Tommy Ramone dies at 65; last original member of namesake punk band

ramonesIf ever an opening song on a debut album could set the tone for the entirety of a band’s career, it was “Blitzkrieg Bop,” off the 1976 self-titled album by the Ramones. Lean, fast and propelled forward by a low-to-the-ground-beat and no-fuss lyrics (“Hey! Ho! Let’s go!”), the 2-minute, 13-second song doesn’t waste any time in putting the listener on high alert.

Today, it’s a rallying cry at sporting events the world over. Almost four decades ago, however, it served for many as the introduction to four leather-wearing men who looked as if they had emerged from a gutter in New York (in reality, from a well-kept neighborhood in Queens).

The anchor of that song — the first of many underground flags that the Ramones would cement in mainstream America — was Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone. The Ramones’ drummer on only its first three studio albums, Erdelyi served later as the band’s producer and was forever a principal in shaping the sound of one of America’s most beloved punk rock outfits.

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Ultimately, Ramones songs such as “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Teenage Lobotomy,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” and “Beat on the Brat” were more personal stamps on forceful individualism than the politically charged U.K. punk later made famous by the Sex Pistols and the Clash.

To read the rest of Todd Martens’ article in the Los Angeles Times, click HERE.

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