marky Ramone. Marky was kicked out of the band in 1983 and was replaced by Richie Ramone, who left in 1987. Marky returned to the band in late 1987. The drumming duties, between Richie’s departure and Marky’s return, were filled by former Blondie drummer Clem Burke. He only played two shows and was fired due to his inability to keep tempo with the rest of the band. Dee Dee left the band in 1989 and was replaced by C. J. Ramone. The Joey/Johnny/Dee Dee/Marky lineup was the longest lasting lineup in the band’s career (15 years). The Joey/Johnny/CJ/Marky lineup of the band remained together until the band’s final split in 1996 for a total of eight years.
They were one of the first punk rock bands and the influence of their straightforward, stripped-down sound has been immeasurable. They formed in Queens, New York in 1974 and from there on they slogged & toured through an often unwelcoming rock music industry for 22 years, playing 2,263 gigs before hanging up their trademark leather jackets.
Their sound was honed at the infamous CBGB’s venue in New York’s Bowery, where the band debuted short, sharp songs delivered with high volume intensity, eschewing guitar solos for simple, direct barre chords. The Ramones’ first album “set the blueprint for punk.”
The band released 16 albums of mainly-original material until their split in 1996, starting with the eponymous release ‘Ramones’, and ending with ‘Adios Amigos’. Several live and compilation albums were released, mostly during the last few years of the group.
Sadly, the end of the century saw the deaths of founding members Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitar) and Dee Dee Ramone (bass). Tommy Ramone (drums) is the last surviving member of the original line-up. Marky Ramone is the only surviving member of the longest standing lineup of the Ramones. Tommy and Marky Ramone are the only surviving members that are in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
Singer Joey Ramone (aka Jeffry Ross Hyman) was the first band member to die, in 2001 at a New York hospital of Lymphoma, while fellow founding members Dee Dee (Douglas Colvin) passed next in 2002 of a heroin overdose in L.A. and guitarist Johnny Ramone (John Cummings) died in 2004 of prostate cancer. Eddie Vedder and John Frusciante were among those at Johnny’s bedside in Beverly Hills at the time of his passing.
The band Bad Brains took its name from a Ramones song. Green Day members have gone as far as naming their children in honor of the band. Billie Joe Armstrong named his son Joey as tribute to Joey Ramone, and Tre Cool named his daughter Ramona for the similar reasons.