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  1. #1
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Week 35: 50 Albums That Changed Music

    It appears we have another excellent choice this week, and something tells me we'll agree on the one for next week to make it three-in-a-row. And the selection is The Ramones - The Ramones (1976).

    'Fun disappeared from music in 1974', claimed singer Joey Ramone. To restore it, it took he and his three 'brothers' just one album and 16 tracks, all under three minutes. Brevity was the New York punk rockers' first lesson to the world, along with speed, a distorted guitar thrash and a knowing line in faux-dumb lyrics. In an era of 'progressive' rock pomposity and 12-minute tracks, the Ramones' back-to-basics approach was rousing and confrontational. Without this...no fun.

    I'm sure J and Jimbo Clark will be commenting as soon as they see this. I think they're the two biggest Ramones fan on RR, not like that's a bad thing.

    Swish
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  2. #2
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    They were a fine 50's biker-punk, rock'n'roll revival act, but way, way too much importance (IMO) is levied on this and other punk rock acts. I don't know how a band like the 'Remoans' garner such adoration among the music press while anyone showing an abundant amount of musical talent and mastery of their instruments get nothing but derrison from the same critics.

    The Ramones were a fun diversion; a sort of throwback to the rebellious early days of R'n'R, but for me, my interest stops right there. They were a younger, angrier, slightly scarier version of Sha Na Na.

  3. #3
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Hard to argue with this choice, as well. It was definitely an important album. No argument from these quarters.
    Eschew fascism.
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  4. #4
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    Great band...great album. Totally disagree that it gets too much importance tagged to it or to punk in general. Like it or not, rock music was drastically reshaped by punk and it continues to be a strong influence today. The post-punk stuff in the 80s was a direct outgrowth of it, the grunge of the 90s was highly influenced by it and even the garage rock stuff that has been quite popular this decade is influenced strongly by it. The DIY business model that grew from punk influenced the whole indie movement. Even punk style has become a staple with a black leather jacket hanging in even the most conservative of closets.

    I can see why you may have issue with the album or the genre from a personal taste point of view...althogugh it is one of my favorite albums of all time that I can listen to again and again But, denying that punk changed rock music deeply and permanently just doesn't really seem very plausable to me.

  5. #5
    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    Yeah, nobody is right.

    My own personal dislike of the band hass been well documented here over the years, so I won't go into that . . . but their influence on rock was wide-spread and is still being felt today . . . for better or worse.

    Safe and obvious.

  6. #6
    Rocket Surgeon Swish's Avatar
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    Sha Na Na? WTH are you thinking?

    Quote Originally Posted by 3-LockBox
    They were a fine 50's biker-punk, rock'n'roll revival act, but way, way too much importance (IMO) is levied on this and other punk rock acts. I don't know how a band like the 'Remoans' garner such adoration among the music press while anyone showing an abundant amount of musical talent and mastery of their instruments get nothing but derrison from the same critics.

    The Ramones were a fun diversion; a sort of throwback to the rebellious early days of R'n'R, but for me, my interest stops right there. They were a younger, angrier, slightly scarier version of Sha Na Na.
    Really, I don't see any correlation between the Ramones, a solid punk band, and a group of doo-wopping knuckleheads like Sha Na Na. Not even close. And your comment regarding musical talent and mastery of instruments? I know plenty of excellent musicians who don't have one iota of creativity and all they can do is mimic what they hear. Mastery of an instrument, while impressive, doesn't always translate into good music. In fact, I could care less these days about how fast or incredible someone plays, unlike when I was a snot-nosed kid. What I want to hear are great songs. Period.

    Swish
    I call my bathroom Jim instead of John so I can tell people that I go to the Jim first thing every morning.

    If you say the word 'gullible' very slowly it sounds just like oranges.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    Hell...if nothing else punk rock kept the whole argument over whether it matters if you're a good player going for the last 30 years.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular BradH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swish
    What I want to hear are great songs. Period.
    A lot of people say that but, if you think about it, there's more to it. I mean, why not just read the sheet music and be done with it? I like Stewart Copeland's comment that it's the songwriter's job to write good songs and it's the musician's job to make it interesting.
    And The Ramones did both. It was a narrowly selective, highly stylized slice of early 60's pop cranked up to 11 like never before. The comparison to Sha Na Na is ludicrous. The influence of this album ranges far and wide to this day, much more than some of the other picks on this list. The Ramones drew the blueprint for the punk explosion that eventually caused the record companies to needlessly spook the hell out of the prog bands ("we don't know how to promote you anymore!") who reacted by making crappy albums in 1978.
    Last edited by BradH; 03-12-2007 at 09:01 PM.

  9. #9
    Suspended 3-LockBox's Avatar
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    At least Kiss had the cool get-up

  10. #10
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    They...

    ...or at least some members would show up on a local (NJ) UHF station on the "Uncle Floyd Show"...

