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The Influence of the Ramones on British Punk Bands.

The Influence of the Ramones on British Punk Bands.

Above Photo: Members of the Clash and the Ramones in London, 1976. (Side note – you just assume Paul Simonon’s on his (not-then-invented) mobile phone, looking at this photo today. How times have changed…).

I recently watched an excellent documentary about the Ramones, which underlined how important they were in the development of the Punk music scene, both in New York and then in the UK, where the Ramones became role models for the first British Punk bands.

The Ramones outside Eric's Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool after a gig in 1977. (Ian Dickson)

The Ramones outside Eric’s Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool after a gig in 1977, posing with a fan. (Ian Dickson)

The documentary was called “End of the Century – the Story of the Ramones”. Made in 2003, and based on extensive interviews with the band members, it brought home how dramatically the Ramones had changed the musical landscape in New York, given what else was going on there in 1975, and how they’d significantly impacted the British Punk scene too.

The Ramones onstage in 1976 in the US.

The Ramones onstage in 1976 in the US.

Joe Strummer of the Clash recalled in July 1976 that the Ramones played the Round House in Camden, London. It was a 3,000 person venue, but members of the Clash and the Sex Pistols were hanging around, ticketless, outside, and the Ramones opened a backstage window to allow them to bunk into the gig, forming a human chain to haul them inside.

Joey Ramone outside The Round House, Camden Town, London before a gig in 1976.

Joey Ramone outside The Round House, Camden Town, London before a gig in 1976.

“That was the first time we’d met them. It was a really great Punk Rock moment,” Strummer said.

The Ramones were treated very differently in the UK to the US. They were selling out all their gigs in the UK and were an inspirational band for British Punks, but back in the US they couldn’t get gigs outside of New York City, except in sleepy satellite towns.

The Ramones in 1978.

The Ramones in 1978.

Members of early British Punk bands have acknowledged the enormous influence the Ramones had on them, musically and in terms of just having the bollocks to set up their own bands; although the Ramones’ influence on the musical direction of the Sex Pistols backfired on them a short while later.

Johnny Ramone in 1976.

Johnny Ramone holding the band’s debut US single, Blitzkrieg Bop, in 1976.

When the Ramones released “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” off their Rocket to Russia album in late 1977, they believed they were on the cusp of mainstream stardom in the US. But because of the Sex Pistols’ well-publicized bad behavior on both sides of the Atlantic, Punk was suddenly a dirty word in the US, and this badly harmed the band’s image and record sales – or so the Ramones thought.

Dee Dee Ramone in a screenshot from the documentary.

Dee Dee Ramone in a screenshot from the documentary.

Tragically, in the documentary, after the band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, there was a shot of Dee Dee Ramone walking off down a long hotel corridor before the words came up on the screen:

“Two months later, Dee Dee died of a heroin overdose.”

The Ramones inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

The Ramones inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

End of the Century – the Story of the Ramones” is well worth watching, and it’s on you Tube too.

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

And to end, here’s Sheena is a Punk Rocker – live footage of the Ramones shot in CBGB’s, New York, in 1977.

 

 

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 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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3 Comments

  1. RICHARD GARNER

    They had no influence whatsoever on the early English Punk bands especially The Sex Pistols, no one had ever heard of them especially in 1975 when The Sex Pistols formed. Maybe The Damned in their style/speed of play but the Pistols neither looked like or sounded like The Ramones & the Pistols song lyrics were totally different too. In fact if it wasnt for the publicity The Sex Pistols got The Ramones & those other Yankie New Wave bands would of all faded into obscurity. Although they hated the word ‘Punk’ The Sex Pistols were the only true ‘Punk’ band (for want of a better word). They changed everything & everyone in a way The Beatles did before them.

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  2. Gabba Gabba Hey

    Richard, you are wrong. The Sex Pistols were a punk rock version of a manufactured boy band… One Direction with safety pins and spittle. McLauren styled them after the New York Dolls (another NYC band he managed for about two weeks). Punk rock is as American as apple pie or the Blues (another American music that Englishmen appropriated)! The Clash were a thousand times the band the Pistols were, and the late Joe Strummer acknowledged the influence of the Ramones (unlike that no-talent, butter-selling megalomaniac Lydon).

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