Pandora Blog

40 Years of Ramones

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ramones’ self-titled debut album, we created a mixtape featuring Ramones, artists who’ve been influenced by the Ramones and a few other surprises. Listen now.

April 23rd marks the 40-year anniversary for the Ramones’ 1976 eponymous debut album – an album that four decades later, is widely known to be responsible for popularizing punk rock and inspiring countless other records.

Like all good rock ‘n’ roll should, Ramones confused and angered most parents. From the opening song “Blitzkrieg Bop,” the music was immediately loud, fast and hard driving, featuring aggressive gang vocals that commanded, “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!” Throughout these 14 songs, lanky frontman Joey Ramone sang irreverent lyrics about sniffing glue, street hustling, adolescent isolation, domestic violence, teenage lust and a fictional sock-hop inspired dance that involved lampooning the Nazi marches of the Third Reich.

Brian Eno once said that everyone who bought a copy of The Velvet Underground’s first album started a band. The Ramones’ debut album had a similar ripple effect that’s still being felt today. After its 1976 release, bands started playing shorter, faster, catchier songs at breakneck tempos. You can hear the Ramones’ penchant for contrasting Phil Spector-tinged bubblegum melodies with hard driving, Chuck Berry (by way of MC5) inspired, riff-rock in subsequent recordings by MisfitsThe DamnedBuzzcocks and The Dictators. Without the Ramones bands like The Real Kids and The Donnas would sound (and look) totally different today – and other bands like Nirvana and The Strokes might never have happened.

Listen to Ramones today and you just might discover the subtle influences of ‘60s girl groups like The Ronettes and The Shangri-Las or the brilliant contrast of teenybopper melodies (think Tommy James & The Shondells or even Bay City Rollers) locking horns with the garage-punk energy of such predecessors as The Stooges and The New York Dolls. Like many seminal albums, this one works its magic on you with repeated listens. And in 40 years, each of these songs, from this unsuspecting self-titled debut album, has burned it’s way into the collective consciousness of rock ’n’ roll.