on 24 August 2003
Never underestimate the power of music. When I first heard this album in 1976 it changed my life. I'd always loved music but in the mid seventies the only guitar-based music coming out was prog rock or teenybop. This LP, the Ramones' first, changed all that - forever. It had fourteen songs in half an hour (the longest was 2:35!) and the songs had titles like 'Blitzkrieg Bop' and 'Beat On The Brat'. This was neither prog rock nor teenybop! The production harked back to the early days of rock 'n' roll in that the primitive recording made it sound loud at any volume. The bass guitar was in the left speaker and the rhythm guitar was on the right, with the drums and vocals in the middle - and virtually no overdubs! Back then, a Nick Kent review in the NME said something like "this record will destroy your speakers" and although time has lessened it's shock value, time cannot diminish this albums' power. It's hard to believe that anyone hasn't already got this record. If you like punk then you should already have this. If you're a music historian you'll already know that this album is as influential as "Sgt Pepper". If you drive a car you'll need this blasting out as an antidote to all the dullards driving around with disco music at full volume.
Rhino Records have done a fabulous job on all the other Ramones 2001 reissues - "Leave Home", "Rocket To Russia" and "Road To Ruin" are all essential purchases - and this album is no exception. The mastering is far superior to any previous Ramones CD compilations/reissues, being as close to the original (vinyl!) sound as is possible. The sleeve notes are extensive (and actually written by someone who was there) and the booklet is packed with rare photos, the lyrics and the original artwork. This CD has eight bonus tracks, seven of which are demos recorded before the original LP, thus giving an insight into how some songs evolved. The demo versions of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and "Judy Is A Punk" were previously only available on the rare Norton Label 7" single while the demo versions of "I Don't Care", "Now I Want To Sniff Some Glue" and "You Should Never Have Opened That Door" are all previously unreleased. "I Can't Be" and "I Don't Wanna Be Learned/I Don't Wanna Be Tamed" were previously on the "All The Stuff (And More) Volume One" compilation but they sound better here - all the demos are decent quality recordings. The final extra track is the single version of "Blitzkrieg Bop" (memo to Rhino - there's a typo on the back cover!) which has dispensed with the extreme left/right panning of the bass and guitar.
One of my favourite moments is when the sound of a chain saw (brought into the studio to be recorded!) segues into the beginning of a song (erm... "Chain Saw") and you realise what Johnny's guitar sound is based on. Then there's the call to arms of "Hey ho, let's go!" from "Blitzkrieg Bop", the (often underrated) pop sensibility of "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and the (often unacknowledged) humour in "Beat On The Brat" and "Loudmouth". Since this album was originally released, I've enjoyed music from bands influenced by it's attitude (Black Flag, Clash, Smiths) and it's music (Buzzcocks, Pixies, Nirvana) but I still come back to the original. Over 25 years on and it still sounds right. Playing this record can still raise a confused frown from Squares the world over. The "back to basics" approach of punk began with this album and for anyone who heard it back in 1976, nothing would ever be the same again. You need this record.
on 2 October 2005
Essential listening! if you buy any album in the next year and you don't already have this (where have you been!) buy it as this is a classic.
The Ramones are the godfathers of punk and this album probably encouraged a whole generation of bands to give it a go. The album does sound a bit like an angry wasp trying to explode and the Ramones rip through a bunch of great songs from the anthem Blitzkreig Bop to true love songs like Chainsaw and I wanna be your Boyfriend.
Love this album it is simply great. Rest in peace Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee you can be proud of this.
I have to say this is probably my favourite and most listened to album of all time.
There is probably no more archetypal an image of 1970s punk than that on the cover of The Ramones seminal 1976 debut album. If you look closely for a moment, not only are the drainpipe jeans de rigueur for this mob (unlike the more posey straps, buckles, chains, colours (even) prevalent with other bands of the era), but Joey's example are particularly impressive - at least two inches narrower than those of his fellow bandmates (to fit his legs obviously), and displaying the hole in the kneecap (hooray!). The 'origin of punk (music)' is, of course, a topic that has been debated ad infinitum. Suffice to say that whilst its (historic) origins might be traced back to the likes of the MC5, Iggy and the Stooges, and The New York Dolls (even), and, whilst the UK scene has its own pioneers (Pistols, Damned, Clash - probably in that order), I don't think there can be any doubt that this bunch from Queens, New York personified (and inspired) the genre more than any other band.
