The Ramones formed in the early 70s and put out this cassette in 1976.

One of my first concerts was a Ramones show in Trenton around 1987.  From 1976 to 1987 and beyond, the Ramones influence far outwieghed their popularity or their earnings, and that’s cool in a way, but ultimately a sad story, particularly given the untimely passing of some of the band members.

I beleive the Ramones should have been the most popular band ever.  But maybe the world underappreciating them (and look I’m not saying they didn’t have a ton of fans, because they did and still do, just that they should have been insanely popular) benefited all of us who came of age a bit passed their initial phase, who still got to see them play clubs as opposed to stadiums.  Some experiences you’ll always treasure but never be able to recapture and being a dopey 17 year old kid and getting to jump in the pit and slam around at a Ramones show, while Dee Dee shouted 1-2-3-4 and then went into song after song, is one of those.  I saw them around 5-6 times from 1987 to 1992 and every time the venue was small and every time they were great.  They played their songs, loud, fast, and short.  They played them well, and they weren’t like anything or anybody else.

As to The Ramones – their first cassette (spotify link below) – let’s go over some of the key tracks:

Blitzkrieg Bop:  Look, the first 27 seconds says it all.  Great intro, propulsive and then the classic “hey ho, let’s go.  Hey ho, let’s go.”  The genius is in the simplicity.  This ain’t poetry, this ain’t some overblown rock opera, this is just music.  “Hey ho, let’s go!”.  Do an experiment for me.  Get in your car, get it up to 50 mph (do this on the highway, not in a school zone), put in your Ramones cassette (look if your car doesn’t have a cassette deck sell it and buy an old one!), put this track on, 27 seconds in check your spedometer.  112?  Sorry, my bad, caveat emptor, I will not reimburse for speeding tickets.  What other band is this great in just 27 seconds, their first 27 seconds nails it and the other 107 seconds are pretty damn good.

Beat on The Brat:  Can I say how I love Joey’s singing.  “what can you do, with a brat like that …”, again, no poetry here, only perfection.  2:33 of propulsive fun.

Judy is a Punk: Fun little poppy tune, less punk than some of the others.  Top 40 stuff if the lyrics were about sad vampires falling in love or something, solid tune.

I wanna be your boyfriend:  This song is the best pop song ever.  Am I exagerrating?  Maybe, maybe not.  How this wasn’t #1 for months or years shocks me.  This is better than “I wanna hold your hand” and the fact that it’s three songs after Blitzkreig Bop and two after Beat on the brat just make it better.

I know I’ve only listed some of the obvious tracks here, but they’re all listenable and all go together well.  This is one of the greatest debut cassettes ever, and probably the most influential (don’t want to beat a dead horse but Ramones drove Sex Pistols and between those two they inspired 100s of bands).