Graham Reid | | 2 min read
Hey! Ho! Let's go . . .
and check out the key albums by the band that was the Beatles for brats, New York's classic punk-pop group known for their “1-2-3-4” no-mucking-about performances and memorable, economic songs.
And the reason at this time?
Because their thrilling debut (see below) has come out in a reissue . . . and it's bigger than God this time.
In an iconic street-punk cover (get it on vinyl so you can frame it) the group delivered a classic debut which in places sounded like the Beach Boys on speed – 14 songs in less than 30 minutes – and forged their love of Sixties girl groups, flat-tack rock'n'roll and a view from the glue-sniffin' corners of New York in the damaged and dangerous Seventies.
Bottled electrotherapy punk-pop . . . and the just released 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition comes as three CDs (remastered stereo and mono mixes, outtakes, demos and live material) and the vinyl. See below.
Leave Home (1976)
Again chockfull of classic songs and riffs (Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment, I Remember You, Carbona Not Glue, Suzy is a Headbanger, California Sun) but again it didn't do as well as it should have.
That became the Ramones' story, critical acclaim but no chart gain.
Rocket to Russia (1977)
Third essential album in a row (Rockaway Beach, Sheena is a Punk Rocker, Teenage Lobotomy, I Can't Give You Anything alongside Fifties covers Do You Wanna Dance? and Surfin' Bird) but again disappointing sales.
It looked like their career might be a short as their songs, but they soldiered on for almost two decades, mostly to diminishing sales and song quality returns.
It's Alive (1979)
Recorded live in London on December 31, 1977 this captured them at their peak and the set list drew on cornerstone songs from those first three albums.
And they set a land-speed record delivering them: 28 songs in 54 minutes.
One of the classic live albums.
It confirmed the band were smarter than they looked and deserved better in their era than they got.
One of the truly great rock'n'roll bands, and – just like the young Beatles – they had a band uniform.
How could they not succeed?
There is an archival interview with Dee Dee Ramone at Elsewhere here.