Rock operas, synthesizers and half-hour jams were not for The Ramones. They stripped rock down to a fast, raw and aggressive wall of electric sound, each song around two minutes long, no solos necessary. Guitarist Johnny Ramone described his playing as "pure, white rock 'n' roll, with no blues influence. I wanted our sound to be as original as possible. I stopped listening to everything." A conservative, Johnny was at odds with leather-jacketed singer Joey Ramone, a liberal, in more than politics. After Johnny took up with Joey's former girlfriend in the early 1980s, the two band members, who formed the core of the group, continued touring until 1996 but never spoke again. Both would die of cancer, Joey, 49, in 2001 and Johnny, 55, in 2004.
Band members met at Forest Hills High School in Queens, NY, also the alma mater of Simon & Garfunkel. They took their name from a pseudonym that Paul McCartney once used, Paul Ramon. The Ramones never had a hit, but they stayed together for 22 years, releasing more than a dozen studio albums and playing 2,263 concerts. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and hailed for igniting the punk rock movement with their self-named 1976 album.
The Ramones' punk sound included strains of '60s AM bubblegum and surf music, evident in their performance above of "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker."