The Ramones were many things, and gloriously so, from the moment of their inception in Forest Hills, New York, in 1974, until their final concert, #2,263, in Los Angeles on August 6, 1996.
They were prolific – releasing 21 studio and live albums between 1976 and 1996 – and professional, typically cutting all of the basic tracks for one of those studio LPs in a matter of days. They were stubborn, a marvel of bulldog determination and cast–iron pride in a business greased by negotiation and compromise. And they were fun, rock n’ roll’s most reliable Great Night Out for nearly a quarter of a century. Which seems like a weird thing to say about about a bunch of guys for whom a show, in 1974 or ’75, could be six songs in a quarter of an hour.
The Ramones were also first: the first band of the mid–’70’s New York punk rock uprising to get a major–label contract and put an album out; the first to rock the nation on the road and teach the British how noise annoys; the first new American group of the decade to kick the smug, yellow–bellied shit out of a ’60s superstar aristrocracy running on cocaine–and–caviar autopilot.