Famous for short, fast and loud rock songs like "Beat on the Brat" and "I Wanna Be Sedated," The Ramones were one of the first punk bands of the 1970s. The band was created in 1974, with all band members taking the surname Ramone. (It was said to be a takeoff of Paul Ramon, a pseudonym once used by Paul McCartney
.) The original Ramones line-up included: vocalist Joey
(b. Jeff Hyman, 19 May 1951); guitarist Johnny (b. John Cummings, 8 October 1951); bassist Dee Dee (b. Douglas Colvin, 18 September 1952); and drummer Tommy (Tom Erdelyi, b. 29 January 1952). They performed in New York City nightclubs along with other legendary bands such as Blondie, The Talking Heads and Television, and were among the first to get a record contract. The band's eponymous debut album, released in 1976, is considered a classic of the punk genre and set the standard of simple pop songs delivered with raw energy. Although The Ramones never achieved mainstream financial success, they released 21 live and studio albums, had a devoted fan base and influenced countless bands, from The Clash and The Sex Pistols to Green Day and The Offspring. Their albums include Rocket to Russia
(1977), End of the Century
(1980, produced by Phil Spector), Brain Drain
(1989) and Adios, Amigos
(1995). Some of their best-known songs are "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" and "The KKK Took My Baby Away." In 1978 drummer Tommy was replaced by Marky (b. Marc Bell, 15 July 1956), who in 1983 was replaced by Richie (b. Richard Reinhardt, 11 August 1957), but returned to the band in 1987. Bassist Dee Dee left the band in 1989 and was replaced by C.J. (b. Christopher John Ward, 8 October 1965). The band officially broke up in 1996. Joey died of cancer in 2001, Dee Dee died of a drug overdose in 2002 and Johnny died of cancer in 2004. The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.