On This Day...

Madhouse History

On This Day in Madhouse History
April 23, 1976

The Ramones release their debut album, "The Ramones". 

Ramones peaked at number 111 on the US Billboard 200 and was unsuccessful commercially, though it received glowing reviews from critics. ("Disco Duck" was the number one song of 1976). Many later deemed it a highly influential record, and it has since received many accolades, such as the top spot on Spin magazine's list of the "50 Most Essential Punk Records". Ramones is considered an influential punk album in the US and UK, and had a significant impact on other genres of rock music, such as grunge and heavy metal. The album was ranked at number 33 in Rolling Stone's 2012 list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and was finally certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2014. 

The Ramones began recording in January 1976, needing only seven days and $6,400 to record the album.

The album cover, photographed by Punk magazine's Roberta Bayley, features the four members leaning against a brick wall of a private community garden called Albert's Garden, located in the Bowery neighborhood of New York City between Bowery Street and Second Street. The record company paid only $125 for the front photo, which has since become one of the most imitated album covers of all time. The back cover depicts an eagle belt buckle along with the album's liner notes. After its release, Ramones was promoted with two singles which failed to chart.
Violence, drug use, relationship issues, humor, and Nazism were prominent in the album's lyrics. The album opens with "Blitzkrieg Bop", which is among the band's most recognized songs. The songs are blazing fast and short. 2 minutes of pure joy. Catchy, infectious songs with a great tongue in cheek sense of humor. The album's length is 29 minutes and four seconds and it contains 14 tracks.

Written solely by Dee Dee, the lyrics of "53rd and 3rd" concern a male prostitute, waiting at the corner of 53rd Street and Third Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. When the prostitute gets a customer, he kills the customer with a razor to prove he is not a homosexual. In interviews, Dee Dee described the piece as autobiographical. "The song speaks for itself," Dee Dee commented in an interview. "Everything I write is autobiographical and written in a very real way, I can't even write." Johnny insisted that the song is about "Dee Dee turning tricks." The half-sung and half-shouted bridge in "53rd and 3rd" are performed by Dee Dee, whose voice is described by author Cyrus Patell as what "breaks the deliberate aural monotony of the song and emphasizes the violence of the lyric.

When the [Ramones] hit the street in 1976 with their self-titled first album, the rock scene, in general, had become somewhat bloated and narcissistic. The Ramones got back to basics: simple, speedy, stripped-down rock and roll songs. Voice, guitar, bass, drums. No makeup, no egos, no light shows, no nonsense. And though the subject matter was sometimes dark, emanating from a sullen adolescent basement of the mind, the group also brought cartoonish fun and high-energy excitement back to rock and roll. These 4 boys put Queens, NYC on the map. 

"The Ramones" is definitely one of the finest debut albums ever recorded. If we as a civilization survive for 10 million more years, there will never be an album recorded that can match "The Ramones" originality, humor, and damn good music! 

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