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Joey Ramone

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Joey Ramone

Joey Ramone
Joey Ramone circa 1987
Background information
Birth name Jeffrey Ross Hyman
Also known as Joey Ramone
Born (1951-05-19)May 19, 1951
Forest Hills, Queens
New York, US
Died April 15, 2001(2001-04-15) (aged 49)
Washington Heights, Manhattan
New York, US
Genres Punk rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, drums, percussion, guitar, bass
Years active 1972–2001
Labels Sire, Radioactive
Associated acts Ramones, Sibling Rivalry, Sniper

Jeffrey Ross Hyman (May 19, 1951 – April 15, 2001), best known by his stage name Joey Ramone, was an American musician and singer-songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the punk rock band the Ramones. Joey Ramone's image, voice, and tenure as frontman of the Ramones made him a countercultural icon.[1]

Early life

Born Jeffrey Ross Hyman to Noel Hyman and his wife Charlotte (née Mandell),[2] they lived in Forest Hills, Queens, New York,[3] where Hyman and his future Ramones bandmates attended Forest Hills High School. Though happy, Hyman was something of an outcast. When he was 18 years old, he was diagnosed with obsessive–compulsive disorder. He grew up with brother Mickey Leigh. His mother Charlotte Lesher divorced her first husband, Noel Hyman. She married a second time but was later widowed due to a car accident while she was on vacation.

Hyman was a fan of The Beatles,[4] The Who, David Bowie, and The Stooges among other bands (particularly oldies and the Phil Spector-produced "girl groups"). His idol was Pete Townshend of The Who (with whom he shared a birthday). Hyman took up drums at 13, and played throughout his teen years. Before he joined the Ramones, he was the singer in a band called Sniper.


In 1972 Hyman joined the glam punk band, Sniper. Sniper played at the Mercer Arts Center, Max's Kansas City and the Coventry, alongside the New York Dolls, Suicide, and Queen Elizabeth III.[5] Hyman played with Sniper under the name Jeff Starship.[6] Mickey Leigh: "I was shocked when the band came out. Joey was the lead singer and I couldn't believe how good he was. Because he'd been sitting in my house with my acoustic guitar, writing these songs like 'I Don't Care', fucking up my guitar, and suddenly he's this guy on stage who you can't take your eyes off of."[5] He continued playing with Sniper until early 1974, when he was replaced by Alan Turner.


In 1974, Jeffrey Hyman co-founded the punk rock band Ramones with friends John Cummings and Douglas Colvin, Colvin was already using the pseudonym "Dee Dee Ramone" upon which point all three adopted stage names using "Ramone" as their surname: Cummings became Johnny Ramone, Colvin became Dee Dee Ramone, and Hyman became Joey Ramone. The name Ramone stems from a story that Paul McCartney briefly used the stage name "Paul Ramon" during the Beatles early days when the band used the name The Silver Beetles.

Joey initially served as the group's drummer while Dee Dee Ramone was the original vocalist. However, when Dee Dee's vocal cords proved unable to sustain the demands of consistent live performance, Ramones manager Thomas Erdelyi suggested Joey switch to vocals. After a series of unsuccessful auditions in search of a new drummer, Erdelyi took over on drums, assuming the name Tommy Ramone.[1]

The Ramones were a major influence on the punk rock movement in the United States, though they achieved only minor commercial success. Their only record with enough U.S. sales to be certified gold was the compilation album Ramones Mania. Recognition of the band's importance built over the years, and they are now regularly represented in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as the Rolling Stone lists of the 50 Greatest Artists of All Time and 25 Greatest Live Albums of All Time, VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, and Mojo's 100 Greatest Albums. In 2002, the Ramones were voted the second greatest rock and roll band ever in Spin, trailing only The Beatles.

In 1996, after a tour with the Lollapalooza music festival, the band played their final show and then disbanded.

