The Ramones, take two
Posted by purplemary54 on March 12, 2012
I don’t like the last post about “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and The Ramones, but I won’t delete it because I’m okay showing everything here, warts and all. And I want to try again to express a little of what The Ramones stand for, to me, because they deserve it.
When Joey Ramone died about ten years ago, I was utterly heartbroken. He was so wonderfully himself, and it was such a tremendous loss to music and the world (Joey was always the face of the band for me). The Ramones breaking up was a loss to music, even though they’d long since past their prime. They stood for something, although the only words I have for that are abstract: freedom, fun, independence, joy. Most punk is angry and disaffected. Even when The Ramones were acting angry and disaffected, they sounded like they were having too much fun to stay unhappy for very long. They were the fast and the sort of furious, but they’d forget whatever anger they might have had the minute the music started to play.
All the men who made up The Ramones had their lives transformed by music. Joey, especially. He was painfully shy, very probably with some kind of mental problems that interfered with his ability to interact with others. But music gave him a voice in the world, one that had the power to reach out to other misfits and give them a place to belong. That’s what I think I enjoy the most, and even identify with. That this guy could reinvent himself without losing the person he’d always been. He was just a guy who loved music, learned how to play and write songs, and got out there to live out his dreams. Sort of makes me jealous.
Besides “Sheena is a Punk Rocker,” I have a lot of love for “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.” It’s such a sweet song, with a touch of fifties adolescent innocence to it. You’re pretty sure that the tall, skinny geek in the song really just wants to hold hands and kiss and go to the record store with the girl he’s singing to. It’s touching.
The Ramones touched my life, just like they touched the lives of millions of others. And they gave hope to all the square pegs being squeezed into round holes. Hope that maybe, somewhere, there was a square hole they could fit in.