This magnificent debut album has lost none of its power, immediacy and inspiration in the 36 years (!) since its release. What might come as something of a surprise is that within this collection of 14 gems (the longest of which is around two and a half minutes), there are actually some beautiful melodies, notably on the two 'romantic' songs I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend and Listen To My Heart. Otherwise, we have a mesmerising collection of two or maybe three chord wonders (I've just read that Loudmouth has 'six major chords and is a harmonically complex piece' - that can't be right, surely?) whose subject matter covers all things militaristic (Nazis, Vietnam), urban violence, horror films, male prostitution and all things punky. Oh, and in additional to the 13 original compositions there's a great cover of Chris Montez's Let's Dance. Of course, on the subject of short songs, this lot used to take pride in trying to play the shortest set they could by speeding up the songs - less than 30 minutes was the target, if I remember correctly.
The other great irony relating to this album is that, in these days of ever more sophisticated song-writing with deep social and political messages (OK, I'm joking) and many bands still choosing not to explicitly include listings of lyrics, the CD version of this album does include the lyrics. Indeed some are actually quite thoughtful and erudite (OK, not Beat On The Brat, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, Loudmouth or I Don't Wanna Walk Around With You).
But who needs the lyrics from Tales From Topographic Oceans when you have The Ramones? No-one.
The big bang theory began with the emitting cries of joy when the needle stylus punctured the grooves on this album and the euphoric residue mainlined through the tinny speakers creating a warm ready brek glow of glee. As the album progressed it became an instant hit, requiring constant play to keep the world at bey, it was only a matter of time before I and everyone around became hooked on Beat on the Brat, Now I wanna Sniff, Blitzkrieg Bop, Basement; the metronomic supertanker of an album pushing all before.
The big bang sank nearly everything pre Ramones into the hidden albums section. They only came out at night, defamed chained prisoners of doodling excess banished to the nether regions of Cimmeria. Inside the dungeon of excess went Yes, Pink Floyd, Peter Frampton, Genesis, ELP, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant, Wishbone Ash, Caravan the chains set to hard and heavy they have never been released for good behaviour.
The reason why is the Ramones liberated Fun, one finger salute exuberance, racket and roll orgy, dumb as an art statement, straight jeans leather jackets, white T's. Back to Basics Colonel Tom as opposed to the doodling sounds of the Bank Manager son.
These sounds are the roars of a tectonic shift as the cultural plates collided throwing up tsunamis of change. Out of the chaos new visions were formed, vistas and horizons shaped and moulded.
It was all done with guitar, bass and vocals by four men from New York who turned back to the Elvis spirit of 56 linked to the 60's punk snarl of bands such as the Sonics, Pretty Things, Searchers and the Rivieras. The Ramones just stripped it all back, added some New York attitude and relaunched the rock and roll party of John Waters as opposed to the brand leader Roger Waters.
on 19 February 2013
Where to Start with this album. I first listened to The Ramones when I was 16 years old. From the off I knew this was the music that I was looking for. I am now 22 and I may have not listened to them for a few years as I pretty much wore this Cd out from playing it Continously!
The Chainsaw guitars,thumping bass ,Tommy's driving rhythm and Joeys outstanding vocals on every track whats not to like when your a teenager.
The tracks vary from almost beatle-esque love songs to driving rebellion songs. Your going to listen to this and think all the songs are 180bpm in 4/4 time but its more than musical theory its the whole concept. I wish I was around at the time they were gigging but unfortunately I was not so the Albums and live dvd's will have to do instead.
They remain one of my Favourite bands of all time,this album would be in my top 10 for sure, people who are going to read this are going to want me to analyse every track and tell you maybe what you want to hear.
Do yourself a massive favour and buy this record,dont download. These guys were at the forefront of one of the most exciting and significant music revolutions in my opinion.
If you need to listen to one track I would suggest 'Listen to my Heart'. Take it from there, if you like BUY IT ,if not your loss man!
on 21 January 2000
Originally reviewed by Sounds in UK as a 2 out of 10 - boy how wrong can you be. So much so that the magazine reviewed the album a second time when the true impact this record would have was becoming more apparent. The second time around it scored 10 out of 10. Joey Johnny DeeDee and Tommy never ease up throughout the set. Peely played plenty of the Ramones thru the late 70's and beyond. If you need another recommendation - you may as well as leave home now!!
on 5 October 2008
This album is as iconic as the band that recorded it. A true punk classic - it is music from the streets - music from the gutter -this is what real punk was, totally no frills music and image. No fancy production and wardrobe like other bands of the time, this group where real and the album reflects this. All the songs are blistering corkers, apart from 'i wanna be your boyfriend', which ive always thought was a bit soppy and poppy, but over the years it has grew on me and is to me an essential track on the album. Songs like 'i dont wanna walk around with you' and the way it fuses into the ending track 'today your love tomorrow the world' is pure class. 'Now i wanna sniff some glue', 'judy is a punk' and especially '53rd and 3rd' still send tingles down my spine. I'm in my 40's now, and this is one of my all time favourite desert island discs. If you want a piece of real punk rock history- then this is it!!
