Ramone, Joey

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RAMONE, JOEY (Jeffrey Hyman ; 1951–2001), co-founder, vocalist, and songwriter for the influential U.S. punk rock group The Ramones (1974–96); member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Ramone was born in Forest Hills, Queens, to Charlotte and Noel, who divorced when he was young. His mother encouraged an interest in music in both Joey and his younger brother Mitchell (who later adopted the name Mickey Leigh). Ramone took up drums at 13, playing throughout his teen years at Forest Hills High School, where he met his future band mates. The 6 ft. 6 in., gangly Ramone was originally the drummer for the Ramones, but eventually moved to vocalist and frontman for the band. Described as a "cartoon family," The Ramones played fast, furious, and funny primal pop songs, with titles like "Teenage Lobotomy" and "I Wanna Be Sedated," and chants like "Hey ho let's go" and "Gabba gabba hey!" that became rallying cries for disaffected youth. The other original Ramones were Tommy, Johnny, and Dee Dee, who like Ramone, all adopted the stage surname of Ramone and wore matching "non-uniforms" of black leather jackets, black t-shirts, and ripped jeans – what became standard attire for a generation of musicians. They led a movement of no-frills bands that were based in the seedy Bowery club cbgb in New York. Rules that The Ramones eponymous 1976 debut album instated into a bloated mid-1970s rock world were no song needed to be more than two minutes long, include more than three chords, or needed a guitar solo – guidelines the band stuck to closely for their entire career. During their career, The Ramones played over 2,000 shows. Diagnosed with lymphoma in 1995, and given three to six months to live, Joey maintained his health and spirits for five years until a broken hip led to a decline. His death was treated as the end of an era, and given almost the same amount of coverage as the deaths of rock icons John Lennon and Jerry Garcia. Ramone's first solo album – Don't Worry About Me – was posthumously released in 2002, the same year he entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Ramones. In November 2003, the city of New York named the corner of 2nd St. and the Bowery near cbgb as Joey Ramone Place. In September 2005, Ramone was awarded the Heeb Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Jewish Music Awards.

[David Brinn (2nd ed.)]