Strange as it sounds, the Ramones actually hurt themselves by arriving on the scene too good. Already fully formed, their 1976 debut The Ramones was the perfect sound for their street punk aesthetic. So when you arrive on the scene with a near perfect approach of what you do, where do you go from there? Similar to the Strokes, they released two more dominant albums in the same style in Rocket to Russia and Road to Ruin and a decent one in Left Home, but then hit a wall where you had fully explored their style and formula. That being said, they drew up the blue print for punk music and took well-traveled pop sounds to a new and thrilling speeds. In honor of Tommy Ramone’s recent passing (the drummer and producer of the band and the last living Ramone), we give you our 10 favorite Ramones songs.
10. “I Wanna Be Sedated”
Probably their second biggest hit, “I Wanna Be Sedated” has those big lovable Ramones melodies, and ratchets up the intensity and urgency as the song goes on.
Singing to their natural female counterpart, “Ramona” is a sweet love song with some of the band’s best harmonies.
8. “Beat On the Brat”
Like most Ramones songs, “Beat On the Brat” is built on one great line, but reaches another level with Joey’s vocal delivery.
7. “Chinese Rock”
The Phil Spector-produced End Of The Century brought the band its biggest sound, and they may not have a more epic rock song than “Chinese Rock”. The song builds up for a rocket launch of a chorus.
6. “Teenage Lobotomy”
The song name itself screams punk rock, as does the band yelling out “lobotomy”, adding each element at a time, and turning it into another full-on scorcher.
5. “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”
A textbook example of what the Ramones do best: taking a lovably early rock ‘n’ roll sound and giving it a nasty edge, plus hand claps as the cherry on top.
4. “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?”
The best use Spector’s talents with the Ramones: “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” leans towards the classic Phil Spector “Wall of Sound”, with what could almost sell for a Springsteen and the E-Street Band or Elvis Costello song. An interesting change up to be sure.
3. “Cretin Hop”
“Cretin Hop” introduced the thicker Ramones sound on Rocket to Russia, with Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone holding down one of their strongest rhythms.
2. “Judy is a Punk”
Beyond sountracking the legendary Margot Tenenbaum boyfriend’s montage in Royal Tenenbaums, “Judy is a Punk” is 90 seconds of punk rock bliss.
1. “Blitzkrieg Bop”
From the break-neck speed, to the “hi ho” shouts, to the bubblegum pop chorus, “Blitzkrieg Bop” ushered in a new era of music and stands as the Ramones most popular and iconic song for good reason.
Todd – “Danny Says”
A slow dirge of a Ramones song but full of interesting turns, production touches, and is one of the rare Ramones tracks that breaks 3 minutes. That’s like a 7-song for any other band.
Wes – “California Sun”
Ramones always had killer covers of early rock ‘n’ roll and girl group songs, and “California Sun” was the best in my book. The Joe Jones original was best known for the Riviera’s surf rock version, but the Ramones take it to another level.
Austin – “Pet Sematary”
Austin is a sick person, and thus, he has made a sick choice.