On the 10 year anniversary of Dee Dee Ramones’ death, we look at the top 10 songs written the Ramones’ most prolific songwriter and lyricist.
10. Dee Dee King “Funky Man”
Is it possible to have a list of Dee Dee Ramone’s accomplishments without acknowledging what music critic Matt Carlson called “one of the worst recordings of all time.” Yes, Dee Dee Ramones’ short lived career as a rapper was not good but was it memorable? Of course! How could you forget one of the worst recordings of all time?
09. Ramones “Highest Trails Above”
“Highest Trails Above” may not have a lot of name recognition in the vast Ramones catalog but its line: “I feel so safe flying on a ray on the highest trails above” is engraved on Dee Dee’s headstone in the Hollywood Forever cemetery.
08. Ramones “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg”
“Bonzo Goes to Bitburg” is one of the Ramones’ most political tracks. A reactionary track to a visit of President Ronald Reagan to a German cemetery, Joey Ramone said of the track “We had watched Reagan going to visit the SS cemetery on TV and were disgusted. We’re all good Americans, but Reagan’s thing was like forgive and forget. How can you forget six million people being gassed and roasted?”
07. Ramones “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?”
“Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” is often credited as being the Ramones’ statement of purpose. The lyrics read “We need change, we need it fast/Before rock’s just part of the past/’Cause lately it all sounds the same to me.” The song, also, lists the Ramones’ influences like T. Rex, John Lennon, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
06. Ramones “Rockaway Beach”
Dee Dee’s homage to the Beach Boys is the surf-tinged “Rockaway Beach.” The song is about Rockaway Beach, Queens, where Dee Dee liked to spend time. Unsurprisingly, Joey said that Dee Dee was the only beachgoer of the band.
05. Ramones “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School”
Perhaps the Ramones’ most annoying song, “Rock ‘n’ Roll High School” was the titular tune from their feature film debut. There are two versions of the song: one on the Rock ‘n’ Roll High School soundtrack and the Phil Spector-produced version from the End of the Century album.
04. Ramones “53rd & 3rd”
Written about a well known spot for male prostitution in New York City, Dee Dee essentially wrote a punk version of Lou Reed‘s “Walk on the Wild Side.” Rock journalist Nick Kent claimed that the song was autobiographical and Dee Dee had worked as a male prostitute during the Ramones’ early days.
03. Ramones “Blitzkrieg Bop”
The Ramones’ debut single may also be the band’s most memorable song. It was named as number 92 on the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and the 25th greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1.
02. The Heartbreakers “Chinese Rocks”
“Chinese Rocks” was a collaborative effort between Dee Dee and Richard Hell, although both parties acknowledge Ramone was the main songwriter. Dee Dee said of the song: “The reason I wrote that song was out of spite for Richard Hell, because he told me he was going to write a song better than Lou Reed’s ‘Heroin,’ so I went home and wrote ‘Chinese Rocks’.” The track was first recorded by Hell’s band The Heartbreakers in 1977 before eventually being recorded by the Ramones in 1980.
01. Ramones “Teenage Lobotomy”
Although it was never released as a single, Ramones’ “Teenage Lobotomy” is one of the best known songs. Perhaps this is because it features the Ramones’ signature slyly sarcastic lyrics. Lyrical quips like “Now I guess I’ll have to tell ’em/That I got no cerebellum/Gonna get my Ph.D.” show the snarkiness that made the punk generation.