I Like: Ramones

I Like: Ramones

ramones playlist
Ramones in NYC, 1979 (Photo by David Tan/Shinko Music/Getty Images)

The Ramones broke into the NY music scene in the mid-1970s with their stripped back take on rock and roll that was genius for its naveté. Speed, intensity, and simplicity replaced the grand ambitions of other rock bands of the era, providing an exhilarating breath of short, fast, fresh air. 

With their uniformed leather jackets, long hair, ripped jeans and sneakers, the Ramones seemed more like a gang than a rock band. They shunned the stadium rock scene, instead specialising in playing small, packed clubs, most significantly CBGB’s - the epicenter of the New York punk world - in Manhattan's East Village.

There aren’t many bands who can make you want to throw on a leather jacket and head to the beach, but the Ramones do just that! So, make the most of what’s left of winter, the I Like: Ramones playlist is packed full of sweet pop-punk songs tailor-made for some melancholy fun in the sun. 


I Wanna Be Sedated

Featured track, "I Wanna Be Sedated" appeared on the band’s fourth album, Road to Ruin (1978) and is easily one of the Ramones best-known songs. It was written by singer, Joey Ramone, who described it as a road song, inspired by boredom when the band’s first visit to the UK coincided with Christmas time. 

There was nowhere to go and nothing to do, so Joey penned this number. It might be as festive as the Ramones get, but if you ask me, he really nailed the sentiment of the holiday season!

Rockaway Beach

Next up, “Rockaway Beach” written by bassist, Dee Dee Ramone, who Johnny Ramone claimed was “the only really beachgoer” in the group. Released in 1977, it was the Ramones' highest-charting single during their career, peaking at number 66 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Starting with their signature, “1,2,3,4!” The track pays homage to Rockaway Beach, in the boys’ hometown of Queens, and wears the influence of early surf rock bands like the Beach Boys on its sleeve.

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

Written by Joey Ramone, “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” was the first song to explicitly refer to ‘punk rock’ in its title and lyrics. The track introduced the world to a new subculture that was thriving in New York’s underground.

The fact that Joey chose to define ‘punk rock’ through Sheena, appropriated from the comic book character, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, suggests that the Ramones may not have just been the first punks, but the first feminist punks at that!  

I Just Wanna Have Something To Do

Last on the list is my personal favorite, "I Just Want to Have Something to Do" from the band's 1978 album, Road to Ruin. Only the Ramones could rhyme Second Avenue with chicken vindaloo, two things that ironically topped my ‘to do’ list on my first trip to NY. 

A celebrated expression of pent-up energy and frustrated desire, the track paints a perfect picture of boredom in a big city.

The Ramones delivered us ambivalence with an undeniable joyous energy. Infectious for their simplicity, they stand as a reminder to us all that bigger doesn’t always mean better. 

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