Late last night and into today, music lovers mourned the passing of Tommy Ramone — the last original member of the seminal New York band. Why the outpouring of affection for a group that never topped the charts? Although they weren’t the most popular, The Ramones were arguably the most influential band since the Beatles.
By 1976, rock music had run its course. The raw, raucous, rebellious teenage anthems of the ‘50s and ’60s had given way to plastic imitations. The Bee Gees and KC and the Sunshine Band played in the discos. The Bay City Rollers and “Afternoon Delight”topped the charts. The more serious listeners were wearing out pretentious LPs likeBrain Salad Surgery and Tales from Topographic Oceans (the latter a double album with just four songs, carrying understated titles such as “The Revealing Science of God [Dance of the Dawn]”).
Rock had become overproduced, overwrought and no fun at all.
As many of my Twitter followers know (and regret), I’m a bit of a music geek. In the evenings, I often spin obscure tunes, inflicting my off-kilter tastes on an unwilling audience. Yes, it’s tragic when people don’t recognize genius in their midst, but I soldier on. In addition to collecting terabytes of MP3s (and before that CDs, cassettes and vinyl), I’ve always loved live music. Heading into a busy weekend, I’d love to hear the first concert you ever attended, the last concert you attended, and your favorite show of all time. Here’s mine: