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Remembering Tommy Ramone

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Tommy Ramone died Friday, July 11 at his home in Queens, NY. He was 65. Born Erdélyi Tamás, the musician was the drummer and last surviving member of the Ramones original lineup which included Joey Ramone, aka Jeff Hyman who died in 2001 of lymphatic cancer, Dee Dee Ramone, aka Douglas Colvin who died from a drug overdose in 2002, and Johnny Ramone aka John Cummings who died in 2004 of prostate cancer.

Mr. Tamás died from complications of bile-duct cancer.

The Morning Call reports, “Tommy Ramone's illness became public knowledge in March 2013, when he took ill and had to drop off a tour with The Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock. Ramone was replaced by Sylvain Sylvain of The New York Dolls.”

As tributes and memories pour in from fans and favorite Tommy Ramone quotes abound, the Ramones album review in 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die by Tom Moon captures the essence of this “group of misfit kids from Queens who could barely play their instruments” so many love, cherish and will miss.

“Made for $6,000.... Ramones is the first, best, and most unlikely manifesto of punk rock. It’s also a kind of anti-standard, the record that decimates all the academic theorizing that gathered around punk as cultural watershed.

"Later punk became a “movement,” a study in stance and calculation that could be endlessly reappropriated. But in 1976, when the four leather-jacket-wearing Ramones regularly terrorized New York’s CBGBs with twenty-minute shows, punk was Joey Ramone uttering the immortal words “Now I wanna sniff some glue” in a dire monotone.

"Ramones is cheap thrills sped up to breakneck speed and played as though the four musicians were racing to see who could finish first. Most of the songs depend on three chords, and last less than two minutes - the basic Ramones strategy is run, gun and done.

"The songs the Ramones concocted for this album (and subsequent ones) work because they’re so simple. Anyone could play them - even though Ramones had a relentless energy that was hard to duplicate. The everyman quality proved critical to the spread of punk: Two of the significant U.K. punk bands, the Clash and the Damned, began performing within days after seeing the Ramones London debut, which happened on July 4, 1976. The Ramones’ punk was a spastic lurch, a homemade contraption that seemed at any minute on the verge of spinning out of control.”

The official Ramones website posted this 1978 quote from Tommy Ramone: "It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody."

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