“Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go…” – “I Wanna Be Sedated” sees the Ramones crash into my B100 top tunes list.
As I write my 98th blog in this nearly complete rundown of my 100 favourite songs (with the caveat of choosing only a single tune by any individual artist) I’ve said many times already that it’s been really difficult to make just one pick, especially for the likes of Nick Cave, Neil Young etc. However, the sheer singular relentless of the Ramones aesthetic really does contribute to a very tough choice here. It’s trite and grossly incorrect to say that all Ramones songs sound the same – for example contrast “Don’t Come Close” with “I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement” – but it is true to say that all Ramones songs defiantly sound like the Ramones and nobody else in a way that arguably only also applies to The Fall.
I could therefore have picked probably any one of about twenty songs from their iconic first four 70s albums, plus a similar number from their latter, more inconsistent records. In the end, I’ve chosen “I Wanna Be Sedated” from 1978’s “Road To Ruin” as it expertly sums up the Ramones in one typically exciting two and a minute half blast of punk rock delirium. With its fantastic song title and accompanying genius dumb lyrics, buzzsaw guitar riffs plus drums just about keeping up, “I Wanna Be Sedated” simply screams big stupid fun – something that’s surprisingly hard to pull off this effortlessly.
Plus it’s always worth stating quite how influential the Ramones were in their day – somewhat underappreciated in New York initially, they played to much bigger, more enthusiastic crowds when they travelled to the UK in 1976, most notably at their iconic Roundhouse gig attended by the Sex Pistols, Damned, Clash et al. It’s also quite incredible that such a dysfunctional band lasted for 20 years before eventually disbanding in 1996. The excellent documentary “End Of A Century” highlights the Ramones’ ups and consistent downs, bringing to light the fact that Joey and Johnny Ramone avoided speaking as much as possible from 1981 onwards – due to ultra-conservative Johnny Ramone wooing liberal Joey Ramone’s then girlfriend Linda before marrying her three years later. This incident allegedly led to Joey writing the great “The KKK Took My Baby Away” from 1981’s “Pleasant Dreams” album, a song with a pretty clear lyrical theme. Tragedy was never far away from the Ramones with frontline bruddahs Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee all passing away between 2001 and 2004 – but their status as iconic punk front runners is completely assured.
VIDEOS AND OTHER STUFF
- Other great Ramones songs include: Blitzkrieg Bop, Judy Is A Punk, Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, Rockaway Beach, Teenage Lobotomy, Don’t Come Close, Rock’n’Roll High School, Chinese Rock, The KKK Take My Baby Away.
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