“One! Two! Three! Four!” – RAMONES
It was five years to the day after Woodstock when four punks from Forest Hills, Queens, took to the stage of an East Village bar wearing jeans, leather jackets and high-tops to launch a two-minute assault on the current music scene. The date was August 16, 1974, the bar was CBGB's and the band was the Ramones, giving their debut public performance. The intro: “One! Two! Three! Four!” launched a rock and roll revolution.
The guys responsible for this new sound were Douglas Colvin, John Cummings, Thomas Erdelyi and Jeffrey Hyman, better known to the world as Dee Dee, Johnny, Tommy and Joey Ramone. The Ramones' sound didn’t even have a name; it would be almost a year later when the term “punk” was used to describe the band’s music. Of course, this band never needed a label; their explosion onto the scene was directly targeted at corporate rock and roll of the seventies. “Eliminate the unnecessary” was the philosophy Tommy Ramone would express many years later.
Following their 1974 debut, the Ramones became the template for punk bands around New York City and other major cities around the world. Despite not having a hit song on their debut album, they managed to inspire a whole new movement across the Atlantic, as groups like the Sex Pistols and the Clash rushed to embrace their loud, fast and unstudied approach. When they toured England in 1976, Joey Ramone would later say, "All these kids came over to us and told us how we were responsible for turning them on, to go out and form their own bands." An entire generation of future punks looked at the Ramones and said, "Look at them. They can't play. They're terrible! They don't know more than three notes....Let's start a band!”