The Ramones

Dude, it's The Ramones. Did they really save rock and roll? Yes, probably.

Information: The Official Ramones Website
Suggested first purchase: Hey! Ho! Let's Go: The Anthology
Suggested first album: Rocket To Russia

The Ramones (1976) -- If I'd been older than one-year-old in 1976, when the logical extension of Sgt. Pepper's was for people to make something like Circe de Soleil versions of music, and I heard The Ramones come crashing through my radio, I probably would have wept for happiness. Even today many of the songs on this album have the same kind of importance, urgency, and overall fun that they must have had then--namely "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Beat on the Brat," "Judy Is a Punk," and "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" (they apparently decided to put their best songs as the first four). Some of the songs on this album don't have as much of the same punch as the ones just mentioned, but overall this is still one of the most refreshing albums ever recorded. B

Leave Home (1977) -- About the same thing can be said for this album that was said for the first, that very fact being the only real problem. The highlights here are "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" and "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker." B

Rocket To Russia (1977) -- It feels like there's more going on with this album, maybe just more fun and pop. The highlights are "Cretin Hop," Rockaway Beach," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" (so good they released it twice?), "We're Happy Family," and "Teenage Labotomy." I would have hoped for something more wild for the cover of "Surfin' Bird," but I guess you just can't beat that insane classic. B

Road To Ruin (1978) -- Even the alliteration of the album title was the same as the previous. Always the only real complaint with The Ramones, that it's good but just more of the same kind of good, which is probably why -- end the end -- an anthology of Ramones material works as well as the albums. "Needles and Pins" is a great cover, "I Wanna Be Sedated" is classic Ramones, and "Questioningly" is different enough to be interesting. B

End of the Century (1980) -- The Ramones work better in a compilation of their best songs than in their albums, but even if you want to collect some of the better LPs, this is probably the place to stop.  They got Phil Spector to produce this one, and the results are a little different and the album is somewhat cohesive.  After this album, they just become rock and roll redundancies.  "Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio?" and "Rock and Roll High School" are the standouts. B

Pleasant Dreams (1981) -- The Ramones are really petering out by this point, but at least this one has "The KKK Took My Baby Away." C

Subterranean Jungle (1983) -- Just your average Ramones album. C

Too Tough To Die (1985) -- Although I think End of the Century is pretty much the last Ramones album to get (if you get any at all, since I think one good best of would be better), most critics cite this album as the last worthy album.  It's got "Wart Hog" and "Howling at the Moon" as standouts. C

All the Stuff and More Vols. 1 and 2 (1976-1978/1990) -- If you want the first four albums, this is the quickest way to do it, since volume one is the first two albums and volume two is the second two--with bonus tracks on both. Not a bad way to go unless you're particularly interested in the bonus tracks they release on the individual reissues. B

Copyright (c) Jul 2003 - Jul 2005 by Rusty Likes Music