THE RAMONES - RAMONES (1976)
The Ramones didn’t invent punk rock. They just made it something everyone wanted to hear. They blew up the pretentiousness and big-budget mid-‘70s arena rock with an in-your-face DIY attitude that would be copied by countless other kids and is still being copied to this day.
Joey, Johnny, Tommy, and Dee Dee (none of whom were related or named Ramone) had cheap equipment and limited chops. But they had a sense of pace and melody. They didn’t write about dewy-eyed romance. They wrote about their lives and their friends. Bass player Dee Dee’s distinctive “1,2,3,4” kicked off most of the songs. He was the primary songwriter on that first album and those songs are a blueprint for what punk would become.
Meanwhile, singer Joey contributed pop-punkier numbers like “Beat on the Brat,” and “Judy is a Punk.” They even had a bit of proto-emo punk in drummer Tommy’s “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.” And some surf punk in the only cover of the album, “Let’s Dance.” These songs added variety which kept the album from growing monotonous without ever losing the driving “1,2,3,4” that defined the Ramones, and a lot of early punk.
14 songs. Under 30 minutes. Oh yeah – and “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Perfect.