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1-2-3-4... and yet all the Eagles are still alive
July 12, 2014 3:30 AM   Subscribe

The last remaining member of seminal 1970s New York punk act, Tommy Ramone, has died, aged 65.

Why not catch up with The Ramones: End of the Century, Joey Ramone - A Wonderful Life, Too Tough To Die, remember that they at least outlasted CBGBs? Or enjoy some classic video clips?

It is the very end of a classic band, so why not enjoy them live from 1978? 1996? Or their last concert ever 1-2-3?

The Ramones were (finally) inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

Maybe he's reclining on the eternal Rockaway Beach?
posted by Mezentian (95 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by bouvin at 3:33 AM on July 12


Not at all glad to see you go go go go.

Like their songs, none of them lasted very long. And with Tommy, yet another little piece of my youth dies too.
posted by Decani at 3:34 AM on July 12 [9 favorites]


In passing, he joins Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman, who died in 2001), guitarist Johnny Ramone (John Cummings, 2004), and bassist Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin, 2002) in an afterlife reunion.
posted by Mezentian at 3:42 AM on July 12 [7 favorites]


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posted by Captain_Science at 3:44 AM on July 12


. . . .
posted by gingerest at 3:51 AM on July 12 [8 favorites]


What I didn't know until it was too late: as Tom Erdelyi, he did studio work, producing albums for The Replacements, Redd Kross, and The Ramones in the eighties (after being replaced by Marky). Pre-Ramones, among the things he apparently worked on were some Jimi Hendrix sessions.
posted by ardgedee at 3:56 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


It's the end, the end of the 70's
It's the end, the end of the century

Do you remember lying in bed
With your covers pulled up over your head?
Radio playin', so no one can see

We need change, we need it fast
Before rock's just part of the past
'Cause lately it all sounds the same to me, oh oh

posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:00 AM on July 12 [21 favorites]


Some days it's like the 70s were last week. Other days, today for instance, you get reminded that they were a very long time ago indeed.
posted by tommasz at 4:25 AM on July 12 [7 favorites]


Gabba Gabba Hey.


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posted by Thorzdad at 4:26 AM on July 12


Tommy Ramone's death made the home page of today's Wall Street Journal, locked away behind the Murdoch media paywall. There's so much wrong with that, and not just the paywall part.
posted by grounded at 4:29 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]


Can't believe they're all gone. That band meant so much to me. Sad day.

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posted by davebush at 4:29 AM on July 12


Hey ho, let's go!
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impossible to realize that The Ramones are a thing of the past. When I talk about this with my kids, they give me the same off-focus look I gave my father when he talked about Bill Haley. Getting old sucks on days like this.
posted by ouke at 4:29 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]


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posted by Kinbote at 4:36 AM on July 12


Their debut album finally went gold earlier this year, 38 years after the release.
posted by effbot at 4:41 AM on July 12 [10 favorites]


I can't believe this is the fourth time I'm saying "way too soon" in reference to the Ramones. Along with being a great drummer and producer, Tommy was just an incredibly cool guy. In interviews he was always insightful, grounded, and just seemed so kind and likable.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:42 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


I was in town recently wearing my black Ramones T-shirt, with the name and logo, and I saw a 3 year old boy in the exact same t-shirt. It was very strange.

Truly an era has passed away.

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posted by marienbad at 4:55 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


Wow. RIP, Tommy.
posted by jonmc at 4:57 AM on July 12


In passing, he joins Joey Ramone (Jeffrey Hyman, who died in 2001), guitarist Johnny Ramone (John Cummings, 2004), and bassist Dee Dee Ramone (Douglas Colvin, 2002) in an afterlife reunion.

I can hear them welcome him now.

Gabba Gabba.
We accept you.
We accept you.
One of us.
Gabba Gabba.
We accept you.
Gabba Gabba.
Hey.
posted by Paul Slade at 5:00 AM on July 12 [11 favorites]


Robert Christgau's fantastic essay about Joey Ramone from 2004 (the quote is from Marky):

But the deepest innovator in this rhythm band with tunes on top was Tommy and his brand new beat: "Tommy basically played eighth-notes across, with the 'one' on the bass and the 'two' on the snare, constant eighth-notes on the high-hat. Playing fast with eighth-notes constantly--a lot of people try it, but they get sloppy and can't keep up."
posted by Luminiferous Ether at 5:09 AM on July 12 [5 favorites]


End of an era indeed.

