Friday, June 8, 2012

Rock 'N' Roll High School

The Ramones, Chateau Neuf, Oslo, Norway [Helge Overas]
This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band the Ramones, and the song "Rock 'N' Roll High School."

The Ramones were an American rock band that formed in 1974 in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, near Queens. Many music critics give them the distinction as being the first punk rock band. Despite achieving only limited commercial success, the band had a large influence on the punk rock movement both in the United States and across the pond in the United Kingdom.

All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname "Ramone", though none of them were actually related. They performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for a total of 22 years. In 1996, after touring with the Lollapalooza music festival, the band played a farewell concert went their separate ways. Little more than eight years after the breakup, the band's three founding members, lead singer Joey Ramone, guitarist Johnny Ramone, and bassist Dee Dee Ramone, had passed away.

The band's logo, based on the Seal of the President of the United States
Their only record with enough U.S. sales to be certified gold was the compilation album Ramones Mania. However, since then the band has been recognized for it's influence over the years, and they are now cited in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as the Rolling Stone list of the 50 Greatest Artists of All Time and VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. In 2002, the Ramones were listed as the second-greatest band of all time in Spin magazine, trailing only The Beatles. On March 18, 2002, the Ramones, including the three founders and drummers Tommy and Marky Ramone, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Ramones' musical style was loud, fast and straightforward, and was highly influenced by the pop music that the band members grew up listening to in the 1950s and 1960s. The band that were of most influence to their musical style included such groups as: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Kinks, and The Rolling Stones; bubblegum acts like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and Ohio Express; and girl groups such as The Ronettes and The Shangri-Las. They also drew some of their style from the harder rock sound of The Stooges and the New York Dolls. The Ramones' style was in part a reaction against the heavily produced music that was dominating the pop charts in the 1970s. "We decided to start our own group because we were bored with everything we heard," Joey once explained. "In 1974 everything was tenth-generation Led Zeppelin, tenth-generation Elton John, or overproduced, or just junk. Everything was long jams, long guitar solos.... We missed music like it used to be."

My favorite Ramones song is, "Rock 'N' Roll High School." The song "Rock 'N' Roll High School" was on the album, End of the Century. End of the Century was the fifth studio album recorded by The Ramones. It was released on February 4, 1980 and was produced by Phil Spector. Vocalist Joey Ramone was an avid fan of Spector's early work, most notably Let It Be by The Beatles. In an attempt to achieve a Top 40 record and gain some mainstream acceptance, the songs on this album are more "produced" and longer in duration, averaging around three minutes.

End of the Century achieved a top 50 placement, reaching number 44 on the US Billboard 200 chart, and number 14 on the UK Albums Chart. This made it the band's highest-charting album in both countries.

And now, for your listening pleasure, "Rock 'N' Roll High School!"


1 comment:

  1. Good news! I actually know this band and song :) Excellent choice for Retro Friday. And btw, I missed not having a R.F. to read last Friday. But this one makes up for it. Thanks Lisa.