Johnny Ramone
Johnny Ramone

John William Cummings (October 8, 1948 – September 15, 2004), identified professionally as Johnny Ramone, was an American guitarist and songwriter.

Ramone was the guitarist for the punk rock band the Ramones. He was a founding member of the band.[1] The Ramones helped pioneer the punk rock motion.[2][3] The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame in 2002. In 2009, Ramone appeared on Times record of “The ten Best Electrical-Guitar Gamers”.[4] He ranked No. 8 on Spins 2012 record of the “100 Best Guitarists of All Time”[5] and No. 28 on Rolling Stones equally titled 2015 record.[6]

Alongside his music profession, Ramone appeared in almost a dozen movies, in documentaries, and on tv. Ramone’s autobiography, entitled Commando, was launched posthumously in 2012.[7]


John William Cummings was born in Queens, New York Metropolis, on October 8, 1948, the one baby of a building employee (a steamfitter) of Irish descent.[8] He was raised within the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens, the place he grew up absorbing rock music.[9] Cummings’s father was a strict disciplinarian. Johnny is quoted as saying: “My father would get on these tangents about how he by no means missed a day’s work. I broke my huge toe the day I needed to go pitch a Little League sport and he is going, ‘What are you – a child? What did I do, increase a child? You go play.’ And though my toe was damaged I needed to go pitch the sport anyway. It was horrible.”[10]

As an adolescent, Cummings performed in a band referred to as the Tangerine Puppets alongside future Ramones drummer Tamás Erdélyi (higher referred to as Tommy Ramone).[11] Cummings was referred to as a “greaser”, although he was later described as a tie-dye-wearing Stooges fan. He was a lifelong New York Yankees fan. Cummings additionally labored as a plumber along with his father earlier than the Ramones grew to become profitable. At one level, he attended Peekskill Army Academy in Peekskill, New York.[10]



Cummings met future bandmate Douglas Colvin, later to develop into Dee Dee Ramone, within the early Seventies whereas delivering dry cleansing. They’d eat lunch collectively and talk about their mutual love of bands just like the Stooges and MC5. Collectively they went to Manny’s Music in New York Metropolis in January 1974, the place Johnny purchased a used blue Mosrite Ventures II guitar for simply over $54. On the identical journey, Dee Dee purchased a Danelectro bass. They collaborated with future bandmate Jeffrey Hyman, later to develop into Joey Ramone, to kind the Ramones with Richie Stern on bass. Stern left after just a few rehearsals. Erdélyi joined the Ramones in the summertime of that yr after public auditions failed to provide a passable drummer.[citation needed] The members of the band every used the “Ramone” surname,[12] and Cummings grew to become referred to as Johnny Ramone.[13]

The Ramones performed earlier than an viewers for the primary time on March 30, 1974, at Efficiency Studios.[14] The band’s debut album, Ramones, was greeted positively by rock critics.[15] The album was not a business success, reaching solely quantity 111 on the Billboard album chart.[16] Their subsequent two albums, Go away House and Rocket to Russia, had been launched in 1977.[17] Rocket to Russia was the band’s highest-charting album thus far, reaching quantity 49 on the Billboard 200.[18] In 1978, the band launched their fourth studio album, Street to Smash. It failed to achieve the Billboard Prime 100. Nevertheless, “I Wanna Be Sedated”, which appeared each on the album and as a single, would develop into one of many band’s best-known songs.[19] The art work on the album’s cowl was achieved by Punk journal cofounder John Holmstrom.[20]

After the band’s film debut in Roger Corman’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Excessive College (1979), famend producer Phil Spector took an interest within the Ramones and produced their 1980 album Finish of the Century. There’s a long-disputed rumor that in the course of the recording classes in Los Angeles, Spector held Johnny at gunpoint, forcing him to repeatedly play a riff.[21]

Nice Desires, the band’s sixth album, was launched in 1981. It continued the development established by Finish of the Century, taking the band farther from the uncooked punk sound of its early data.[22] Johnny would contend on reflection that this path was a report firm resolution, a continued futile try and get airplay on American radio.[23]

Johnny Ramone enjoying at The Eagle Hippadrome in 1983

Subterranean Jungle, produced by Ritchie Cordell and Glen Kolotkin, was launched in 1983.[24] In accordance with Trouser Press, it introduced the band “again to the place they as soon as belonged: junky ’60s pop adjusted for present tastes”, which amongst different issues meant “easing off the breakneck rhythm that was as soon as Ramones dogma.”[22]

Johnny Ramone was accountable for initiating one of many main sources of animosity inside the band when he started courting and later married Linda Daniele, who had beforehand dated Joey Ramone. Although the band remained collectively for years after this incident, relations between Johnny and Joey remained strained.[25]

