Rhythm is sad to announce that Tommy Ramone, the original drummer and last surviving member of The Ramones, has recently passed away, aged 62.
The New York punk pioneers were well known for their punk rock attitude and simplistic musical style. They were like a family, self-proclaimed ‘bruddas’ - hence the adoption of the Ramone surname. The band had a huge influence on the punk rock movement in the mid ’70s. They paved the way for fellow CBGBs artists such as Blondie, and had a massive impact on the UK punk movement that included The Sex Pistols.
DIY punk ethic
Tommy was the last surviving member of the original line-up. Joey Ramone passed away in 2001, Dee Dee in 2002, and Johnny in 2004.
The Ramones pioneered the ‘Do-It-Yourself’ ethic of punk rock in both their music and iconic appearance. The band’s legacy is evidenced by the popularity still of Ramones records and merchandise. The band pretty much toured for 22 years non-stop, although Tommy himself left the band in 1978.
"It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea,” Tommy said in 1978. “It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music - it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally, I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody."
Tommy played on the Ramones’ first three albums - Ramones (1976), Leave Home (1977) and Rocket To Russia (1978) - taking a backseat to produce the Ramones’ 1978 album Road To Ruin, with Marky Ramone replacing him at the kit. In recent years, Tommy had written and performed bluegrass folk music.
Tommy Ramone RIP
It’s clear that the original band will be missed; thousands of fans have sent tributes to Tommy’s home in New York.
The Ramones’ influence on the bands that followed them can’t be understated. Green Day’s Tre Cool named his daughter Ramona, whilst Kurt Cobain described his great ambition as being able to play in a band like the Ramones.