Vocal style

Ramone's voice was within a tenor range and it was unorthodox in that he had no formal training in an era when vocal proficiency was arguably the norm for most rock bands. His signature cracks, hiccups, snarls, crooning and youthful voice made his one of punk rock's most recognizable voices. claims that "Joey Ramone's signature bleat was the voice of punk rock in America."[1] As his vocals matured and deepened through his career, so did the Ramones' songwriting, leaving a notable difference from Joey's initial melodic and callow style—two notable tracks serving as examples are "Somebody Put Something in My Drink" and "Mama's Boy".

Other projects

Joey Ramone was honored with the creation of "Joey Ramone Place" outside the address of CBGB in New York City.

In 1985, Ramone joined Steven Van Zandt's music industry activist group Artists United Against Apartheid, which campaigned against the Sun City resort in South Africa. Ramone and 49 other recording artists – including Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, Lou Reed and Run DMC — collaborated on the song "Sun City", in which they pledged they would never perform at the resort.

In 1994, Ramone appeared on the Helen Love album Love and Glitter, Hot Days and Music, singing the track "Punk Boy". Helen Love returned the favor, singing on Ramone's song "Mr. Punchy".

In October 1996, Ramone headlined the "Rock The Reservation" alternative rock festival in Tuba City, Arizona.[7] 'Joey Ramone & the Resistance' (Daniel Rey on guitar, John Connor on bass guitar and Roger Murdock on drums) debuted Ramone's interpretation of Louis Armstrong's "Wonderful World' live, as well as Ramone's choice of Ramones classics and some of his other favorite songs; The Dave Clark Five's "Any Way You Want It", The Who's "The Kids are Alright" and The Stooges' "No Fun."

Ramone co-wrote and recorded the song "Meatball Sandwich" with Youth Gone Mad. For a short time before his death, he took the role of manager and producer for the punk rock band The Independents.[8]

His last recording as a vocalist was backup vocals on the CD One Nation Under by the Dine Navajo rock group Blackfire. He appeared on two tracks, "What Do You See" and "Lying to Myself". The 2002 CD won "Best Pop/Rock Album of the Year" at the 2002 Native American Music Awards.[9]

Ramone produced the Ronnie Spector album She Talks to Rainbows in 1999. It was critically acclaimed, but was not very commercially successful. The title track was previously on the Ramones' final studio album, ¡Adios Amigos!.

Death and influence

Headstone for Joey Ramone with fan tributes
Joey Ramone died of lymphoma at New York-Presbyterian Hospital on April 15, 2001, after a seven-year battle, a month before he would have turned 50.[10] He was reportedly listening to the song "In a Little While" by U2 when he died. [11] This was during U2's Elevation Tour, and from that point on during shows Bono would introduce the song as a tune that was originally about a lovestruck hangover but that Joey turned it into a gospel song. In an interview in 2014 for Radio 538, Bono confirmed that Joey Ramone's family told him that Ramone listened to the song before he died.


His solo album Don't Worry About Me was released posthumously in 2002, and features the single "What a Wonderful World", a cover of the Louis Armstrong standard. MTV News claimed: "With his trademark rose-colored shades, black leather jacket, shoulder-length hair, ripped jeans and alternately snarling and crooning vocals, Joey was the iconic godfather of punk."[13]

On November 30, 2003, a block of East 2nd Street in New York City was officially renamed Joey Ramone Place.[14] It is the block where Hyman once lived with bandmate Dee Dee Ramone, and is near the former site of the music club CBGB, where the Ramones got their start. Hyman's birthday is celebrated annually by rock 'n' roll nightclubs, hosted in New York City by his brother and, until 2007, his mother, Charlotte. Joey Ramone is interred at Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst, New Jersey.[15]

In 2001, the Ramones were named as inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, prior to the ceremony held early the following year.