Their music remains instantly identifiable, much more so than a lot of bands, and I think they were intriguingly smart, musically.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:10 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


One of my Dad's favourite stories from when he was a freewheeling youngster was when he went to see Black Sabbath, and the Ramones opened for them.

Apparently, there wasn't time to for all the metalheads to boo them off the stage, because the 30-minute set went like this:

"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
LOUD SONG
"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
LOUD SONG
Repeat as needed for 30 minutes.

I figure the afterlife is just like that.

St. Peter: "So...the Ra-"
"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
"You gu-"
"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
"Ye-"
"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
posted by Katemonkey at 5:13 AM on July 12 [24 favorites]


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posted by oneironaut at 5:16 AM on July 12


3 out of 4 to cancer. That's a pretty fucked up percentage.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:23 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


This was hard news to wake up to.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:41 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


The Ramones will never ever die.

--Peter Ramone
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:51 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


Well, crud.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:11 AM on July 12


"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
LOUD SONG
"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
LOUD SONG
Repeat as needed for 30 minutes.


Except, that is a very weak description of a Ramones show. My experience was more like...

"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
LOUD SONG TWICE AS FAST AND TWICE AS HARD AS THE RECORD.
"ONE TWO THREE FOUR"
LOUD SONG TWICE AS FAST AND TWICE AS HARD AS THE RECORD.
Repeat as needed for 30 minutes.

Going to a Ramones show was like being hit by an unrelenting, supercharged buzzsaw wall of sound. And it was glorious.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:14 AM on July 12 [19 favorites]


My greatest regret (musically, after actually seeing the Sisters of Mercy) is not seeingbthe Ramones live.

I did see Marky's Blitzkireg, which is close, but not the same.
posted by Mezentian at 6:18 AM on July 12 [3 favorites]


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So sad. I'm playing the first album right now in his honor. I miss those guys.
posted by Aznable at 6:19 AM on July 12


To make sure I take my medication evry night, I have an alarm set on my phone. It's I Wanna Be Sedated. Every now and then, I'll be out in public when it goes off, and people will turn around with the hugest grins on their faces.

Sleep sweet, Tommy.

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posted by MissySedai at 6:24 AM on July 12 [14 favorites]


Black Sabbath, and the Ramones opened for them

Wow - that sounds so odd. I can't imagine any promoter thinking that could work, unless is was some big festival gig. Where was this show?
posted by davebush at 6:24 AM on July 12




Out of all of the covers in the "Album Covers without the Dead Musicians" gallery, the one that saddened me/freaked me out the most was the first Ramones album cover with just Tommy. Now it's even more surreal and depressing.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:35 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


. for Tommy.

That said, the "Eagles are still alive" framing of this post is like school in the summertime.
posted by jbickers at 6:37 AM on July 12 [7 favorites]




I did get to see the Ramones live, but with Marky instead of Tommy. Marky Ramone was no slouch of a drummer himself and in fact was a pro before becoming their second drummer, but in the excellent Ramones bio End of the Century he talks about how difficult it was to teach himself how to play as fast and as hard as Tommy (who had no professional training on the drums before) did on those first three albums.

Also, in regards to the comments about how they are all now reunited, I bet the reunion could have only taken place with Tommy there, since it sounds like he really was the one that brought them all together in the first place. RIP Tommy, and the Ramones.
posted by Curious Artificer at 6:41 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


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posted by readery at 6:59 AM on July 12


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posted by oceanjesse at 7:04 AM on July 12


Life-changing. Still. Always.

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posted by Room 641-A at 7:04 AM on July 12


A friend suggested that in the early days the Ramones must have rehearsed in an old asbestos factory with a gas leak.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:09 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


They were the first band I discovered on my own, when I saw Rock N Roll High School on cable when I was 8. The only bands I've loved longer are the Beatles and The Monkees.

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posted by bibliogrrl at 7:11 AM on July 12 [4 favorites]


Smithers, have the Rolling Stones killed.
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on July 12 [23 favorites]


From yesterday's Music Vault link Ramones - '78 - Winterland

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. (but loud. really loud.)
posted by DigDoug at 7:31 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]



posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 7:41 AM on July 12


Tommy was the brains behind the band in the beginning. He took Joey off drums, made him the singer in the middle of the stage, with Johnny and Dee Dee flanking him, and then took on drumming himself. He knew how visually striking they'd be this way. And the band remained in this formation for their whole career. I always liked his drumming the best too. It suited their sound perfectly.

