The Ramones' influence in music started almost 40 years ago with the release of their first studio album, "Ramones."
Although it now has the unquestionable distinction of being a classic, the popularity of Ramones at the time of its release was fairly moderate. Critics reportedly gave mixed reviews on it, and it only reached as high as the #111 on the US Billboard 200 Chart. There were, however, a few raves that did come up, basically stating that the record was certainly a defining factor in its genre. Wide acclaim for Ramones only came very much later on, with many critics hailing it a major influence in rock music, if not actually establishing the punk rock genre itself.
Ramones was released on this day in 1976, about two months after it was recorded and almost two years since the band’s formation. It was released under Sire Records and produced by Craig Leon. It contains 14 up tempo tracks in all, 7 on each side of the record, but is short with a total running time of just 29 minutes. All tracks except for “Let’s Dance” were written by members Dee Dee, Tommy, Joey, and Johnny Ramone themselves. The lyrics were rather controversial as they tackled mostly dark themes such as violence, male prostitution, drug use and Nazism, although Johnny was quoted to have said that they weren’t “trying to be offensive.”
Much like the album itself, the record’s cover art is iconic as well. It depicts the Ramones leaning before a graffitied brick wall in matching black jacket-and-jeans outfits. In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it at #58 in their 100 Greatest Album Covers.
Decades after its release, Ramones finally received its well-deserved recognition. It was named one of the top punk records by various magazines such as Mojo, Spin, and Q. In recognizing the Ramones during their induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, the organization declared that through Ramones, the band “ignited the punk-rock movement.” In fact, the album was said to have influenced punk bands later on, including the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Buzzcocks, and Green Day.
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