Ramones alt album cover illustration

Joey, Johnny Deedee, Tommy Ramones drawing
Gabba Gabba Hey

Lots of people my age would have had their first real experience with the Ramones when they bought Hey! Ho! Let's Go: The Anthology which, about ten to fifteen years ago, seemed to be always on sale with a sticker on the front that said "2 Minutes + 3 Chords x 58 Tracks". Which is the best advert I've ever seen for anything and perfectly sums up the band.

There were probably better bands that played punk music, but the Ramones are the best punk band.

And there's a chance I may get my British citizenship rescinded for saying this, but punk is definitely a US invention that found its apogee on the stage of CBGBs. Born from the garage sound of MC5, The Stooges and Television and crystalised in the dystopian nightmare of New York in the seventies Joey, Johnny, Deedee and Tommy spat in the face of the beardy solos of prog rock and proved that you didn't have to be able to play instruments properly (if indeed at all) to be in a band. 

It's bizarre but somehow the spirit of nihilism, cycnicism, faded dreams, blackouts and squalor that was pervasive in the East Village exerted pressure on four lumps of coal who were definitely not brothers and formed a joyously catchy and adolescently rebellious diamond with a single surname. Malcolm McClaren may have exported it in order to sell fetish gear, and The Clash and The Buzzcocks may have perfected it, but the Ramones is really where it's at when it comes to that great punk sound.

And I had a lot of fun drawing this week's illustration, but I feel like I have to acknowledge the fact that it is a complete rip off (homage), and a rip off (homage) of two sources at that. The Beatles' Let it Be used the four squares on black and then the Gorillaz parodied it with the cover art for Demon Days. I have literally created nothing original here.

The Beatles - Let it Be album art Gorillaz Demon Days - album art

If you would like to learn more about the Ramones and the history of punk music then I suggest getting yourselves a copy of  Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, available in all good bookstores.

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