It Was 37 Years Ago Today: The Ramones Release Their First Album!



On this date in 1976, a band from Forest Hills, NY by the name of The Ramones released their first album on the fledgling Sire Records label.

There would be no Ed Sullivan Show performance to signal that the world had changed.  In fact, it would take years, decades even, for the importance of this album to be felt.  Now widely considered one of the more important albums in the history of rock & roll, The Ramones was all but ignored by the mainstream tastemakers and gatekeepers who chose instead to keep shoving Little River Band and .

As I listen to the album now, dropping the needle at the very beginning and allowing "Blitzkrieg Bop" to barge into my head, I am dumbfounded by the fact that it was not a monster hit along the lines of "Hanky Panky", "Louie, Louie", "96 Tears" or"Wild Thing". Does it not have the same wild abandon?  Does it not also sound like it came from another planet?  It would have been a nice palette cleanser after the heaping spoonfuls of Little River Band soft rock schlock our eager heads were being filled with to deaden our senses and kill our ambition.

37 years after it was recorded, "Beat On The Brat" still sounds like it was recorded straight to cardboard.  If, like me, your ears have become begrudgingly accustomed to the "perfection" of modern digital recording, the humanity of this performance might very well challenge your auto-tuned sensibilities, but if you can get past that minor hurdle, you will quickly realize how refreshing it is to hear a song with an actual living heartbeat.

Why did the rock press and radio programmers of the day feel the need to shield us from this music yet think nothing of the more sinister intentions of Kiss and Alice Cooper?

And, considering that "The Fonz" was all the rage at the time, what had been so threatening about four kids in matching leather jackets?

There's just no excuse for that sort of nonsense.  Somebody dropped the fucking ball and I hold every radio programmer who passed on playing their music back then 100% responsible for the festering shithole that the musical landscape has now become.

Of course, these days, you hear their music everywhere; movies, commercials, even on the radio.  The powers-that-be all pretend that The Ramones were always this much an accepted part of American pop culture.  In doing so, they conveniently (but quite obviously) forget the fact that the band never made it out of the club circuit in America.  Sure, they played stadiums, but they had to fly to England or Europe to do it.

While the idea of seeing The Ramones at the local EnormoDome when I was a kid would have been cool as hell, let's face it, it would have meant sharing The Ramones with every Todd, Nick and Wendy.  Half the reason we gravitated to The Ramones was to have something to ourselves, the charms of which would be completely lost on the mainstream sheep we went to school wth every day.

The Ramones were our secret, but, like most great secrets, it eventually got out.. Okay bitches, which one of you blabbed?  Just kidding.  It was me.  In 1986, I joined the staff at DePaul University's radio station, WDPU, and immediately began subjecting the airwaves to heavy doses of The Ramones.  It was long overdue and I was simply making up for lost time.  While it is still unknown whether the signal of our two-Dixie-cups-and-a-string of a radio station could be heard outside the building, I like to think that I single-handedly knocked over that first domino that led to others falling, thereby setting in motion the sea change that ultimately led to the widespread acceptance of their music and admission into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Maybe I did, maybe I didn't  Ether way, you're welcome.

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