    Interesting info I never knew (but discovered as a result of this thread): they all used pseudonyms (gee and I actually thought there was a Ramone or two)...they started on the mean streets (????) in Forest Hills in Queens NY (given the per capita income of the area, so much for the whole "disaffected youth" aspect, just a few more middle income snots with nothing better to do) and "Joey Ramone" held everyone to a strict dress code of black leather and hi-tops (image, image, image)...

    IMHO they can be summed up in one song "I Wanna' Be Sedated"...

    jimHJJ(...which BTW I actually like...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

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  11. #11
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Tough to top the Ramones in my estimation. But hey, that's just me. There's plenty of room if you want complex mastery of writing and performance. The Goodwills around me are loaded down with classical music LPs. Personally, I don't really like that stuff too much. Then of course there's the whole prog. thing that some around here go for. Well, I'm gonna copy Troy, my stance is known.

    With regard to the musicianship of the Ramones I can simply cough up a response I read from J sometime over the years. It had to do with playing all of that music on a guitar using nothing but the down stroke. Apparently it ain't all together easy to do. J went on to espouse Tommy's drumming bringing something new to the party, but all of that would be better left to J.

    Wish I had more time but for now I gotta get my butt back to work.

    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  12. #12
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    People with OCD can do the same things over and over again, too.

    Hey, if you're going to bait me, expect me to bite.
    Eschew fascism.
    Truth Will Out.
    Quote Originally Posted by stevef22
    you guys are crackheads.
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    Peter aka Dusty Chalk

  13. #13
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    I dunno'...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    ...It had to do with playing all of that music on a guitar using nothing but the down stroke. Apparently it ain't all together easy to do...
    ...using only downstrokes tends to make the sound a bit heavier, hitting the bass strings for effect is fairly common in the harder stuff, makes it sound ballsier with or without distortion...Unfortunately, it also can tend to make the playing sound monotonous...Add a bassist and drummer accenting the same beat and...well...If you are interested in simply providing a head-banging effect, slashing at the first two or three strings will do the trick...Most competent, involved, creative musicians will tend to gravitate to other attacks and/or arpeggios, simply to present some of their innate creativity...whomp, whomp, whomp, gets old...unless the song involves a series of whompings.

    If you pay close attention, guitarists (and bassists who seem rarely to go much higher than the third or fourth fret) who play in this "punky" style tend to have low-slung instruments (which additionally gives the requisite visual "I'm bad" effect), however more melodic players e.g. classical, jazz, will hold their instrument higher on their torso allowing for unrestricted movement of the fingering arm and greater access to the fretboard...

    jimHJJ(...'tain't easy, 'tain't not...it's simply a rudimentary style...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

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  14. #14
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Which...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark
    ...The Goodwills around me are loaded down with classical music LPs. Personally, I don't really like that stuff too much...
    ...indicates what?

    That most likely the previous owners are dead...and that most moderns don't have the mental capacity to appreciate anything (ideas OR music) much longer or more complex that a soundbite...or that TT users are rather rare these days 'ceptin' for some diehard vinylphiles whose good fortune it is to stumble on out-of-print classic performances?

    jimHJJ(...sad places those second-hand shops...entire lives reduced to a few mean possessions...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  15. #15
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Are we really talking about the Ramones as ground breakers???????????

    Competent yes but thats it IMHO

    NOW I've heard everything.... I can die in peace now LOL
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    Are there really still people out there so deep in denial that they can't admit that The Ramones changed everything in the rock 'n' roll world?

  17. #17
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Hey Nobody

    OK I admit it ..I don't get it

    Can you explain "everything" for me
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  18. #18
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    Well...for one, punk pushed prog rock and more treaditionally blues based rock onto the back burner where they have mostly stayed after a period of complete dominance up until punk came around. In additional to just specifically punk sounding styles, in the later 70s and early 80s many of the same musicians started branching out into various types of experimental musical styles in teh post punk era free of the restraints that had been previously imposed on rock music.

    For example, Johnny Rotten formed PIL after the Sex Pistols collapsed making some of the most experimental music of the era that sounded nothing like punk rock, yet was only made possible through it's explosion and aftermath. The harder edge of punk music went undeground in the Hardcore movement which in addition to having at least some effect on the thrash and metal scenes that developed in the later half of the 80s was the cornerstone of the independant music business model that that has become a major staple of modern rock when bands struggling to get their records through many major labels just pressed and released them on their own, booked their own tours and developed their own networks.

    Meanwhile, major labels devolved into the crap they are today, just pushing teenie pop acts and a select few artists that "fit the clothes" to superstardom while leaving most rock bands to fight it out on their own, something only possible through these independant labels.

    Punk also led the change from the traditional rock look of that long haired hippie thing to a vastly different stylistic statement that still pops up regularly today. Remember when the point of dying hair was to make it look natural? Remember when only bikers dressed in black leather?

