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By Rickey Wright

The Ramones' April 1976 debut, recorded for little more than $6,000, long ago passed into legend. Its exalted status as the inspiration for thousands of punk bands worldwide, though, hasn't overshadowed its monolithic roar, the knowing hilarity of its lyrics ("Judy Is a Punk" crams the SLA, the Ice Capades, and a salute to Herman's Hermits into a 90-second frame), and the impulse to blast it for everyone within earshot: Hey, listen to this. Embracing and rewriting rock & roll history at once, Ramones speeded up heavy music, adding a pop patina to songs inspired by horror movies and glue sniffing, and claiming a great Chris Montez tune ("Let's Dance") from the supposedly fallow period that had fallen between Elvis and the Beatles. Absurdist, yeah (how could anything with Joey's super-affected Liverpool-via-Queens accent be otherwise?) and also smart: "Havana Affair" is the greatest song about the cold war this side of Dylan. This remastered edition complements the original LP with a slew of demos, including a Spectoresque "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend," and the single version of "Blitzkrieg Bop," that, equally prophetically, puts Joey's vocal through a mixing trick that makes him sound like he's on the mic at a football game.

1. Blitzkrieg Bop12. Let's Dance
2. Beat on the Brat13. I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You
3. Judy Is a Punk14. Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World
4. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend15. I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend [*][Demo Version]
5. Chain Saw16. Judy Is a Punk [*][Demo Version]
6. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue17. I Don't Care [*][Demo Version]
7. I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement18. I Can't Be [*][Demo Version]
8. Loudmouth19. Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue [*][Demo Version]
9. Havana Affair20. I Don't Wanna Be Learned/I Don't Wanna Be Tamed [*][Demo Version]
10. Listen to My Heart21. You Should Never Have Opened That Door [*][Demo Version]
11. 53rd and 3rd22. Blitzkrieg Bop [Single Version]


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""The Ramones" is quintessential listening, even if you don't like it, for at least understanding the major currents of mid-Super70s rock and R/B-soul. Along with Steely Dan's "Katy Lied", Elton John's "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy", and Earth, Wind, and Fire's "Gratitude", "The Ramones" is an aesthetic prototype of the immediate post-Watergate/post-Vietnam era. Utterly sui generis, yet firmly grounded in rock music's earliest roots, "The Ramones" ushered in a radical paradigm shift (which continues today, at least subconsciously)in the way popular musicians think about their craft. Yet the album simultaneously reaffirmed early rock's best qualities--energy and honest simplicity. Over the last quarter century, the true legacy of "The Ramones" has been its indelible influence on the prevailing attitudes and performance styles of other recordings. Nonetheless, the clincher for me is that, as with Juliana Hatfield's or Steely Dan's seminal recordings, I always find myself viscerally moved by "The Ramones". It 'kicks ass", and immediately speaks to me in an intense, emotional way. Any serious rock-R/B connoisseur or student of Super70s music or culture will definitely profit from a listening. Do check it out!"

--Der Siebziger (The Seventies)

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Artist: Ramones

Released: April 15, 1976

Availability: CD, Vinyl


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