Joey Ramone

Remembering Joey Ramone

Joey Ramone passed away 16 years today. The news shocked the world: a pillar of the punk explosion across the globe, Ramone defied conventional thinking and challenge the concept of music.

The punk scene reached new heights in the 1970s. While The Sex Pistols, led by Johnny Rotten, were taking over the UK, Joey Ramone & the Ramones were putting New York on the map. While Rotten was confrontational and in-your-face, Ramone was solemn, but his message was still menacing. His ability to call upon a generation and speak to youth outcasted by society was powerful. While the Ramones wouldn’t see the commercial heights of The Clash or Sex Pistols, this underground mystique almost adds to their legacy. They weren’t for the masses, and fans wanted it to stay that way.

Joey Ramone was born Jeffry Hyman on May 19, 1951 and formed the band as a young adult in the early 70s. They started to form a song structure that had yet to exist–it was fast, the length was short, and the delivery always packed a megawatt punch. He started out as the drummer but moved to lead vocals prior to the release of their self-titled debut album.


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The Clash

The Clash’s Debut Album Turns 40

The Clash released their self-titled debut album 40 years ago this Saturday (April 8.)

One of the most important punk albums of all time, The Clash created a masterpiece fueled by their youthful angst and political frustrations.

The band prepped the album in a flat on the 18th floor of a council high rise on London’s Harrow Road rented by Mick Jones’ grandmother. She was a constant guest at any show the band played. Once it was ready, the Clash went to CBS Studio 3 and recorded and mixed the album over three weekends.It cost £4000 to produce.

The Clash

The album art was done by Polish artist Rosław Szaybo with the front photo shot by Kate Simon in a Camden Market alleyway. The drummer at the time, Terry Chimes, did not appear because he had already decided to leave the band.

Here’s is a breakdown of some of the album’s standout track themes:

“Janie Jones”- inspired by a famous brothel keeper in London during the 1970s

“Remote Control” – written written by Mick Jones after the Anarchy Tour and contains pointed observations about the civic hall bureaucrats (who were responsible for cancelling concerts), the police, big business and record companies. CBS decided to release the song as a single without consulting the band.

“I’m So Bored with the USA” – stemmed from a Mick Jones song, entitled “I’m So Bored with You”. The lyrics condemn the Americanization of the UK.


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City Scenes: New York Punk & CBGBs

You’ve probably heard of CBGBs, but we’d wager you’ve never given a second’s thought to what the initials stand for. It might be one of the great misnomers in rock, because its name stood for Country, Bluegrass & Blues. But the initials CBGB would become completely intertwined with the American punk and new wave movement that coalesced inside its less-than-salubrious portals.

Play video
cbgb_dicsThe club was opened by owner Hilly Kristal at 315 Bowery in New York’s East Village, on the intersection with Bleecker Street. This was late 1973, when the American mainstream rock scene was populated by the likes of Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Elton John. The Hot 100 got about as dangerous as ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon.’ But a new kind of counter-culture was bubbling up from the underground, and CBGB was the club where it found a home and came out into the open.

This shadowy, dank and entirely unglamorous location incubated some of the most urgent, edgy and creative rock music ever performed. From Patti Smith to the Ramones, Television to Talking Heads and Blondie to Joan Jett, CBGB was the headquarters of cutting edge American music and the place where lifetime-long careers were born.

Think of CBGB and you think of cast-iron new wave classics like ‘Gloria,’‘Blank Generation,’‘Marquee Moon,’‘Rip Her To Shreds’ and ‘Sheena Was A Punk Rocker.’ All of those and many other anthems rang out from the ‘CB’s’ stage during the heady heyday of a venue that lasted 33 years, until Patti Smith played its closing show in October 2006. Less than a year later, Kristal himself was gone, taken by lung cancer at the age of 75. But what he created will stand forever.

By 1973, native New Yorker Kristal had been an important player on the New York club scene for more than two decades. From 1959, he ran the renowned Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village, a mile uptown from what became CBGB. A fixture in the Apple since the 1930, the Vanguard had been a jazz mecca since the ‘50s that hosted John Coltrane, Miles Davis et al, and is still part of Village life to this day.


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American Punk & British Punk: How The Sex Pistols & Iggy Pop Transformed The Genre

sex pistols

It’s been 40 years since the beginnings of “Anarchy In The UK” and ground zero for the modern punk evolution. Fast forward one more year to the release of Never Mind The Bollocks, the one and only official Sex Pistols album.

The short lived Pistols were hugely influential in shaping music moving forward from 1977 and their influence can still be felt today.

Its effect on music and graphic design has been immeasurable as has the Pistols’ wider impact on the music industry, fashion, politics, art, image film and much more.

Never before have a dozen rock songs on two sides of vinyl caused such a seismic eruption around the world… and never has the same effect been replicated.

Propelled by John Lydon’s fierce intelligence and intuitive gift for causing maximum offence, the Pistols dared to dream of new England in the dark days of the mid-‘70s, but their rebellion would have meant nothing unless they had the remarkable songs on Bollocks to back them up.

Originally released on Friday October 28th, 1977 in the UK, Boots, Woolworth’s and WH Smith banned the album–but it didn’t matter, the pre-release orders are so big it immediately charted at #1.


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