Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first band to define the punk rock sound. Despite achieving only limited commercial success, the band was vastly influential in both the United States and the United Kingdom, inspiring also the emergence of hardcore punk, pop punk, and alternative rock.
All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname “Ramone”, although none of them were related. They performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years.In 1996, after a tour with the Lollapalooza music festival, the band played a farewell concert and disbanded. By 2014, all four of the band’s original members had died – lead singer Joey Ramone (1951–2001), bass guitarist Dee Dee Ramone (1951–2002), guitarist Johnny Ramone (1948–2004) and drummer Tommy Ramone (1949–2014).
Recognition of the band’s importance built over the years, and they are now mentioned in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as number 26 in the Rolling Stone magazine list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” and number 17 in VH1’s “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock”. In 2002, the Ramones were ranked the second-greatest band of all time by Spin magazine, trailing only the Beatles. On March 18, 2002, the original four members and Tommy’s replacement on drums, Marky Ramone, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on their first year of eligibility. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
John William Cummings (October 8, 1948 – September 15, 2004), known professionally as Johnny Ramone, was an American guitarist and songwriter, best known for being the guitarist for the punk rock band the Ramones. He was a founding member of the band, and remained a member throughout the band’s entire career. He died from prostate cancer on September 15, 2004.
Johnny Ramone married his wife Linda in 1984. She had originally dated Joey Ramone but left him for Johnny. Joey and Johnny continued to tour as the Ramones after this, but their relationship worsened and they stopped talking to each other,even when Joey was bed-ridden due to lymphoma. In 2001, Marky urged Johnny to visit Joey saying that “the window is closing,” to which Johnny replied, “let it close. He’s not my friend.” He later showed signs of regret in the documentary End of the Century, admitting that Joey’s death had a profound impact on him emotionally and that he was depressed for “the whole week” after his death.
In 2003, he appeared on Time’s “The 10 Greatest Electric-Guitar Players”. He is also ranked number 28 on the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list in the Rolling Stone magazine.
Douglas Glenn Colvin (September 18, 1951 – June 5, 2002), known professionally as Dee Dee Ramone, was a German-American musician, singer and songwriter best known as founding member, songwriter, bassist and occasional lead vocalist for the punk rock band the Ramones.
Though nearly all of the Ramones’ songs were credited equally to all the band members, Dee Dee was the band’s most prolific lyricist and composer, writing many of their best-known songs, such as “53rd & 3rd”, “Commando”, “Wart Hog”, “Rockaway Beach”, and “Poison Heart”. He also co-wrote “Bonzo Goes To Bitburg”, retitled “My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down,” with Ramones producer Jean Beauvoir, who was originally from The Plasmatics. The song is considered one of the band’s most important songs and was featured in the film School Of Rock. Dee Dee and Beauvoir also co-wrote the song “Something To Believe In”, featured on the Ramones album Animal Boy. “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” won the New York Music Award for best independent single of the year in 1986 and Animal Boy won for best album. Beauvoir and Dee Dee later co-wrote the song “Cut Me To Pieces”, which was featured in the film Rock and Roll High School Forever.
Dee Dee was initially the band’s lead vocalist, though his (then) inability to sing and play bass at the same time resulted in original drummer Joey Ramone taking over the lead vocalist duties (however, he still sang lead vocals in the band on occasion). Dee Dee was the band’s bassist and songwriter from 1974 until 1989, when he left to pursue a short-lived career in hip hop music under the name Dee Dee King. He soon returned to his punk roots and released three solo albums featuring brand-new songs, many of which were later recorded by the Ramones. He toured the world playing his new songs, Ramones songs and some old favorites in small clubs, and continued to write songs for the Ramones until 1996, when the band officially retired.
Dee Dee struggled with drug addiction for much of his life, particularly heroin. He began using drugs as a teenager and continued to use for the majority of his adult life. He appeared clean in the early 1990s but began using heroin again sometime later. He died from a heroin overdose on June 5, 2002.
Jeffrey Ross Hyman (May 19, 1951 – April 15, 2001), known professionally as Joey Ramone, was an American musician and singer-songwriter, lead vocalist of the punk rock band the Ramones. Joey Ramone’s image, voice, and tenure as frontman of the Ramones made him a countercultural icon.
Thomas Erdelyi (born Tamás Erdélyi; January 29, 1949 – July 11, 2014), known professionally as Tommy Ramone, was a Hungarian American record producer, musician, and songwriter. He was the drummer for the influential punk rock band the Ramones for the first four years of the band’s existence and was the last surviving original member of the Ramones. – Wikipedia