The Ramones carried out 2,263 live shows, touring just about nonstop for 22 years.[14] On August 6, 1996, after a tour with the Lollapalooza music competition, they performed a farewell live performance on the Palace in Hollywood and disbanded.[26]

Recognition of the band’s significance grew over time.[3] The Ramones ranked quantity 26 in Rolling Stone journal’s record of the “100 Best Artists of All Time”[27] and quantity 17 in VH1’s “100 Best Artists of Laborious Rock”.[28] In 2002, the Ramones had been ranked the second-greatest band of all time by Spin, trailing solely The Beatles.[29] On March 18, 2002, the unique 4 members and Tommy’s substitute on drums, Marky Ramone, had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame of their first yr of eligibility.[14][30] In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.[31][32]


Alongside his music profession, Johnny Ramone appeared in almost a dozen movies (together with Rock ‘n’ Roll Excessive College) and documentaries. He additionally made tv appearances in such exhibits as The Simpsons (1F01 “Rosebud”, 1993) and Area Ghost Coast to Coast (Episode 5 “Bobcat”).[3]

Guitar method

Being nearly completely a rhythm guitarist, Johnny Ramone solely used downstrokes all through his profession; he additionally used full, six-string barre chords and occasional energy chords.[33][34][35] This distinctive method, mixed along with his attribute excessive acquire tone from his guitar amplifier, produced a guitar sound that was much more aggressive and rhythmic than that of his contemporaries, closely influencing early punk rock teams.[36]

Johnny noticed himself as a rhythm guitarist. For essentially the most half, he disliked prolonged guitar solos, and consequently by no means tried to achieve a lot ability on this space of enjoying. Regardless of this, Johnny did play easy lead guitar elements on a small variety of Ramones recordings, reminiscent of “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue” and “California Solar”. A quick guitar solo will also be discovered on dwell variations of “I Cannot Make It on Time”, wherein Johnny performs a descending E minor pentatonic scale, ending it off with an entire step bend. Nevertheless, the rare guitar solos on the group’s studio albums had been normally overdubbed by Tommy Ramone, Ed Stasium, Daniel Rey, Walter Lure and different uncredited visitors.[37] Most of those small leads had been solely added in an try to provide sure songs a extra business enchantment; they weren’t widespread on the band’s albums.

I suppose that earlier than me, individuals performed downstrokes for transient durations in a track, slightly than the entire track by. It was only a timing mechanism for me.

—Johnny Ramone[34]

For instance, Dictators bassist Andy Shernoff states that Jimmy Web page’s fast downstroke guitar riff in “Communication Breakdown”, an influential track that contained components of protopunk,[38][39] was an inspiration for Johnny Ramone’s downstroke guitar type.[40] Ramone, who has described Web page as “most likely the best guitarist who ever lived”,[41] said within the documentary Ramones: The True Story that he improved his downstroke type by enjoying the track time and again for the majority of his early profession.[42] Recording engineer Ed Stasium as soon as said “Johnny makes it sound easy, however I am unable to do it, and I guess Eddie Van Halen cannot. Not for an hour!”.[33] This system was additionally very influential on new wave of British heavy metallic bands reminiscent of Iron Maiden. His type has additionally been an affect on many different rock bands, in addition to on thrash metallic performers reminiscent of James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Scott Ian of Anthrax.[43] Guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert has cited Johnny Ramone as certainly one of his influences.


Johnny was one of many few conservatives within the punk rock group and was a staunch supporter of the Republican Celebration. He made his political affiliation identified to the world in 2002 when the Ramones had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame. After thanking all who made the honour doable—clad in his trademark T-shirt, ripped blue denims and leather-based jacket—he stated “God bless President Bush, and God bless America”.[44] He stated in an interview, when questioned on his conservatism, “I believe Ronald Reagan was the most effective President of my lifetime.” This was evident when the band launched the UK single “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” in 1985; Johnny pressed for a reputation change, discovering the title insulting to Reagan, and the track was retitled on American releases as “My Mind Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg)” after a line from the track’s refrain. On this identical interview he claimed that “Punk is true wing”.[45]

Johnny is quoted by The Observer as saying: “Folks drift in the direction of liberalism at a younger age, and I all the time hope they alter after they see how the world actually is.”[46]

Private life

Johnny’s early maturity was marked by bouts of delinquency which he said had been inexplicable on the time. “I did not develop into a delinquent till I bought out of highschool. I had a two-year run. I would exit and hit children and take their cash and rob all people’s pocketbooks. Simply being unhealthy each minute of the day. It was horrible. I do not know what my downside was. Issues that had been humorous to me on the time had been horrible… At about 20 years previous, I ended consuming and doing medication, bought a job and tried to be regular.”[47]