Several songs have been written in tribute to Joey Ramone. Tommy, CJ and Marky and Daniel Rey came together in 2002 to record Jed Davis's Joey Ramone tribute, "The Bowery Electric".[16] Other tributes include "Hello Joe" by Blondie from the album The Curse of Blondie, "Don't Take Me For Granted" by Social Distortion, "Here's To You" by Minus3, "You Can't Kill Joey Ramone" by Sloppy Seconds, Joey by Raimundos, "I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone" by Sleater-Kinney, "Red and White Stripes" by Moler and "Joey" by The Corin Tucker Band, "I Heard Ramona Sing" by Frank Black on his self-titled first solo album, and Amy Rigby's "Dancin' With Joey Ramone," released in 2005. In addition, Rammstein also ended several shows of their Mutter tour in 2001 with a cover of "Pet Semetary" in honor of the passing of Joey Ramone. As the tour went on it become a regular show ender and guests joining the band on stage, including CJ Ramone, Marky Ramone, Clawfinger vocalist Zak Tell, and Jerry Only of The Misfits.

In September 2010, the Associated Press reported that "Joey Ramone Place," a sign at the corner of Bowery and East Second Street was New York City's most stolen sign. Later, the sign was moved to 20 feet above ground level. Drummer Marky Ramone thought Joey would appreciate the fact that his sign would be the most stolen adding "Now you have to be an NBA player to see it."[17]

After several years in development, Ramone's second posthumous album was released on May 22, 2012. Titled Ya Know?, it was preceded on Record Store Day by a 7" single re-release of Blitzkrieg Bop/Havana Affair[18]

The 2013 film CBGB, about the club of the same name, includes a portrayal of Ramone by Joel David Moore.

The opening track of U2's 2014 album Songs of Innocence is called "The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)", paying tribute to the Ramones' influence on U2 from a show which the young bandmembers had attended in the late 1970s. Lead singer Bono claimed that it was Joey Ramone who showed him how to sing.





  • "I Got You Babe" – (1982) (Duet with Holly Beth Vincent)
  • "What a Wonderful World" (2002)
  • "Rock And Roll Is The Answer" / "There's Got To Be More To Life" (2012)

Memorial books


  1. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. Joey Ramone at AllMusic. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  2. ^ I Slept with Joey Ramone: A Punk Rock Family Memoir – Mickey Leigh – Google Books. Retrieved December 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ Powers, Ann. (April 16, 2001). "Joey Ramone, Punk's Influential Yelper, Dies at 49".  
  4. ^ "The musical misfits". BBC News. April 16, 2001. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Legs McNeil, John Holstrom (1997). Please Kill Me: The Uncensored History of Punk. Penguin.  
  6. ^ Mickey Leigh, Legs McNeil (2009). I Slept with Joey Ramone. Touchstone.  
  7. ^ Kaufman, Gil. "Joey Ramone Rocks The Reservation". 
  8. ^ "Band Biography". The Independents. April 15, 2001. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Notice of Joey Ramone's death
  11. ^ Kaufman, Gil. "Pioneer Joey Ramone Dead At 49" Vh1, April 15, 2001
  12. ^ U2 (2001). Elevation 2001: Live from Boston (DVD). Boston, Massachusetts: Island/Interscope. 
  13. ^ Kaufman, Gil (April 15, 2001). "Punk Pioneer Joey Ramone Dead at 49". MTV. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Joey Ramone Place – Street Sign in New York". Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Sometimes the Grave Is a Fine and Public Place". New York Times. March 28, 2004. But there are a slew of other places around New Jersey with their own pantheons. Consider the eclectic group at rest in Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst: the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet  
  16. ^ "The Bowery Electric Crew". RamonesWorld. Retrieved April 22, 2012. 
  17. ^ "What's New York's most-stolen street sign?". TODAY. Associated Press. September 27, 2010. Retrieved July 27, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Ramones: Joey Ramone'S Second Solo Album Titled ...Ya Know?". Retrieved April 27, 2012. 

External links

  • The Official Joey Ramone Website
  • Monte A. Melnick, Ramones Tour Manager "On The Road With The Ramones"
  • Joey's memorial section in Jari-Pekka Laitio-Ramone's site
  • Joey Ramone at the Internet Movie Database
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