Rating The Ramones: Could Johnny Ramone Be Right?
Leafing through New York magazine, I came across an excerpt from Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone, likely the book of the season for old punks not yet dead. Featured alongside the excerpt was a sidebar where Johnny rated the Ramones albums as he heard fit, with a few comments as well. You'll have to buy the book to read Johnny's thoughts, but I have included his grades here, along with my own feelings about each album, which are less biased, since I never had a falling out with Joey Ramone.
I never had a falling in with him either, so my professional distance is assured.
It should also be noted that Joey Ramone passed away 11 years ago this past April 15. May all the Ramones who have passed rest in peace and may those still alive live peacefully.
Listening through, especially to those in the lower depths, I'm struck by how listenable and likable most of it is. Truthfully, I'm more inclined to listen to those much-maligned albums than the classics at the top of the list. Only because the early records are worn out on my brain like so many old Rolling Stones albums. Let that be a lesson kids! Don't wear your records out. Ration your listening pleasure! Or else!
Lest my grades make you think I'm an easy grader, trust me, if this had been the Eric Clapton catalog things would've gone very differently.
Johnny Ramone: B- Loser at Yahoo!: B+
"I Wanna Live" is one of those album openers that throws off the rest of the album. It's so good and natural that nothing else seems to matter. But in the end it does and the hardcore numbers sound like they're playing by somebody else's rules. Still, don't let the #15 designation fool you. Even in last place, it's tied with the next five for goodness. There are no bad Ramones albums, just some that turn you completely upside down and some that leave you able to walk.
14) Acid Eaters:
JR: B- Y!: B+
The song choices for this album of covers are a beautiful thing, featuring the Animals' "When I Was Young," which may very well be my favorite record of all-time, if there is such a thing. The Seeds, CCR, The Troggs, who can argue? But something tells me it would've been even better had they recorded it in 1977 than in 1993.
JR: C Y!: B+