on 9 December 2012
They say that you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when something truly startling happens. In my case it was october 1976 and I was listening to Alan "Fluff" Freeman`s saturday afternoon rock show on radio 1 (not `arf!) when "Blitzkrieg Bop" came smashing it`s way through my transistor radio. My first thought was that Fluff playing a Deep Purple track at the wrong speed, my second thought after time had frozen for two or so minutes was " what the **** was that!", at which point Fluff kindly pointed out that it was the Ramones. Being into progressive and psychedelic rock, especially Hawkwind and having endured the musical and summer drought of 1976, hearing this was a revelation. Over the next couple of years i bought their first four albums and saw them live at Birmingham Odeon in 1978 but i always returned to this, their first album. The aforementioned "Blitzkrieg Bop" kicks off proceedings in the most frenzied fashion imaginable, coming across like a shotgun marriage between Hawkwind,the Beach Boys ( the producer Craig Leon has said Hawkwind were a big influence and strove to capture their guitar sound for this record) and a chainsaw. The Ramones always had a warped sense of humour and this comes across on the following tracks "Beat On The Brat" and "Judy Is A Punk", further along, things turn creepy,("I Don`t Wanna Go Down To The Basement"), nasty (" 53rd and 3rd" is purportedly about male prostitution and murder for drugs money, but a disturbed Rambo-like wish for violence and retribution can also be read from the lyrics) and manic with the last two tracks. You`ll feel exhausted after this and yet wanting to play it over again. The Sex Pistols, The Damned, The Buzzcocks, etc. were great but this is the first and defining record of punk, the music, the front cover ( look how many kids go around now with this iconic image on their T- Shirts), the attitude, the humour always present so they don`t take themselves so seriously. It hasn`t dated, it still sounds as good today as 1976. Buy it.
on 18 February 2010
To proclaim this the quintessential Punk record is risibly insufficient praise for the self-titled debut album by those esuriently energetic New Yorkers, the Ramones. Never mind about Punk, you won't find a better Pop record than this.
The method might be simple ("Second verse, same as the first" indeed) and contain all the traits you'd expect to find in a Punk Rock album (e.g. the ceaseless heavy guitars and drums, the subject matter, certain dubious lyrics, the sheer noise), but not only is the formula superbly effective, it is improved by unexpected features. On first listen I was blown away by just how catchy, melodic, and dare I say sweet the album sounded. The record comprises individual punchy slices (often knockout blows) of this marriage; punk-pop or pop-punk (names I think should be celebrated not derogated). The words blur into the sound, but this sound is cohesive and is what ensures that the album is immediately addictive, infectious from the first chord to the last, and stays in the mind.
I feel a kind of carelessness when listening to Ramones, or even recollecting the songs. I could be in the library or on the bus, and will begin (silently, of course) ineloquently (often inappropriately!) spitting "tex-ching-suh-masacreeee!" (which is, naturally, how one enunciates; "Texas chainsaw massacre"). However, the abandon the album inspires, should not suggests there is no depth here, nor should the ostensible brevity and brutality of the sound. This is not mere teenage angst, or the rebellion of the thoughtless, no, those things are simply a form of display, this rather is a transportation into an honest habitat. A habitat which is sometimes vacuous and shallow, but only in as much as it reflects or is cultivated by the society which frames the band, and indeed us listeners over thirty years later. At least as much as it is those things, it is heartfelt and worthwhile. Regardless, in both cases it is hugely engaging and rewarding. When Joey sings;
"No more of your fairy stories
'Cause I got my other worries..."
I believe it. I don't believe you will think this album is anything less than brilliant!
on 3 May 2000
1976 : Hot awkward summer teenage adolescence no girlfriend Friday nights spent listening to 'Tales from Topographic Oceans' (Yes) 'Brain Salad Surgery' (ELP) and similar progressive pap (It must be good - Bob's big brother has a copy) turn on the radio Peely playing 'Judy is a Punk' (Ramones Track 3) 'What the hell is this..! ' Cynical drumming three chords of pure fuzz with the bass playing the same and some guy quoting from 'There was an old lady who swallowed a fly....' and oh I don't know why - perhaps she'll die - PURE GENIUS - Life turns upside down in a blistering 1:30 of chainsaw churn.... Within three months I was playing guitar in a band and going out with Karen who had a superb Johnny Ramone mop-top and getting beaten up every Friday night at the YMCA by the local skins - ace! Twenty years later I met Joey Ramone and made a drunken fool of myself trying to explain - but I figured that he understood.... So buy it, turn off your oh-so-cool post millennial 'heard it all before' irony and just enjoy. The first punk rock record. The finest album from the best band ever to stalk to face of the Earth. Dirty rough loud funny and bristling with suburban surfboard teen-dream angst - this one goes out to the one I love....