Ramones punk band co-founder Tommy dies at 65

Sat Jul 12, 2014 1:29pm EDT
 
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By Eric M. Johnson

(Reuters) - Tommy Ramone, the drummer and last surviving original member of the American punk band the Ramones, whose aggressive and fast-driving songs spearheaded the punk-rock movement, has died at the age of 65, an associate said on Saturday.

The death was confirmed by Dave Frey, director at Ramones Productions, the company that controls the band's copyright. Frey declined to provide additional information, but a statement on the band's Facebook page said the musician died on Friday.

Born Thomas Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, he was the co-founder of the band and its drummer from 1974 to 1978. He was the last surviving member of its original quartet, who adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname "Ramone."

The New York band, with mops of long hair, black leather jackets, torn jeans and sneakers, had limited chart success but deeply influenced scores of musicians who would go on to form bands such as the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Nirvana and Green Day.

They were seen as masters of minimalist, under two-and-a-half minute tunes played at blistering tempo, such as "Blitzkrieg Bop," "I Wanna be Sedated," "Rockaway Beach," and "Sheena is a Punk Rocker."

The band's style, anchored by Tommy's frenetic drumming, was partly a reaction to the bloated, and heavily produced rock music of the mid-1970s.

The Ramones' eponymous first-album, released in 1976, revitalized the rock scene, and in 2002 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"The Ramones got back to basics: simple, speedy, stripped-down rock and roll songs. Voice, guitar, bass, drums. No makeup, no egos, no light shows, no nonsense," the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said on its website.   Continued...

 
Tommy Ramone of former U.S. punk band 'The Ramones' addresses the media after a rehearsal of the musical 'Gabba Gabba Hey !' in Berlin May 3, 2005. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann