20 Facts To Celebrate The 43rd Anniversary Of The Ramones Debut Album
By Dave Basner
April 23, 2019
43 years ago, the world was introduced to Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone when The Ramones released their self-titled debut album. We all know how the iconic record influenced music, but here are 20 things you might not know about it:
1. The album was created in seven days in February 1976 for just $6,400. The instruments were recorded in three days and the vocals in four.
2. To record the album, the band used microphone placement techniques similar to the ones orchestras used.
3. Though it isn’t mentioned in the liner notes, Joey Ramone’s brother, Mickey Leigh, added backing vocals to the album. He requested to not be listed because he didn’t want people to get confused over who was in the band.
4. The iconic album cover of the four band members against a brick wall was taken by Punk magazine’s Roberta Bayley. The record company paid $125 for the shot.
5. Before Bayley’s shot, the band had paid another photographer $2000 for pictures similar to the cover of The Beatles’ Meet the Beatles! They were very disappointed with the outcome of that shoot.
6. The brick wall on the album cover was part of a private community garden between Bowery Street and Second Street in New York City.
7. The album had two singles: “Blitzkrieg Bop” and “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.”
8. “Blitzkrieg Bop” was originally titled “Animal Hop” and was about kids going to a show and having a good time. Dee Dee Ramone changed the lyrics to be more Nazi-related.
9. Joey wrote “Beat on the Brat” about spoiled, bratty neighborhood kids in the area of Queens where he lived. He explained that the kids were so annoying they were the kind you’d want to beat on with a bat.
10. The track “Judy is a Punk” is the shortest song on the album clocking in at just one minute and 39 seconds.
11. Tommy Ramone wrote “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” as an homage to love songs from the 1960s.
12. “Chain Saw” was influenced by the 1974 horror filmThe Texas Chain Saw Massacre and even uses the sound of a running circular saw to open the track.
13. The track “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement” was also inspired by a horror movie. The minimalist tune is the same three lines of lyrics repeated, but it’s the longest song on the record at two minutes and 35 seconds.
14. Dee Dee has said that the song “Now I Want To Sniff Some Glue” is not autobiographical, noting that he stopping sniffing glue at age eight.
15. Dee Dee wrote “53rd and 3rd” about a male prostitute who kills a customer to show he isn’t a homosexual. Dee Dee has said the song is autobiographical and Johnny previously stated that the track is about Dee Dee turning tricks.
16. The band’s cover of Chris Montez’s “Let’s Dance” features producer Craig Leon playing the Wurlitzer pipe organ at Radio City Musical Hall.
17. “I Don’t Want to Walk Around with You” was one of the first songs the band wrote together and is the first track on their first demo tape. It was originally called “I Don’t Want to Get Involved with You.”
18. The original lyrics of “Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World,” a song that refers to a Hitler Youth member, were “I’m a Nazi, baby, I’m a Nazi, yes I am. I’m a Nazi Schatze, y’know I fight for the Fatherland.” Sire Records founder Seymour Stein felt they were offensive so the band change them to “I’m a shock trooper in a stupor, yes I am. I’m a Nazi Schatze, y’know I fight for the Fatherland.”
19. In 2001, Spin magazine put the record at the top of their list of The 50 Most Essential Punk Records.
20. Upon release, the album was not commercially successful, peaking at 111 on the Billboard 200 and selling just 6,000 copies in its first year out. However, in 2014, it was certified gold for sales over 500,000 copies.