Ramones - Ramones (Vinyl)

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Ramones is the debut studio album by American proto-punk band Ramones, released on April 23, 1976 by Sire Records. After Hit Parader editor Lisa Robinson saw the band at a gig in New York City, she wrote about them in an article and contacted Danny Fields, insisting that he be their manager. Fields agreed and convinced Craig Leon to produce Ramones, and the band recorded a demo for prospective record labels. Leon persuaded Sire president Seymour Stein to listen to the band perform, and he later offered the band a recording contract. The Ramones began recording in January 1976, needing only seven days and $6,400 to record the album. They used similar sound-output techniques to those of The Beatles and used advanced production methods by Leon….simple!
The album cover (which has been copied a million times by other bands), photographed by Punk magazine’s Roberta Bayley, features the four members leaning against a brick wall in New York City. The record company paid only $125 for the front photo, which has since become one of the most imitated album covers of all time. The back cover depicts an eagle belt buckle along with the album's liner notes. After its release, Ramones was promoted with two singles, which failed to chart.
Violence, drug use, relationship issues, humour, and political terror were prominent in the album's lyrics. The album opens with “Blitzkrieg Bop”, which is among the band's most recognized songs. Most of the album's tracks are uptempo, many songs measuring at well over 160 beats per minute. The songs are also rather short; at two-and-a-half minutes, this was their thing and then is became a thing. This record wasn’t a commercial success initially, even though it received glowing reviews from critics. Many later deemed it a highly influential record, and it has since received many accolades, such as the top spot on lists of the "50 Most Essential Punk Records". Ramones is considered an influential punk album in the US and UK, and had a significant impact on other genres of rock, grunge and heavy metal, wearing leather jackets and skinny jeans.


Number of tracks: 14. Running time: 28:52. Recording time: 17 days. Total cost: $6,400. Endless hours of mindless enjoyment and life-affirming redemption: priceless.

Released at a time when most kids in my senior class were getting their college, military or auto plant applications in order, the first Ramones album – never mind their very existence – left many of them reared on the grand notion of The Epic Twiddly Guitar Solo, Motown, dumbed-down, lowest-common-denominator blues rock, and mini prog epics based on Tolkien, the legend of King Arthur, or Mussorgsky, slack jawed and very confused. Familiarity with proto-punk touchstones like The Stooges, MC5, New York Dolls, Dictators, and a legion of 60’s garage rodents immortalized on countless 7-inch singles on countless fly-by-night indie labels may not have been mandatory for “getting” The Ramones, but it sure as hell didn’t hurt.

And while it’s become de rigueur to lament rock and roll of the mid-70’s as overblown, detached, and elitist, even by those who weren’t even born when it all went down, it really wasn’t as dire as some may lead you to believe. Unless you were too lazy to overturn a stone or two (alright, maybe a few more), there was plenty of great music to be found. Just don’t ask me to name any of it. OK, howzabout Mott the Hoople, Sparks, Kiss, Roxy Music, Sweet, Aerosmith, Slade, Blue Oyster Cult, Be Bop Deluxe, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, The Faces, David Bowie, and Skyhooks fer starters?

Although “Ramones’” lyric sheet often reads like something out of a stroke survivors’ language recovery therapy group, it’s nice not to have to wade through tried-and-true chaff like wizards, the cosmos, lovin’ your baby, and the lonely life of a touring musician just to get to the meaty bits. Opening salvo “Blitzkrieg Bop” just may be the greatest first song on ANY album, the band absolutely nailing their attempt to write a chant song ala the Bay City Rollers’ “Saturday Night.” “Hey ho, let’s go” – marching orders for an army of America’s disaffected youth.

Whether the band was making a conscious effort to veer away from lyrical content trampled underfoot by those who came before them or simply writing about what they knew hardly matters. The songs, all of them credited to the gang er, band collectively, are masterful manipulations of monotony, melody, and momentum, mantra-like for the most part, making their mark through a lean, buzzing fusion of bubblegum and well, I’m not sure. I’d say punk, if not for the fact that punk didn’t yet exist, at least not in name. The wall of noise here is in part thanks to Craig Leon and drummer Tommy’s production decision to funnel guitar and drums into one channel and bass and vocals into another.

Despite their unsure footing as musos in both the studio and on stage, The Ramones certainly seemed to know what they DID want (to be your boyfriend, sniff some glue, your love, the world) and DIDN’T (to go down to the basement, to walk around with you) and how to articulate it in two-minute bursts of pent-up, downstroked fury. There was no hedging or beating around the bush with these guys. They got in, got out, and changed some lives along the way, offering up child care tips (“Beat on the Brat”), lamenting a lost love (“Chain Saw”), and talking shop (“Havana Affair” and “53rd & 3rd”). The closest they come to a ballad is “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” which really isn’t much different from the rest of track list here, just played at a slightly slower tilt. And they start a grand Ramones tradition of great covers with Chris Montez’s “Let’s Dance” from 1962.

There are eight bonus tracks wedged into this expanded edition from Rhino, including three demos ("I Don't Care," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," and "You Should Never Have Opened That Door") previously unavailable anywhere, two only available on "All The Stuff (And More), Volume One," two previously available on a Norton vinyl single, and the single version of "Blitzkrieg Bop." The overall sound of the original album is cleaned up a little, but is still raw enough to satisfy purists and should be required listening in junior high schools nation-wide.

By: OttoLuck.

A1 Blitzkrieg Bop
A2 Beat On The Brat
A3 Judy Is A Punk
A4 I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend
A5 Chain Saw
A6 Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue
A7 I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement
B1 Loudmouth
B2 Havana Affair
B3 Listen To My Heart
B4 53rd & 3rd
B5 Let's Dance
B6 I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You
B7 Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World

Matrix / Runout (Side A runout, etched): TONI IS A PUNK. MILES.ABBEY ROAD ½Speed.
Matrix / Runout (Side B runout, etched): CASSELL IS ONE TWO... MILES.ABBEY ROAD ½Speed.