J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Sadly, only Tommy is left now...

Johnny Ramone, founding member of one of America's greatest, most original and influential rock bands, The Ramones, died yesterday at the age of 55 of prostate cancer. He had been battling the disease for the past 5 years. His passing marks the third original member of the band to die in the last four years (Joey Ramone in 2001; Dee Dee Ramone in 2002). You can read a bit more in this article.

It's harder for younger people (myself included) to sometimes appreciate what The Ramones meant to music. By the time I was coming of age, The Ramones didn't sound fast or incredibly loud compared to even a lot of music on the radio. Their influence had long been absorbed into the mainstream. There was a certain respect, however, that you had to give them for more or less sticking to one formula for 26 years. The Ramones, when isolated, is a truly awe inspiring record: incredibly simple songs, fairly quick pace, psychotic-bubblegum sing-a-long lyrics.

During my senior year of college I participated in a Ramones cover band for a WQFS party. There were only three of us (and I became both Joey and Johnny rolled into one, both singing and playing guitar), but I'd never seen a group of people just abandon all sense of propriety and sing, dance and celebrate their hearts out over this music. In people who are at least somewhat counter-culture saavy (and even some who aren't), you are hard pressed to find someone who doesn't at least know how to chant 'Hey! Ho! Let's Go!' (A phrase that, by the way, was written on my mortar board at my college graduation.) This is Johnny's (and the whole clan's) legacy: music that really brings people together over a love of simple, powerful music. All are welcome, all are invited. After all, you heard the man: Gabba, Gabba, we accept you, we accept you, one of us!

See you later, Johnny.


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