The Ramones

Widely considered the first punk rock group, Ramones never won mass approval but maintained a fierce cult following right through from the mid-1970s until they finally disbanded in 1996 after more than two decades of almost non-stop touring. The group had their beginnings in high school garage band Tangerine Puppets, gradually evolving into the characteristic thrash style of Ramones, with each member adopting the surname Ramone even though non of them were related. They first built their exceptional live reputation with rapid-tempo performances at New York's CBGB's Club, where the energetically sleazy style of singer Dee Dee Ramone in particular triggered a succession of primitive soundalike bands. They released their self-titled debut album in 1976 and the singles 'Blitzkrieg Bop' and 'I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend' helped to establish them as pioneers of the new punk movement. 'Sheena Is a Punk Rocker' was their biggest hit, but their calling card was 'Pinhead' with its repetitive trademark chant of "gabba gabba hey". Phil Spector produced their 1980 album 'End of the Century' but the softer approach didn't go down too well with hardcore fans and the band gradually returned to the rawness for which they were best known. 1981 saw the saw the release of 'Pleasant Dreams', a decidedly more metal album than any that came before. 'Subterranean Jungle' and the removal of drummer Marky Ramone came in 1983, with replacement Richie brought in to take his place. Richie's first recording as a Ramone was 1984's 'Too Young to Die' which critics noted marked a much-needed return to their original sound. Disheartened by the rest of the band's failure to acknowledge him as an equal partner, after five years Richie left, leaving the band without a drummer. After a very brief fill-in by Clem Burke of Blondie, Marky Ramone returned to complete the original line-up. During the recording of 'Brain Drain' in 1988, Dee Dee announced that personal troubles were causing him to rethink his place in the band and, shortly after, he was replaced by Christopher Joseph Ward (C.J. Ramone). In 1995 they released their final album '¬°Adios Amigos!' and embarked on a farewell tour, officially disbanding in 1996.

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