In 1983, Ramone was severely injured in a struggle with Seth Macklin of the band Sub Zero Development.[48][49] He was saved by emergency mind surgical procedure. This incident was stated to have impressed the following album’s title, Too Robust to Die.[citation needed]

Ramone married his spouse, Linda, in 1984 on the workplace of the town clerk in New York Metropolis. She had initially dated Joey Ramone, however left him for Johnny.[50][51] Joey and Johnny continued to tour because the Ramones after this, however their relationship worsened. Nevertheless, regardless of stories that they’d stopped speaking to one another altogether, Johnny talks fondly of Joey in his e book Commando. Years later, when Joey was within the hospital dying of lymphoma, Johnny refused to phone him. Johnny later mentioned this incident within the movie Finish of the Century: The Story of the Ramones, saying an try at such a reunion would have been futile. He did add that he was depressed for per week after Joey’s demise. When pressed, he acknowledged that this was due to the bond cast by the band. Of their street supervisor Monte Melnick’s e book about his time with the Ramones, Johnny is quoted as having stated, “I am not doing something with out him. I felt that was it. He was my companion. Me and him. I miss that.”[citation needed]

Ramone was Catholic. Although he thought of himself non secular, he didn’t attend church resulting from bodily abuse he suffered by the hands of nuns as a teen.[52]

Ramone was an avid collector of baseball playing cards and film posters.[53]


Ramone’s monument at Hollywood Endlessly Cemetery

On September 15, 2004, Johnny Ramone died in his Los Angeles house on the age of 55, 23 days earlier than his 56th birthday, following a five-year battle with prostate most cancers.[1][54] Lots of his mates and musical contemporaries got here to pay their respects. His spouse Linda saved his ashes, although there’s a cenotaph monument to Ramone at Hollywood Endlessly cemetery in Hollywood, California.[55]

Posthumous honors

Previous to Johnny’s demise in 2004, Arturo Vega had instructed a monument to Johnny. “I instructed some sort of monument … He agreed straight away. The monument was my thought; the statue was his thought,” relayed Vega.[56] Shortly after Johnny’s demise, his spouse Linda oversaw the creation and erection of an 8 ft tall bronze memorial statue of Johnny on the Hollywood Endlessly Cemetery in Los Angeles.[57] It was designed by Wayne Toth, primarily based on a present given by Rob Zombie, and was unveiled at a ceremony coordinated by Linda on January 14, 2005.[55] Lots of Johnny and Linda’s mates spoke on the ceremony, together with Zombie, Nicolas Cage, Eddie Vedder, Tommy Ramone, C.J. Ramone, Vincent Gallo, John Frusciante, Seymour Stein, Pete Yorn and others.

In 2006, the remake of the horror movie The Wicker Man was devoted to Johnny Ramone’s reminiscence, as he was an in depth buddy of the movie’s producer and star, Nicolas Cage. The lyrics for Pearl Jam’s 2006 single “Life Wasted” had been written by Eddie Vedder in honor of Johnny Ramone whereas driving house from his funeral.[58] Pearl Jam additionally made their first video in eight years for this track.

Rolling Stone ranked Johnny Ramone sixteenth on its 2009 record of the Best Guitarists of All Time.[59] That yr, Time journal included him on its record of the “10 Greatest Electrical Guitarists of All Time”.[60]

An annual Johnny Ramone memorial is held yearly in Hollywood Endlessly Cemetery.[61] The Annual Johnny Ramone Tribute is introduced by Linda Ramone and is held as a profit for the Johnny Ramone most cancers analysis fund which is led by Dr. David Agus on the USC Westside prostate most cancers analysis middle.[62] The occasions have been attended by celebrities reminiscent of Vincent Gallo, Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley, Purple Sizzling Chili Peppers, Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Billie Joe Armstrong, Duff McKagan,[63] Rob Zombie,[63] Kirk Hammett,[64] Steve Jones, and Traci Lords.[65] Further celebrities who’ve taken half within the occasions embody John Waters, Rose McGowan, Henry Rollins and Johnny Depp.[66]

Lisa Marie Presley recorded a canopy of the Ramones’ track “Right here In the present day, Gone Tomorrow” on her 2005 album Now What. She printed within the liner notes of the CD:

5 years in the past, Johnny Ramone picked me to sing Right here In the present day, Gone Tomorrow. He needed me to sing it on a Ramones tribute report the place lots of his mates and different artists had been masking his songs. Johnny was certainly one of my greatest mates, and I promised him earlier than he handed away that I would come with that track on my report. He was very sick however needed to play the guitar on it so long as he was sitting down. Sadly, whereas we had been recording the fundamental observe, he died.

  • Official web site Edit this at Wikidata
  • Johnny Ramone at IMDb
  • Johnny Ramone at Discover a Grave

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