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Ramones - Rocket to Russia Click here to see this CD at Amazon.com!

By Rickey Wright

"Our records have the bitterness of life in them," quoth Dee Dee Ramone, and Rocket to Russia brought the pain. Despite carrying on the celebratory tone of the Ramones' debut and Leave Home in the likes of "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Cretin Hop," a tribute to dirty "Rockaway Beach," and covers of the Trashmen and "Do You Wanna Dance?" their third LP displays a dark humor that's less jokey than the previous releases' goofs on bad mental health and dysfunctional relationships. The group's best-produced of its first three releases, Rocket achieves an almost smooth texture thanks to a clean mix and increased use of Beach Boys-inspired vocal harmonies. Still, the joyous grind of Johnny's guitar is front and center for much of this enduring album. Rhino's refurbished version offers five bonus tracks, including a rough early version of "It's a Long Way Back to Germany" and a demo, "Slug," which imagines (?) a world crawling with insects.

By Ricky Wright

Among Creem magazine's predictions for 1977 was the claim that the Ramones would make three No. 1 singles but that none would chart. Well, "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" and "Do You Wanna Dance" did make the 80s on the Billboard Hot 100, while "Rockaway Beach" went all the way to No. 66, but the point basically stands: Two-minute blasts of power chords, speedy tempos, and praise of fun in the sun weren't where it was at for radio in the year Journey hired Steve Perry. Rocket to Russia, the home of those semi-hits, is still many fans' favorite Ramones long-player, thanks not only to those near misses but also to the fervor of "Cretin Hop," the scene celebration of "Ramona," and the anthemic pout of "I Don't Care." They did, though--they really, really did.

Tracks
1. Cretin Hop11. I Can't Give You Anything
2. Rockaway Beach12. Ramona
3. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow13. Surfin' Bird
4. Locket Love14. Why Is It Always This Way?
5. I Don't Care15. Needles and Pins [Early Version ] [*] [*][Version]
6. Sheena Is a Punk Rocker16. Slug [*][Demo Version]
7. We're a Happy Family17. It's a Long Way Back to Germany [U.K. B-Side] [*]
8. Tennage Lobotomy18. I Don't Care [Sinlge Version] [*]
9. Do You Wanna Dance?19. Sheena Is a Punk Rocker [Single Version][*]
10. I Wanna Be Well

 

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"As one of the first bands that went alternative the Ramones opened up the doors for a whole range of music that was energetic and got music away from the big Super70s band music. Not reliant on keyboards or big hair they actually put across an idea that normal was ok and that it didn't take a whole stage of lights or amps to put on a good show."

--Skull

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MUSICAL NOTES

Artist: Ramones

Released: July 19, 1977

Availability: CD, Vinyl

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