    Now, how much do you want to credit the The Ramones specifically as the grandaddy of punk bands who were the standard bearers for punk in the US for decades and were key figures in inspiring the UK punk scene when they toured England in the mid 70s? Well, that could be debateable...maybe if not them, someone else would have led the charge. But, they were the ones who jumpstarted a musical and cultural movement that has had far reaching effects, even if you don't like them.

  19. #19
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Thanks Nobody

    well written and informative......I stand corrected
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  20. #20
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    Not tryin'...

    Quote Originally Posted by nobody
    Are there really still people out there so deep in denial that they can't admit that The Ramones changed everything in the rock 'n' roll world?
    ...to be a PITA (although the term fait accompli seems apropos), if ya doesn't mind me askin'...how so? I admit to their iconic status and like the old joke if you look up "punk" in the dictionary you probably should find a photo of them but....there was other music going on during their tenure...Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson are two that come to mind...Even groups like Ian Drury and the Blockheads showed skill at their craft and Gruppo Sportivo and Plastic Bertrand seemed to have some musical sensibilty beyond punk...B-52s, Blondie, The Cars...I mean there was way more going on in those 20-odd years...

    Are there still bands emulating the Ramones garage band style? Sure there are, but "...changed everything in the rock'n'roll world..."?

    jimHJJ(...Elvis and the Beatles, maybe Michael Jackson...but the Ramones???...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

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  21. #21
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    I think how much they were the direct influence depends on your perspective and how much credit you wanna give 'em for punk in general.

    But, for punk in general, just speaking to the bands you mention...

    It was in the height of the punk explosion in England when Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson were signed up as a more polite version of things happening at the time. Their early stripped down style wasn't in vogue until punk struck. Ian Dury is probably the best axample of something breaking through outside punk, even though again that srt of pub rock sound found more favor when people were less enamored of more complicated fare.

    Blondie was considered a punk band themselves in their early days and shared the stage with The Ramones as CBGB regulars. The B-52s, the Cars, and new wave in general was a very splintered genre that sprung up in the wake of punk rewriting the rule book of what was and wasn't "correct" in rock music. The difference in what was accepted under the rock umbrella pre and post punk was vast and allowed many of these sorts of band access they would not have had before.

    Is crediting the whole thing to The Ramones stretching a point? Sure, especially in purely musical terms.

    But, they were the foundation for punk in general, which had far reaching effects and was a much more diverse musical mash-mash than it has eveolved into and as practiced by 4th generation pop-punks today.

  22. #22
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    I'se...

    Quote Originally Posted by nobody
    Well...for one, punk pushed prog rock and more treaditionally blues based rock onto the back burner where they have mostly stayed after a period of complete dominance up until punk came around. In additional to just specifically punk sounding styles, in the later 70s and early 80s many of the same musicians started branching out into various types of experimental musical styles in teh post punk era free of the restraints that had been previously imposed on rock music.

    For example, Johnny Rotten formed PIL after the Sex Pistols collapsed making some of the most experimental music of the era that sounded nothing like punk rock, yet was only made possible through it's explosion and aftermath. The harder edge of punk music went undeground in the Hardcore movement which in addition to having at least some effect on the thrash and metal scenes that developed in the later half of the 80s was the cornerstone of the independant music business model that that has become a major staple of modern rock when bands struggling to get their records through many major labels just pressed and released them on their own, booked their own tours and developed their own networks.

    Meanwhile, major labels devolved into the crap they are today, just pushing teenie pop acts and a select few artists that "fit the clothes" to superstardom while leaving most rock bands to fight it out on their own, something only possible through these independant labels.

    Punk also led the change from the traditional rock look of that long haired hippie thing to a vastly different stylistic statement that still pops up regularly today. Remember when the point of dying hair was to make it look natural? Remember when only bikers dressed in black leather?

    Now, how much do you want to credit the The Ramones specifically as the grandaddy of punk bands who were the standard bearers for punk in the US for decades and were key figures in inspiring the UK punk scene when they toured England in the mid 70s? Well, that could be debateable...maybe if not them, someone else would have led the charge. But, they were the ones who jumpstarted a musical and cultural movement that has had far reaching effects, even if you don't like them.
    ...a bit dizzy...this replaces that and rock replaces Perry Como and Patti Page and blues-based rock/prog replaces that and so on...That's simply evolution...it ain't your daddy's Oldsmobile...Didn't punk get replaced by New Wave and yada, yada, yada?

    And yet post-punk experimental was set free of "restraints"? Well wasn't progressive free of the restraints of three-chord 4/4 tunes? And didn't punk eschew that freedom to roam for the simplistic freedom of three-cord 4/4 tunes...so isn't the resultant experimental stuff in essence another form of progressive??? What goes around comes around?

