Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Underrated Classic - The Ramones "End of the Century"

In 1980 The Ramones broke into "the wall of sound." After much acclaim in New York City, LA and London, but no commercial success, the Bowery band from Forrest Hills uprooted to LA to record with one of Joey Ramones hero's, Phil Spector. Spector, who loved Joey's vocals and freakish look, craved working with The Ramones and giving the band his infamous "wall of sound" treatment. The result was End of the Century. By far the first pop/punk record ever made and one of The Ramones best. Gone are Johnny Ramones famous dirty three chords and replaced with various other chords and melody, gone was Dee Dee's strumming bass and replaced with a more formal way of playing the low end instrument. Joey never sounded better and could not have been happier, yet the rest of the band despised the idea of End of the Century and working with a big name like Spector where rumors have surfaced that he threatened Johnny with a gun in studio and locked the band up in his mansion and made them watch B-movie horror flicks till the sun would rise. The band was unraveling at the seams, yet they though with Spector on board they would have their first chart topping hit and pushed through the punishment. The result was the opposite, the record tanked and critics panned it. Now 30 years later, go back and pick it up again and realize that End of the Century was the blue-print for bands like Blink 182, The Libertines and Weezer. End of the Century may have been a bench mark in recording the genre and The Ramones were not even trying.