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Ramones punk band co-founder Tommy dies at 65

(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.

Born Thomas Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, Ramone 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 against the bloated, and heavily produced rock music of the mid-1970s.

Tommy Ramone dies at 65

Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2002, the Ramones eponymous first-album revitalized the rock scene.

"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.


"They are heard everywhere. At every sporting event you hear 'Hey, ho, let's go!,'" Frey said, citing lyrics from "Blitzkrieg Bop". "They connected in a big way."

Frey called Tommy last month to tell him their debut record had reached gold status and said "he was thrilled. He couldn't believe it," Frey said.

The Ramones performed 2,263 concerts between their formation in 1974 and final show in 1996. They released 21 studio, live and compilation albums over a 20-year period, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said.

Guitarist Johnny Ramone, born John Cummings, died of prostate cancer in 2004. Singer Joey Ramone, born Jeff Hyman, died of lymphoma in 2001. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone, born Douglas Colvin, died the following year of a heroin overdose.

Tommy, who acted at various times also as a songwriter, producer, and engineer, died at 12:15 p.m. local time at his home in Queens, New York, according to a statement on Facebook from New York Rocker Magazine publisher Andy Schwartz.

Ramone had been in hospice care following treatment for cancer of the bile duct, and is survived by Claudia Tienan, his partner of 40 years, and other family members including nephews Eric and David, Schwartz said.

In recent years, Tommy and Tienan performed and recorded as the indie-acoustic country and bluegrass duo Uncle Monk, Schwartz said.

In high school, Tommy played guitar in a group called Tangerine Puppets that also included Ramones guitarist Johnny Ramone on bass and trained as a recording engineer and assisted on various New York sessions, including with Jimi Hendrix in 1969, Schwartz said.

Last Surviving Original Member Of The Ramones Dies In N.Y.

Join the discussion

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josh2589 July 12 2014 at 12:13 PM

The picture utilized is Marky Ramone!!!!!! Not Tommy Ramone, they look extremely different

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2 replies
exitscreaming josh2589 July 12 2014 at 6:39 PM

Yepp...very lame...the wrong picture has been up for hours and they are saying he was 62 and 65 in seperate headlines

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moonorchd josh2589 July 12 2014 at 6:47 PM

I tweeted them about it hours ago.

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emam545 July 12 2014 at 10:03 AM

Thanks for the great music, rest in peace Tommy.

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robroy30 July 12 2014 at 9:30 AM

RIP, Tommy. Saw the Ramones a few times in the late 70s and early 80s. Their concerts were packed with people on their feet from the first song until the end. Very talented guys who worked their butts off in concerts never taking a moment in between songs.

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2 replies
Kate robroy30 July 12 2014 at 12:25 PM

Yep. There wasn't ANYbody sitting down at a Ramones concert, laugh. At CBGB's I always wondered if the crowd would explode the whole building out of sheer energy.

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dwtomczyk robroy30 July 12 2014 at 1:29 PM

did you ever see them @ cbgb's ot the mub club

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1 reply
madkono dwtomczyk July 12 2014 at 2:50 PM

once at cb's and once at central park!!! can't say how many times i saw band members at other concerts!!!

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gregpisel July 12 2014 at 1:21 PM

I appreciate that you realize the gravity of Tommy Ramone's passing since he was one of the original grandfathers of punk. However, you put a picture of Marky Ramone on the headline picture. You need to try harder to pay attention to details because details matter.

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aschmechtig July 12 2014 at 10:26 AM

R.I.P tommy thanks for the great music

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Kim Ann July 12 2014 at 10:09 AM

They all died so young. How sad!!

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3 replies
cgssnavickas July 12 2014 at 10:04 AM

I remember seeing the Ramones way back in the late 70's in NYC and Brooklyn, their original stomping ground. RIP, Tommy. Rock on.

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1 reply
Kate cgssnavickas July 12 2014 at 12:28 PM

You and me both, sigh. My ex husband introduced me to them, and I've thanked him for it ever since. I don't know that I would wish Tommy a peaceful rest, though, faint smile: I think he'd prefer to raise some hell.

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HAYLEY BUG July 12 2014 at 1:22 PM

Saw the Ramones 9 times in my life, never a disappointing show! RIP Tommy

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Anne Boleyns Crown July 12 2014 at 9:54 AM

The Ramones will always remind me of art school! When my nephews were little, I used to make them listen to "Beat on the Brat" and tell them they better not make me do it (it was joking, folks...I just wanted to make them listen to the Ramones). Sad to be the last to go and 65 doesn't seem very old to a 42 year old but at least they will lve in a lot of past, present and future punk rockers.

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generaljimt July 12 2014 at 4:53 PM

So many parallels with ELO....great band...the day the music died..RIP Tommy...

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