RAMONES by RAMONES – Released 23 April 1976
First real punk album ever? Oops, dangerous discussion. I don’t know and to be honest I
don’t care. For me it’s one of the most memorable LP’s ever and that’s what counts in my book. 14 bubblegum pop punk blitzkrieg tracks in 29 explosive minutes generated by 4
bored looking dudes with lousy haircuts, leather jackets (probably stolen) and dirty jeans.
No useless guitar solos. No arty farty electronics. No expensive special production effects.
The instruments were recorded in three days, the vocal parts were canned in four days.
Producer Craig Leon admitted that they recorded the LP quickly due to budget restrictions,
but also that it was all the time they needed. The final result was just smashing. Loud. Fast. Primitive. And an unforgettable motto: 1-2-3-4! The songs were stripped to the bone with wicked, nihilistic lyrics like never before. The unfamiliar tumult was confrontational (my reflection after the first song the first time: what the hell is going on here?), spectacular &
most of all: a fresh, very welcome, crushing new start for good old rock ‘n roll. Back to the dangerous alleys in dark suburbs of great cities. No more superstars. Power to the kids
on the block who have nothing else to do. Original drummer (and later producer) Tommy
once said that the band was just an idea. I believe him. I can imagine that the choice was
quite simple for these four no future teenagers: music or jail. GABBA GABBA HEY!. Now,
let’s have some dazzling fun at high-speed…
Start: Ramones formed in 1974 in Queens, New York
Production cost of the album: $6400
Producer: Craig Leon – also famous for his work with Blondie , later on he focused
more on classic music and worked with Luciano Pavarotti, Andreas Scholl, Sir James
Galway and The London Chamber Orchestra among others
Front cover of the LP: a photo of the band in front of a brick wall in NYC – the record company paid only $125 for the now legendary picture taken by Roberta Bayley…
Record label: Sire Records
Speed: most tracks averaged more than 160 beats per minute
Score: the album was certified as gold by the Recording Industry of America – 38 years
after first release date – on 30 April 2014 , having sold more than 500,000 copies by then..
What Rolling Stone said at the time: “Let’s hope these guys sell more records than Elton John has pennies. If not, shoot the piano player. And throw in Paul McCartney to boot.”
Move your furniture!
Here’s the classic in full…
(expanded edition – original tracks: #1 – #14)