Feeling very, very stressed these last few weeks so forgive me if I jump the gun on summer with this song. Hey, Memorial Day is only a week away, right?
“1-2-3-4” (of course) and it’s a beautiful sunny day and the concrete in the city is hot and so where else would we want to go but the beach? We’re hitching a ride because the the bus is too slow and they play annoying disco music. Instead we can imagine our own music as we walk, chew the bubblegum in our mouths to the rhythm of it, and of course the music we’re imagining is a song that sounds like this one, bubblegum with an attitude, surf rock played really fast, punk rock for a sunny day. It’s taking longer than we expected but we’ll get there, we’ll get there. If the beach wasn’t easy to reach why would the words rhyme so well?
Hard to believe now that the Ramones were considered dangerous at first: scary, potentially violent. There was a brutality to some of the music but most of it was more like this song, poppy, hook-y fun. You just had to retrain your ears.
It was the way they looked, maybe, the leather jackets, the unkempt hair, the street addict faces. Really they were only scary like the scary biker guys at a bar who strike up a conversation and have a million weird in jokes among them and talk to you in a free-associative way about million weird topics, Nazis, Spiderman, cretins, girl groups. If you were willing to be made fun of a little bit, you could have a lot of fun!
(By contrast, the New York Dolls in that bar would ignore you, and the Clash would harangue you, and the Sex Pistol would pour a beer on your head.)
Ramones fact: this was their highest charting single at #66, although if Jon Landau hadn’t persuaded Bruce to keep “Hungry Heart” for himself that would not have been true.
Ramones story: I went to see them with my friend J-D in New York on a stage set up on a pier. Can’t remember the exact circumstances but the gates were late in opening and we were all in line for a long time and when the gates did open they were confiscating all the alcohol with which people had been tailgating and instead of handing the bottles over people started passing them back. You’d take a beer, or a swig, and then pass it back yourself, a wonderful communal scene, to each according to his need and share what’s left. I think the Ramones would have loved it!
The show: no memory after the third song or so. But I’m sure it was great.