Formed in 1974, the Ramones were the first punk rock band. The influence of their straightforward, stripped–down sound has been immeasurable. They formed in Queens, New York, United States and from there on they slogged & toured through an often unwelcoming rock music industry for 22 years, playing 2263 gigs before hanging up their trademark leather jackets.
Their sound was honed at the infamous CBGB's venue in New York's Bowery, where the band debuted short, sharp songs delivered with high volume intensity, eschewing guitar solos for simple, direct power chords. The Ramones' first album "set the blueprint for punk."
The band released 16 albums of mainly-original material until their split in 1996, starting with the eponymous release 'Ramones', and ending with 'Adios Amigos'. Several live and compilation albums were released, mostly during the last few years of the group.
Sadly, the end of the century saw the deaths of founding members Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitarist) and Dee Dee Ramone (bass). Tommy Ramone (drums) is the last surviving member of the original line-up.
Singer Joey Ramone (aka Jeffry Ross Hyman) was the 1st band member to die, in 2001 at a New York hospital of Lymphoma, while fellow founding members Dee Dee (Douglas Colvin) passed next in 2002 of a heroin overdose in L.A. and guitarist Johnny Ramone (John Cummings) died in 2004 of prostate cancer. Eddie Vedder and John Frusciante were among those at Johnny's bedside in Beverly Hills at the time of his passing.
Other replacement and temporary members include Elvis (drums, real name Clem Burke of Blondie), Marky (drums), Richie (drums), and C.J. (bass). Tommy prefered to work in the studio, hence all the drummer replacements, and C.J. came in when Dee Dee left & briefly took up his solo career as a rap artist Dee Dee King.
The band Bad Brains took its name from a Ramones song. Green Day members have gone as far as naming their children in honor of the band. Billie Joe Armstrong named his son Joey as tribute to Joey Ramone, and Tre Cool named his daughter Ramona for the similar reasons.