RIP Tommy Ramone
posted by ChuckRamone at 7:50 AM on July 12 [9 favorites]


Tommy's insights in the book The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB are fascinating and wonderful (well, apart from Johnny's Nazi collection). He also produced the best Replacements album, Tim.

Godspeed, dude.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:53 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


I requested "Rock 'n' Roll High School" at the roller rink two days ago and I want to confirm it sounded great. The Ramones still pass every test.
posted by argybarg at 7:55 AM on July 12 [5 favorites]


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RIP Tommy
posted by cazoo at 8:02 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Bob Lefsetz, a music industry blogger had this to say about Tommy's death:



Who'da thunk they'd all be dead but their music would live on?

Certainly not anybody who came across their debut in the bins back in '76. With its black and white cover and music so contrary to what was happening as to be almost incomprehensible, or a joke.

But despite having a great sense of humor, the Ramones were no joke. They were fans. They were every suburbanite's dream. They hewed to their ethos until the very end, until the world caught up with them.

That's right, the Ramones never had a hit. But now their music is played in stadiums, babies wear their t-shirts. Proving the greatest artists have a plan and stick to it.

Not only were the Ramones not art rock, overblown like Yes and Genesis, they never went disco, they never cut corners, they were just...originals.

Credit Hilly Kristal, for giving them a place to play.

Credit Danny Fields for guidance.

Credit Seymour Stein for giving them a deal.

It's easy to be me-too, it's hard to be an original.

And Tommy was an original Ramone. One can argue that by time he was gone, it was all over. Yup, Tommy coproduced "Road To Ruin" with Ed Stasium after relinquishing the drum chair to Marky, and after that the band started looking for an elusive hit as opposed to being just them.

And they were themselves from the very beginning, one can argue they emerged fully-formed, their debut opened with the legendary "Blitzkrieg Bop" and segued into "Beat on the Brat," that's what you do with a baseball bat, right?

"Leave Home" had the legendary "Carbona Not Glue," featuring the pastime of the bored and misdirected.

And then came the second masterpiece, "Rocket To Russia." How could it be that a band from Queens could do the Beach Boys better than the originals? Joey had that nasal sound and there were more hooks in "Rockaway Beach" than not only those contained in the works of the SoCal surfers, but many of those on the hit parade. Come on, an ode to a local haunt that required no pilgrimage, but was part of the DNA of the locals?

And it was on "Rocket To Russia" that we learned that Sheena was a punk rocker.

And on "Road To Ruin" was the band's apotheosis, "I Wanna Be Sedated."

They say that everybody who bought the first Velvet Underground album started a band. I won't debate that, but I will say that many more bought "Ramones" and picked up instruments and formed groups. Because if the Ramones could, so could they. Especially in England, where punk flourished first, after being started in NYC by the Ramones and getting no traction in the USA. So most people in the hinterlands were first exposed to punk via the Sex Pistols, but Johnny Rotten, et al, were inspired by the Ramones.

The Ramones were a constant reinforcement that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously, that two minutes was enough for a song, and that first and foremost rock should be fun, you remember fun, don't you?

And now they're all gone.

I saw 'em. At the Whisky. Because despite their rep, the halls were never big.

I met Tommy only once, and he was surprisingly normal. He had a hip affect, most musicians do, but he was approachable, no different from the guy who sat in the back of the room in high school math.

So let's pause for a toast to a band of originals. Who didn't die in a plane crash, but met their demise just the same. Was there something in those vans, something that caused all of their lives to be cut short?

We'll never know.

But they're getting the last laugh, because with every passing year their legend grows, they only get bigger.

posted by 724A at 8:03 AM on July 12 [10 favorites]


"Rockaway Beach" has got one of my favorite drum fills of all time, and it's just four quarter notes.
Also, here's a graph I made about the Ramones a while back
posted by Jon_Evil at 8:13 AM on July 12 [10 favorites]


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The Ramones saved Rock 'N' Roll.
posted by Renoroc at 8:16 AM on July 12 [6 favorites]


When I see the 5 o'clock news, I don't wanna grow up

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posted by obscure simpsons reference at 8:17 AM on July 12


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posted by vibrotronica at 8:21 AM on July 12


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posted by litlnemo at 8:40 AM on July 12


Lefsetz's tribute was terrific.

