IN CELEBRATION OF THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE RAMONES’ EPONYMOUS DEBUT ALBUM, WE’RE PLEASED TO BRING YOU THE THIRD INSTALLMENT OF RAMONES WEEK BY NICHOLAS ROMBES, AUTHOR OF THE 33 1/3 ON RAMONES.
In retrospect, we rewrite legendary-ness onto legends, further solidifying their legendary status. But history is never so neat and linear. For reasons having something to do with the curious mixture of personal taste, national chauvinism, and a desire to make a name for oneself by cutting against the grain of trendiness, a lot of early British music press coverage of the Ramones was scathing.
Reviewing the Ramones’ first ever UK appearance at the Roundhouse in the July 10, 1976 Melody Maker, Allan Jones called them “fiercely retarded” and “moronic,” dismissing claims that they represented any sort of rock renaissance: “Eventually, though, it’s impossible to find the Ramones, and those over-nouveaux-punk stylists one has had the opportunity to see, as anything more than trivial.”
And in the September 25, 1976 Melody Maker, there’s a terrifically nasty letter from a reader in New Jersey that, while it’s not attacking Patti Smith, really lays it on the Ramones. “Smith is representative of the so-called New York punk rock scene,” he writes. “I couldn’t hear for two days after sitting in the second row of a Deep Purple/Fleetwood Mac concert. This is what comes into my mind when I hear the term ‘punk rock’: not the Ramones or Patti Smith.”