Tommy Ramone

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Tommy Ramone
Tommy Ramone.JPG
Ramone in 2008
Background information
Birth nameTamás Erdélyi
Also known asThomas Erdelyi, Erdélyi Tamás, Scotty
Born(1949-01-29)January 29, 1949
Budapest, Hungary
Origin Forest Hills, New York, U.S.
DiedJuly 11, 2014(2014-07-11) (aged 65)
Ridgewood, New York, U.S.
Genres Punk rock, bluegrass
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, record producer
InstrumentsDrums, percussion, guitar, mandolin, vocals
Years active1965–2014
Labels Sire, Radioactive, Chrysalis
Associated acts Ramones, Uncle Monk

Thomas Erdelyi (born Tamás Erdélyi; January 29, 1949 – July 11, 2014), known professionally as Tommy Ramone, was a Hungarian American record producer, musician, and songwriter. [1] [2] He was the drummer for the influential punk rock band the Ramones for the first four years of the band's existence and was the last surviving original member of the Ramones.

Ramones American punk rock band

The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are sometimes cited as the first true punk rock group. Despite achieving only limited commercial success initially, the band was highly influential in the United States and the United Kingdom.



Tamás Erdélyi was born on January 29, 1949, [3] [4] in Budapest, Hungary. His Jewish parents [5] were professional photographers, [3] who survived the Holocaust by being hidden by neighbors. Many of his relatives were murdered by the Nazis. [6]

Budapest Capital city in Hungary

Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, and the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city had an estimated population of 1,752,704 in 2016 distributed over a land area of about 525 square kilometres. Budapest is both a city and county, and forms the centre of the Budapest metropolitan area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres and a population of 3,303,786, comprising 33 percent of the population of Hungary.

The Holocaust Genocide of the European Jews by Nazi Germany and other groups

The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was a genocide during World War II in which Nazi Germany, aided by local collaborators, systematically murdered some six million European Jews—around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe—between 1941 and 1945. Jews were targeted for extermination as part of a larger event during the Holocaust era, in which Germany and its collaborators persecuted and murdered other groups, including Slavs, the Roma, the "incurably sick", political and religious dissenters such as communists and Jehovah's Witnesses, and gay men. Taking into account all the victims of Nazi persecution, the death toll rises to over 17 million.

The family left Hungary during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. In 1957 he emigrated with his family to the United States. [7] Initially settling in the South Bronx, the family moved up to the middle-class suburb of Forest Hills in Queens, New York. [8] Verona Estates in Forest Hills was the place where Tamás grew up and later described as 'Home sweet home'. [9] [10] He changed his name to Thomas Erdelyi. [3]

Hungarian Revolution of 1956 conflict

The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, or the Hungarian Uprising, was a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People's Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956. Leaderless when it first began, it was the first major threat to Soviet control since the Red Army drove Nazi Germany from its territory at the End of World War II in Europe.

Forest Hills, Queens Neighborhood of Queens in New York City

Forest Hills is a mostly residential neighborhood in the central portion of the borough of Queens in New York City. The north, east, and south boundaries are the Long Island Expressway, Grand Central Parkway, and Union Turnpike, respectively. Google Maps shows the western boundary running roughly along 102nd Street, 67th Avenue, and the Long Island Rail Road's former Rockaway Beach Branch; while the Encyclopedia of New York City defines the western boundary as Junction Boulevard and the former Rockaway Beach Branch. The area was originally referred to as "Whitepot".

In high school, Tommy played guitar in a mid-1960s, four-piece garage band, the Tangerine Puppets, with a schoolmate and guitarist, John Cummings, the future Johnny Ramone. [3] [11] After leaving school, at 18, [10] he started working as an assistant engineer at the Record Plant studio, where, he worked on the production of the 1970 Jimi Hendrix album Band of Gypsys . [12]

Johnny Ramone American guitarist and songwriter

John William Cummings, known professionally as Johnny Ramone, was an American guitarist and songwriter, best known for being the guitarist for the punk rock band the Ramones. He was a founding member of the band, and remained a member throughout their entire career. He died from prostate cancer on September 15, 2004.

Jimi Hendrix American guitarist, singer and songwriter

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music".

<i>Band of Gypsys</i> 1970 live album by Jimi Hendrix

Band of Gypsys is a live album by Jimi Hendrix and the first without his original group, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. It was recorded on January 1, 1970, at the Fillmore East in New York City with Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums, frequently referred to as the Band of Gypsys. The album mixes funk and rhythm and blues elements with hard rock and jamming, an approach which later became the basis of funk rock. It contains previously unreleased songs and was the last full-length Hendrix album released before his death.

Producer and drummer for the Ramones

When the Ramones first came together, with Johnny Ramone on guitar, Dee Dee Ramone on bass and Joey Ramone on drums, Erdelyi was supposed to be the manager, but was drafted as the band's drummer when Joey became the lead singer, after realizing that he couldn't keep up with the Ramones' increasingly fast tempos. "Tommy Ramone, who was managing us, finally had to sit down behind the drums, because nobody else wanted to," Dee Dee later recalled. [13]

Dee Dee Ramone German-American songwriter and musician

Douglas Glenn Colvin, known professionally as Dee Dee Ramone, was an American musician, singer and songwriter best known as founding member, songwriter, bassist and occasional lead vocalist for the punk rock band the Ramones.

Joey Ramone American musician and singer-songwriter

Jeffrey Ross Hyman, known professionally as Joey Ramone, was an American musician and singer-songwriter, lead vocalist of the punk rock band the Ramones. Joey Ramone's image, voice, and tenure as frontman of the Ramones made him a countercultural icon.