The Buzzcocks and The Ramones -- two quintessential bands who taught me that punk was not only brilliant, irreverent, and accessible, but also damn fun. I was a college freshman with a very limited musical palette and these two bands (along with a bunch of others -- Sex Pistols of course among them) blew me away when I was introduced to them. It wasn't a drug experience, but it was close.
posted by blucevalo at 9:13 AM on July 12


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posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 9:21 AM on July 12




The end of an era. I'm too young for the bands I was in in high school to have been inspired by The Velvet Underground (well, we were, but not contemporaneously), but we sure as hell were inspired by The Ramones.

I'll have to watch Rock and Roll High School in commemoration.
posted by Gelatin at 9:48 AM on July 12


I fear an awful fear that the universe has its eye set on Devo next.
posted by item at 10:08 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


The last time I saw them was in 1988, and the Dickies opened. Condensation was dripping off the ceiling before the Ramones even started. I really can't wrap my head around the fact that that was a quarter of a century ago. RIP, Tommy.

Thank god for little all-ages clubs having punk shows when I was a kid. I don't know what teenagers do these days.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:15 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


I watched an interview with Lux and Ivy of The Cramps years ago on Much Music in which Lux said that it was his opinion that working in a genre of music that you like and finding new ways to compose in that genre shows much more musical integrity than changing sounds every album to match whatever happens to be popular right now. The Ramones were the same and they never bowed either.
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:22 AM on July 12


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posted by Joey Michaels at 10:22 AM on July 12


Because it took me down a path towards a new way of looking at the world, I consider the first Ramones album the single most important thing I've ever purchased in my life.
posted by davebush at 10:40 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Oh, man. That makes me sad.

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posted by batmonkey at 10:45 AM on July 12


I fear an awful fear that the universe has its eye set on Devo next.

NO! You will not take my GVC away from me! Nor Bob 1 nor Mark. If you want to take Bob Lewis, be my guest. :)

RIP, Tommy Ramone.
posted by luckynerd at 10:49 AM on July 12


Every time a Ramone dies, an angel loses its hearing.

....
posted by scody at 11:01 AM on July 12 [24 favorites]


The Ramones all originate from Forest Hills and kids who grew up there either became musicians, degenerates or dentists. The Ramones are a little of each. Their sound is not unlike a fast drill on a rear molar.

From the band's first bio, written by Johnny in 1975.

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posted by Spatch at 11:12 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


(Er, Tommy wrote the bio, not Johnny. Realized my mistake after the edit window closed. Curses!)

Here is Tommy ripping it up on California Sun.
posted by Spatch at 11:22 AM on July 12


Thank god for little all-ages clubs having punk shows when I was a kid. I don't know what teenagers do these days.

They write blog posts/tweets/whatever denouncing us for being very old fashioned, and there's no reason why they shouldn't. But, yes, bless those clubs.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:32 AM on July 12


Old. ::sigh::

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posted by Splunge at 11:53 AM on July 12


I am much too young to have ever seen the Ramones play live, CBGBs closed it's doors before I could ever see a show there, but I still feel like the Ramones were an important part of my teenage years.
posted by inertia at 12:10 PM on July 12


I'm shedding defiant tears. Wearing my Ramones t-shirt, chucks, and ripped jeans. Dancing around my room blasting "I'm not afraid of life" and "I believe in miracles".

I saw the Ramones four times, once at CBGB. I was always smashed against the stage, and I have the hearing loss to prove it. What a joyous onslaught it was.

Rest in noise, boys.
posted by mondo dentro at 12:17 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


I think it's sad, yet somehow appropriate that the last remaining Ramone died of cancer of the bile duct.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:30 PM on July 12


My first love of punk all gone...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 1:45 PM on July 12


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posted by From Bklyn at 2:20 PM on July 12


........ . . ........ . .
(to the tune of Blitzkrieg Bop)
posted by dry white toast at 4:53 PM on July 12


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posted by mygothlaundry at 5:08 PM on July 12


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posted by droplet at 5:36 PM on July 12


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posted by Gotanda at 6:11 PM on July 12


I don't know what teenagers do these days.

Tweet endlessly about 5 Seconds of Summer, with specific Twitter accounts that the max out daily trying to get a follow in the hopes of being friends.

I can't attest to the quality of their music, having never heard it, but I doubt it carries on much in the way of any sort of legacy from the Ramones.

This story popped up the day before Tommy died, and was in the same spot on the Guardian homepage. I have seen images of one of them wearing a Ramones T-shirt, but given they have been selling Ramones T-shirts in K-Mart for at least 10 years I hope to hell the Ramones got a slice of that cash.

