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Punk rock father Joey Ramone dead at 49
Joey Ramone, singer and founder of the first definitive punk-rock band, the Ramones, died Easter Sunday of lymphatic cancer. With a slew of two-minute and under punk infused pop-rock staples over the years, the New York City punk icon would have turned 50 this year.
The Ramones web site read yesterday, “Our beloved Joey Ramone passed away this afternoon at 2:40 p.m., in a hospital in New York City where he was being treated for cancer.” He was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes several months ago.
Ramone’s real name is Jeffrey Hyman. He was born May 15, 1951 in the NYC-suburb of Forest Hills, NY. In his teens he began playing drums and was inspired by the style of The Who’s Keith Moon, among other hard-rock acts.
With three other high school cronies, he started the Ramones in 1974. His band adopted alter-ego names as the Ramones brothers. Johnny played lead guitar and Dee Dee played bass guitar. The original drummer changed from Joey to Tommy, who played for the first handful of records. Into the `80’s Marky became the quartet’s more permanent drummer until the late `80’s when Richie took over.
In the past three decades the Ramones defined American punk music as its founding act. With the bare essentials, they gleamed through countless live sets at their native club, CBGB’s, often in less than a half hour’s time which comprised usually eighteen to two-dozen songs.
Ramone provided easy choruses and nutty lyrics that became anthems to thousands of America’s youth. Staples include “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Beat On The Brat,” and “The KKK Took My Baby Away.”
The band left a lasting image alongside similar pop-punk bands like Blondie and the Talking Heads. Their influence had lasting effects on `90’s Gen X-era punk/grunge outfits from Nirvana and Pearl Jam to Green Day and Blink-182.