1-2-3-4! The Ramones Meant So Much More.

Posted: March 24th, 2024

The Ramones have always had a special place in my heart as they were one of the very first new wave/punk acts that I claimed as mine. I remember being at school in 1977 with my brand new 12” single of Sheena is a Punk Rocker and playing it in our common room while pogoing like an idiot and learning to sneer at everybody and everything. In fact, I saw an old school friend recently and I hadn’t spoken to him in years, and he remembered me playing that record! That’s the power of music. It stays with you forever and can transport you back to a time and place. I really want to dig this record out and play it as I write… Time passes… That’s better, it’s on. It’s hard to type and pogo! But I’ll give it a go.

It’s getting increasingly difficult to find signed photos of bands like The Ramones, so this one is particularly pleasing as it’s the cover image from 1977’s Rocket to Russia, signed by the original line-up of the group and I have to say that the framing job is over the top but seems to work. You may have different ideas, though.

In the mid-70’s, The Ramones exuded an attitude which was refreshing after listening to the dreary old rock bands that had populated the charts. American new wave coupled with the English punk bands, meant it was an electrifying time to grow up in what had been a monochrome, dull, disordered world. These bands gave us the freedom to dream. We could all pick up a guitar or drumsticks or microphone and just do something. Which is what I did. I became a punk. Previously, I had a bubble perm, which was somehow in fashion at the time. In fact, life must have been bad as once it grew out I did it again! But then punk saved me from a life of tragic hairstyles, and I discovered peroxide and Crazy Color®. I always thought this hair dye was the greatest invention and came along at the right time in 1977 just as we were all trying to brighten our lives and our hair. I had been so confused stylistically up until then. And then it all came together. A leather bikers’ jacket was essential, complete with badges and dying my hair was necessary. I had given a talk at school about punk rock and had done it dressed in bin bags held together with safety pins and was warned about my future conduct. Accordingly,  during the next school holidays I went to the local hairdresser and got a thin strip of hair died blond and then applied green Crazy Color® to it. I think green was really in, because of Johnny Rotten as the papers all went on about his green teeth and sickly pallor. And for many people green is an upsetting and unusual colour. We did these things craving individuality and as a fuck you to the status quo of the world we were ordered to conform with. When I went back to school the colour was fading but it still met with derision and punishment. I was not allowed into the local town other than to make an appointment to have it coloured back to my natural colour. I didn’t care, I had made my statement. This was me… And from that moment on I truly did change. I formed a band; we did gigs at school, and I was decidedly happy. The rest of school did nothing for me. I couldn’t wait to leave and get out into the real world, whatever that would prove to be… So I thank The Ramones and all those other bands who made me believe that anything is possible. A philosophy that I have carried with me to the present day… Because it’s true.

Hey! Ho! Let’s Go! Or should I say Hair! Ho! Let’s Go!