First Ramones

Partially because this was Rolling Stone’s #1 punk album of all-time I listened to it, among others, on my way out to LABR last Friday.

1) There are several other albums I could argue for #1, but I could also easily defend this one.

2) Joey’s vocal inflections are classic, “Now I Wanna Snib Some Glub” and “I Don’t Wanna Go, Down To The Basem” come to mind immediately. There are plenty of others. What’s the source of this genius/idiocy?

3) Realized on the flight out that I know every single word to every single song on this album. In my world, bars would host “Sing Along To The Ramones Debut Album” night. Fuck EDM. Fuck EDM again. For good measure.

4) Tommy’s drumming. Hypnotic. Does it get any better?

5) I include this song because of a stupid college story. I discovered this album as a freshman in college (1978 – yes, I was late to the Ramones party). There was this really ugly freshman girl named Renata and our entire floor would sing “I used to make a living man, pickin’ up Renata.” I can still see her picture in our freshman class picture book.

6) Is this rock ‘n’ roll? (Nice when it’s a rhetorical question.)

3 thoughts on “First Ramones

  1. I remember the first time I saw them. Sitting way up front at CB’s, with the old smaller and lower stage and a pool table where the new stage would be. They attacked the stage, no tuning up/showing off bullshit. From the time they put foot on stage until the first song wasn’t more than 10 seconds and no one introduced them. They opened with “Do You Wanna Dance” at massive volume and it completely blew me away. I’m trying to remember exactly which songs they played – Judy is a Punk (one of the best), Beat on the Brat, Sniff Some Glue, Loudmouth, 53rd & 3rd, Basement, and they ended with Today Your Love (another of my faves). I remember trying to catch the words “tomorrow the world” which I never did catch. It lasted about 15 minutes. Needless to say I had never seen or heard anything like it, but like the Dolls before them I knew I had been waiting all my life for this.

    I loved the album of course although it only SOUNDS great at high volume. It’s got the songs, pure pop genius and Joey is an amazing singer. And I remember watching Tommy and thinking “how can he DO that?”

    Dee Dee’s singing on 53rd & 3rd might be the worst performance ever actually released. But even that is more than fine. I always feel compelled to sing it myself and you can too, that makes it all right.

  2. I don’t know that I’ve ever LISTENED to this album at anything but high volume. As it should be. Love the instrument separation too. I’ve been plenty of places where they’re playing this album or a song from it and they’re only getting one stereo side (guitar-vocals-drums) or the other (bass-vocals-drums), Always makes me laugh when no one seems to notice, especially when it’s the no guitar side.

    And yes, how can one not sing along on the Dee Dee vocal? Very high on the horrible/beautiful list. Trying to think of others and only Nico comes to mind.

  3. I always thought this album – all their albums – should have been in mono. I bet they argued about it. Maybe they considered it too retro, but ya know, stereo is not and was not exactly the latest thing, and if these guys aren’t monolithic there ain’t no such thing. Listening now and knowing more about recording, this album has a ton of compression which it didn’t need. Their next two albums both had better sound.

    I also remember when it came out, April of 1976, that Vin Scelsa played “Blitzkreig Bop” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” on WNEW-FM in New York, and got several complaints from listeners. Some of the DJ’s tried, but their open-minded Baby Boomer audience proved to be so very conservative. What a shock, he smirked.

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