Today, May 19, marks what would’ve been late Ramones singer Joey Ramone‘s 70th birthday.
Ramone’s milestone birthday will be celebrated tonight with a virtual “Birthday Bash” that will be streamed for free at JoeyRamone.com.
Joey was born Jeffrey Hyman, but like the other members of his band, he took on the surname Ramone, which came from a pseudonym that The Beatles‘ Paul McCartney used early in his career.
Formed in 1974, The Ramones were among the earliest groups to emerge from the punk rock scene centered around New York’s legendary punk club CBGB. The band combined its varied musical influences, sped up to a breakneck pace, to create sound that was fresh, unique and infectious.
Lyrically, The Ramones’ tunes included elements of cult and horror films, weird humor, the drug culture and teenage angst.
Joey wrote or co-wrote many of the band’s popular songs, including “Beat on the Brat,” “I Remember You,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School,” “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” and “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight).”
Among the many bands that have cited The Ramones as influences are The Clash, Sex Pistols, U2, Pearl Jam and Green Day.
Outside of the band, Joey was among the many stars who joined “Little Steven” Van Zandt‘s music-industry activist group Artists United Against Apartheid, and lent vocals to the collective’s 1985 protest song “Sun City.”
The Ramones broke up in 1996 after a farewell tour. Joey passed away from lymphoma on April 15, 2001. His debut solo album, Don’t Worry About Me, was released posthumously in February 2002.
The following month, Joey was inducted posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame along with The Ramones.
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