Somehow seeing Ramones and Siouxsie shirts in a big department store annoys me more than the Ramones lullabye CD.
posted by Mezentian at 6:32 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


Today I will beat on a brat (with a baseball bat) in his honour.
posted by mazola at 7:37 PM on July 12


Is this the first instance in the rock era of all original/classic members of a group dying?
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 7:58 PM on July 12


All I gotta say is that they mic'd those crash cymbals to perfection in the album, Ramones. They probably overdubbed them afterwards - they'd be bleeding into everything! Those albums should be studied for, "How to play drums" for real. Could you imagine the Ramones with a sloppy drummer?



Anyways, as a cymbal player, I salute you, Tommy. Joey was awkward, Johnny was too conservative, Dee Dee took too many drugs but you Tommy - you were just *cool*.
posted by alex_skazat at 9:44 PM on July 12


My friends Mouse got all 4 original Ramones tattooed on his chest oh... I guess about 22 years ago?

As each has died, he has the newly deceased "zombified" on his tatted version: green skin, rotting sores, etc.

I think the guys would find his double tribute humorous, like so much of their breakneck, 2 minutes and 15 seconds singles.

....
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:57 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


I came across this super early 1974 CBGBs clip looking for proper mourning clips this morning. Tommy starts an argument about what to play after the first song, it's pretty cute.
posted by anazgnos at 12:44 AM on July 13 [3 favorites]




In 1979 I was working as a waitress at a small club. We took turns serving the bands backstage because it could either result in a windfall tip or an uncompensated timesuck of massive clean-up duty. The bands typically specified what they wanted vis-a-vis drinks and snacks; the latter ran heavily to deli platters. During the sound check the Ramones' staff, however, conveyed that the band would also like us to provide about 6 dozen bananas. No further explanation was provided. After the show, we discovered that some were eaten but most had been tossed around as toys.

A few months later, minus Tommy, the Ramones released the controversial album End of the Century, produced by Phil Spector with an eye towards broadening the audience and generating hits. One song, This Ain't Havana, includes the lyrics

(Ba-ba-banana)
This ain't Havana
Do you like bananas
(Ba-ba-bananas)

I always wondered whether the banana thing at the club was some kind of inside joke, but I never found out. RIP
posted by carmicha at 3:41 PM on July 13 [3 favorites]


Zorak Ramone is still with us.
posted by jbickers at 5:05 PM on July 13


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posted by mike3k at 8:39 PM on July 13


We now live in a world where Abe Vigoda is alive and the Ramones are dead.
posted by mike3k at 8:40 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


....

I think I might head over to Hollywood Forever cemetery this week to check on Dee Dee and Johnny. For old times sake.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:06 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Is this the first instance in the rock era of all original/classic members of a group dying?

I think the Jimi Hendrix Experience might be the only other other one (Hendrix died in 1970; Noel Redding died in 2003; Mitch Mitchell died in 2008). Which seems a little counterintuitive -- at first I thought there had to be other groups where everyone from the classic lineup has died, at least from the '50s rock'n'roll/doo-wop era. But every group I can think of where it might be plausible (e.g., the Coasters, the Cadillacs, the Crickets, the Comets -- what was it with "C" names, by the way?) has at least one original member still alive.

Big Star and Badfinger each have only one surviving member (Jody Stephens and Joey Molland, respectively).
posted by scody at 9:32 PM on July 13


Oh, I didn't realize Noel and Mitch were no longer with us.
posted by paleyellowwithorange at 10:54 PM on July 13


"My friends Mouse got all 4 original Ramones tattooed on his chest oh... I guess about 22 years ago? As each has died, he has the newly deceased "zombified" on his tatted version: green skin, rotting sores, etc."

Could Mouse be persuaded put a photo of this tattoo online somewhere for us? Because I would LOVE to see that.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:20 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]



posted by Smart Dalek at 5:48 PM on July 15


Paul Slade, I looked online FOREVER and begged a mutual friend for evidence of said tattoos, but this blurry shot's the best I could do.
My friend is pretty camera-averse, especially shirtless.

He's totally going to kill me if he ever finds this... if you look closely, you'll see what looks like a "blank spot" on his left, uh, breast area? oh god oh god I'm so sorry mouse please don't get mad

That place is Tommy's empty outline, which will soon be filled in with zombie-green flesh to match the other undead Ramones (RIP, guys).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:24 PM on July 22


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