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Johnny Ramone’s Autobiography To Be Released
The Ramones are one of those bands that you cannot help but love. A big reason for that was their cartoon-like presence, fun tunes and the unforgettable sight of the Ramone "family": Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee, sporting those memorable bowl cuts a la Brian Jones 1966. Johnny Ramone's is perhaps the face we remember most, and indeed was the Ramone who maintained the look for the longest time. The Ramones disbanded in 1996 and eight years later the three famous founders were all dead. Horrible stuff, but their influence and music lives on in myriad ways. Now, the widow of Johnny Ramone, Linda Ramone, has announced that Johnny's autobiography is to be released eight years after he passed away. "Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone" is scheduled to be in the shops on April 2, 2012, and there is great anticipation on the part of Ramones fans everywhere. The book will be all Johnny's memories, from his time in the band to the various quarrels and antagonisms that gave the band their curious edge. It's Johnny's voice from beyond the grave.
"The First Punk Rock Group"
Johnny Ramone is considered one of the most influential guitarists in modern music and the Ramones are widely credited as being the first punk rock group. They came together in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, New York, and songs like "Rockaway Beach" attest to a wild youthful spirit spent roaring around the boulevards and clubs of that corner of Long Island. Their later involvement with Phil Spector established a softer side to their punk sound that didn't always sit well with the band, but it earned them even wider recognition. Their fans, however, preferred the mad brash thrash of their early catalog. The Ramones' debut album, Ramones
, hit the music world with unexpected force. The album was released on April 23, 1976, way ahead of most other aspiring punk records, and the iconic cover is revered to this day: The band stood against a graffiti covered brick wall, wearing leather and sneakers, with denim drainpipe jeans - a look that was to define the punk and new wave movements for years to come. The cover art was judged to be number 58 on Rolling Stone
's list of 100 Greatest Album Covers. But there's more to the Ramones than fashion, or cover art, or even music. There's an innocence there, pushing the songs forward as if in response to some signal beckoning from the future. Johnny Ramone will always be the face of the Ramones for me, with his Sky Saxon
-like sultriness and Iggy Pop
-like distractabilty. There are many musicians and bands that have been branded the first punks, but none of them had the complete package until the Ramones came along. Any 40-something of today who was tuned in back then will remember the thrill of first seeing the crazy cartoon cover of "Rock 'n' Roll High School", not to mention the anthemic "Sheena is a Punk Rocker", which was one of the B-side tracks along with "Rockaway Beach".
Here's a clip of the Ramones performing "Rock 'n' Roll High School" in the film of the same name. Get a load of Johnny's brilliant little guitar bit right after the one minute mark. The sound quality isn't great but if that doesn't make you sit up and take note, you need a kick up the jacksie. Alright, punk?