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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 September, 2004, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Punk legacy of Ramone rocker
Johnny Ramone
Johnny Ramone was a construction worker before joining the band
Johnny Ramone, who has died aged 55, enjoyed a 22-year career as one of the founding members of pioneering punk band The Ramones.

Born John Cummings in Long Island, New York on 8 November 1948, he gave up his job as a construction worker to play guitar for the band, who formed in 1974.

Along with founder members Tommy (Tommy Erdelyi), Joey (Jeffrey Hyman) and Dee Dee (Douglas Colvin), they became the first punk band to sign with a major record label.

By cutting rock and roll down to its bare essentials - four chords, a simple, catchy melody and irresistible lyrics - and speeding up the tempo, the Ramones created something that sounded familiar yet revolutionary.

1950s tribute

All of the group's members adopted the surname "Ramone" and dressed in torn blue jeans and leather jackets, as a tribute to 1950s rock stars.

Their debut album was released in 1976, and although the group never had a hit single in the US they attracted a loyal following.

It was in the UK where they found early success, influencing punk acts such as the Sex Pistols. The Ramones went on to take four singles into the UK top 40.

Their best-known songs reflected their lifestyle - I Wanna Be Sedated, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, Teenage Lobotomy, and Sheena Is A Punk Rocker.

The Ramones
The Ramones disbanded in 1996 with the album Adios Amigos

The Ramones finally disbanded in 1996 after releasing their last studio album, Adios Amigos, and playing a tearful farewell concert at the Palace club in Hollywood.

"I know that you have to deal with a life without applause, and I'm looking forward to trying it," said Johnny at the time.

"A lot of musicians are addicted to it and won't get out."

Johnny maintained a low profile afterwards, and though there were persistent rumours that the band might reform, they did not came together again until 2002 when they were inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

By this time, however, lead singer Joey Ramone had died of lymphoma, a form of cancer, at the age of 49.

His death was followed by that of Dee Dee Ramone in June 2002, who died of a heroin overdose at his Hollywood home.


SEE ALSO:
Johnny Ramone loses cancer fight
16 Sep 04  |  Entertainment
Ramones man confirms cancer fight
18 Jun 04  |  Entertainment
New York honours Ramones legend
12 Nov 03  |  Entertainment
The musical misfits
16 Apr 01  |  Entertainment
Punk legend dies
16 Apr 01  |  Entertainment


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