An Unusual Link Between The Ramones, The Beatles and Mathew Street, Liverpool.
Above Photo: The Ramones play live at Eric’s Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool (Ian Dickson).
Now, unbelievably, all dead, the Ramones formed in New York in 1974 (where they all attended the same Forest Hills high school as Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, incidentally).
They took the name of their band and their individual stage names (Joey, Tommy, Dee Dee and Johnny Ramone) from a pseudonym used by Paul McCartney of 1960s Liverpool band The Beatles, when he would sometimes check into hotels and sign autographs as “Paul Ramon”.
In an inspired piece of band branding, Tommy Ramone, a Big Beatles fan, persuaded the rest of the band to all call themselves “Ramone”.
In a nice twist of musical history, the street in Liverpool that housed the “birthplace” of the Beatles, the Cavern Club, also, years later, housed Eric’s Punk club, where The Ramones played in 1977.
Some photos of the band taken at Eric’s by Ian Dickson have since become iconic Ramones gig photos – the vibrancy and energy of their live appearances clearly being captured.
I wonder when Tommy Ramone had his (above) photo taken on Mathew Street, outside what was then Eric’s club, did he know that the car park right opposite him was the site of the Cavern, so important to his beloved Beatles?
As I mention in my Punk and New Wave book, Bombed Out!, when this photo of Tommy on Mathew Street was taken in 1977, the Cavern was already entombed under a car park, the building having been allowed to be knocked down by idiots in Liverpool city council.
Now it lies beneath an anonymous retail development, on a Beatles’ tourist-tat street.
Ironically the Ramones blamed another iconic British band for damaging their commercial success, when they experienced poor sales of their 1977 album, Rocket to Russia. The album was released when the Sex Pistols had just picked up some very negative press both in the UK and the US, and the Ramones felt the Pistols had alienated the record-buying public from the Punk genre, and from buying their albums in particular.
Needless to say, I have no sympathy for this view!
The Ramones, Mathew Street and even the Beatles receive multiple mentions in my Punk and New Wave Memoir, Bombed Out!
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
The two tracks below are among my favourite Ramones tracks – Rockaway Beach and Teenage Lobotomy.