Song of The Day: The Ramones Cut A Protest Song, "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg"!

The year was 1985 and President Reagan had agreed to take part in a ceremony at a German military cemetery intended to pay tribute to the victims of Nazi atrocities.  Unfortunately, the cemetery where Reagan laid a wreath and made an impassioned speech happened to be the final resting place for a number of SS soldiers.

The flipside of the UK-only single.
Needless to say, a number of Jewish organizations took offense to Reagan's involvement in the ceremony, as did millions of Americans - four of whom happened to be members of the Ramones.  In a stunning departure from their delightfully lunk-headed odes to bad relationships and boredom, main songwriters Dee Dee and Joey (along with ex-Plasmatics bassist and owner of the coolest mohawk in punk history, Jean Beauvoir) turned their outrage into a bonafied protest song.

Recorded before the ink was even dry on the lyric sheet, the song was issued in the UK on Beggars Banquet and became an immediate hit. Sadly, Sire Records could not be bothered to release the song in the United States at the time.  Of course, when they did finally release the song in 1986 as part of the Animal Boy album, the title had been inexplicably changed to "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)".

Was someone at Sire a Ronnie supporter?

Sources at Warner Brothers, the distributor for Sire releases, reportedly stated that they didn't think the song was good enough to put out!  Uh, squeeze me?  If any one label on the planet has their name on more pieces of sonic shit, it's Warner Brothers.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

1 comment:

  1. Nicely written, this Ramones piece. Nicely written. Tight, even.