He remained as drummer from 1974 to 1978, playing on and co-producing their first three albums, Ramones , Leave Home , and Rocket to Russia , as well as the live album It's Alive . [14] His final show as a Ramones drummer was at Johnny Blitz benefit event at CBGB's in New York, USA on May 4, 1978. [15]

<i>Ramones</i> (album) 1976 studio album by the Ramones

Ramones is the debut studio album by American punk rock band the Ramones, released on April 23, 1976 by Sire Records. After Hit Parader editor Lisa Robinson saw the band at a gig in New York City, she wrote about them in an article and contacted Danny Fields, insisting that he be their manager. Fields agreed and convinced Craig Leon to produce Ramones, and the band recorded a demo for prospective record labels. Leon persuaded Sire president Seymour Stein to listen to the band perform, and he later offered the band a recording contract. The Ramones began recording in January 1976, needing only seven days and $6,400 to record the album. They used similar sound-output techniques to those of the Beatles and used advanced production methods by Leon.

<i>Leave Home</i> 1977 studio album by the Ramones

Leave Home is the second studio album by American punk rock band the Ramones. It was released on January 10, 1977, through Sire Records, with the expanded CD being released through Rhino Entertainment on June 19, 2001. Songs on the album were written immediately after the band's first album's writing process, which demonstrated the band's progression. The album had a higher production value than their debut Ramones and featured faster tempos. The front photo was taken by Moshe Brakha and the back cover, which would become the band's logo, was designed by Arturo Vega. The album spawned three singles, but only one succeeded in charting. It was also promoted with several tour dates in the United States and Europe.

<i>Rocket to Russia</i> 1977 studio album by the Ramones

Rocket to Russia is the third studio album by the American punk rock band the Ramones, and was released on November 4, 1977, through Sire Records. Its origins date back to the summer of 1977, when "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" was released as a single. That summer was known as the peak of the punk rock genre since many punk bands were offered recording contracts. The album's recording began in August 1977, and the band had a considerably larger budget with Sire allowing them $25,000 and $30,000; much of this money went toward the album's production rather than recording.

In a 2007, interview with the BBC, Ramone said the band had been heavily influenced by 1970s, hard-rock band the New York Dolls, by singer-songwriter Lou Reed and by pop-art figure Andy Warhol. He said, "The scene that developed at CBGB wasn't [for] a teenage or garage band; there was an intellectual element and that's the way it was for The Ramones." [16]

Behind the scenes with the Ramones

Tommy Ramone was replaced on drums in 1978 by Marky Ramone, [17] but handled band management and co-production for their fourth album, Road to Ruin ; he later returned as producer for their eighth album, 1984's Too Tough to Die . [18]

Tommy Ramone wrote "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and the majority of "Blitzkrieg Bop" while bassist Dee Dee suggested the title. [11] He and Ed Stasium played all the guitar solos on the albums he produced, as Johnny Ramone largely preferred playing rhythm guitar. [19] In the 1980s he produced the Replacements album Tim , as well as Redd Kross's Neurotica . [20] He returned to the producer's chair in 2002, overseeing the reunion of former Ramones C.J. and Marky for their recording of Jed Davis' Joey Ramone tribute "The Bowery Electric". [21]

On October 8, 2004, he played as a Ramone once again, when he joined C.J. Ramone, Daniel Rey, and Clem Burke (also known as Elvis Ramone) in the "Ramones Beat Down on Cancer" concert. In October 2007 in an interview to promote It's Alive 1974-1996 a 2-DVD set of the band's best televised live performances[ citation needed ] he paid tribute to his deceased bandmates:

They gave everything they could in every show. They weren't the type to phone it in, if you see what I mean.

Ramone and Claudia Tienan (formerly of underground band the Simplistics) performed as a bluegrass-based folk duo called Uncle Monk. Ramone stated: "There are a lot of similarities between punk and old-time music. Both are home-brewed music as opposed to schooled, and both have an earthy energy. And anybody can pick up an instrument and start playing." [22] He joined songwriter Chris Castle, Garth Hudson, Larry Campbell and the Womack Family Band in July 2011 at Levon Helm Studios for Castle's album Last Bird Home. [23]

Illness and death

Ramone died at his home in Ridgewood, Queens, New York on July 11, 2014, aged 65. [3] He had received hospice care following unsuccessful treatment for bile duct cancer. [24] [25] [26] [27]

In The Independent , Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith wrote that "before Tommy left the line-up, the Ramones had already become one of the most influential punk bands of the day, playing at the infamous CBGB's in the Bowery area of New York and touring for each album incessantly." In response to Ramone's death, the band's official Twitter account had been tweeting previous quotes from band members, including his own 1976 comment that New York was the "perfect place to grow up neurotic". He added: "One of the reasons that the Ramones were so unique and original was that they were four original, unique people." [28] [29]

Writing in Variety , Cristopher Morris said: "Tommy's driving, high-energy drum work was the turbine that powered the leather-clad foursome's loud, antic sound." [24] Biographer Everett True told the BBC "there are hundreds, there are thousands, there are millions of melodies happening in Ramones songs ... You hear their influence stretch across all of rock music from 1975 onwards ... you just hear it everywhere." [16]


Discography with the Ramones

Discography with Uncle Monk

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  1. Harper, Jason (June 26, 2008). "Tommy Ramone Gives the Mountain Music Shoppe a Brush with CBGB". The Pitch. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
  2. Winborne, Josh (June 25, 2008). "Punk rock legend enjoying venture into old-time music". Archived from the original on April 22, 2009. Retrieved October 25, 2011.
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