    Think about it and simply compare some retro-types...think Stray Cats vs. Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, there's always some little sliver of the past either continuing to be played or being "discovered" by some enterprising types...OTOH, there's always been and will always be garage bands, call it grunge or thrash or incurable rash...whatever... it's really reactionary; both are a revelation to the uninitiated.

    And as I recall there are early 60s photos of this insignificant little Brit pop group in their teddy-boy doos and black leather jackets...so I'd guess there's very little new under the sun...

    Don't get me started on the music biz...

    jimHJJ(...I think we are of a like mind when it comes to that...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  23. #23
    Close 'n PlayŽ user Troy's Avatar
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    nobody:

    The inherent artistic dead-end of punk as a genre was made obvious by Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, XTC and countless others who got their start with the stripped down punk era, who once they were established, released music that was much more artfully produced and arranged. And it's THAT work that most of these artists are remembered for. Your assertion that other forms of rock were subservient to punk for more than a coule of years is wrong. Punk sales have never been as big as the more mainstream genres of rock.

    Yes, a lot of PiL sounded nothing like punk because it was basically progrock. It was "experimental" to someone weaned on punk, but they were just rehashing tried and true prog/spacerock formulas from the early 70s. Your assertion that PiL's sound was possible only with "punk's explosion and aftermath" is simply wrong. It's just an obvious fact to anyone that knows prog.

    My point being, while The Ramones DID change the landscape of rock music, it was a step backwards for it. Many of the artists who got their start with the punk scene turned their backs on it as soon as they were able to.

    The Ramones didn't, and while it could be argued they they remained "true to their roots", I personally think they were simply a one trick pony, a novelty act who couldn't shed their whole "onetwothreefour", fish-heads and leather jacket schtick because they were simply incapable of doing anything else.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular nobody's Avatar
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    Ok...maybe I stretched things a bit.

    And, yes change is constant. But, I think the central point that punk was a monumental shift in music and at least one of the biggest shifts of the 70s/80s holds true. And, The Ramones are ground zero for that.

    Good point about prog tossing off one set of restraints, but to me they seemed to just trade in one set for another, perhaps more confining type of restraint with such complexities always expected.

    Yeah those guys turned their back on punk after their first couple albums...but then they atarted to suck (pure opinoin on that one...just never liked nmore than the first couple from any of 'em)

  25. #25
    Forum Regular BradH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody
    Good point about prog tossing off one set of restraints, but to me they seemed to just trade in one set for another, perhaps more confining type of restraint with such complexities always expected.
    There's no doubt the prog bands were trying to introduce more complexity to pop music. They were continuing a trend that had been growing throughout the 60's after others turned to heavy-metal and folk-rock. But they also gave themselves the freedom to play simple tunes when they wanted to. John Lydon listened to Ash Ra Tempel, Hawkwind, Neu!...none of those bands necessarily specialized in complexity and yet were wildly experimental. Pink Floyd didn't get down with the Soft Machines of the world and, early on, acknowledged the Softs were better musicians. Eno didn't even consider himself to be a musician. The prog bands were about throwing off restraints. The punk bands were about putting them back on. They talked about it, they wrote about it, it was an entire radical philosophy they had and it worked. And yeah, it was the single biggest stylistic shift in pop/rock music since the British Invasion. But Troy nailed it, it was the maturity and branching out of the early new wave bands that was fascinating - like it was the early 60's all over again, every album marking a major move forward for The Jam, XTC, Talking Heads, etc. It was that music that sparked my interest in 60's music other than as a birthplace for prog. There was a connection to those simple pop songs and how they were subtly manipulated into something truly great. New wave was less Cream and more Kinks. Less Hendrix and more Beatles. Yeah, yeah, the punks all talked a lot of smack about everything sucking before their own arrival but they were all wearing flairs a few years before and Paul Weller would never rest until he created his own Revolver-style collection of perfect songs, which he did with Sound Affects. Even the Clash claimed Sandanista to be legitimate because it was an accurate document of where they were at the time. Y'know, like it was a...(gulp)...dare I say it?....a Musical Journey! Take away the Socialist posturing, put some hair on it and it could've come from the mouth of Jon Anderson. I remember college dj's soothing the spike heads about Sandanista by saying things like, " When you check it out there's a lot of really good music here" and using words like "expanding" and "boundaries". The Heads released "Remain In Light" about the same time and exploded everything. That was the Sgt. Peppers of New Wave, period. And what was Yes doing that year onstage? Alan White was pounding out a solid 4/4 rhythm on the floor toms in "Go Through This" - as close to pure punk/new wave as they ever got. That drum style goes straight back to Tommy Ramone, no way around it, over it or under it. So, I take a dim view of a lot of this genre war bullsh!t. The punks had to put on the harness in order to break out of it. To make that car move you had to re-invent the wheel.

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