Tommy Ramone, whose simple but jackhammer driving backbeat propelled the legendary punk ensemble The Ramones to soaring heights and becoming one of the most influential punk bands of all time, died on Friday in Queens, NY, according to Variety. He was 62.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, and raised in Forest Hills in Queens, NY, Tommy Ramone, whose real name was Erdelyi Tamas, was the last surviving original member of the group, which included singer Joey Ramone, bassist Dee Dee Ramone, and guitarist Johnny Ramone. Erdelyi became a member of the band by accidental proxy back in 1974, the year they formed, and all the musicians opted to take on the surname “Ramone” as stage names. Originally, lead singer and driving force Joey Ramone was relegated to the drum throne, but ultimately couldn’t keep time with the band’s three-chord, yet ultra tempo songs. Erdelyi, who was at first going to be the band’s manager, soon took over drum duties and wound up drumming and co-producing the band’s first three albums, which spawned a slew of memorable tracks, which to this day are now punk folklore: “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” (which Erdelyi wrote), “Pinhead,’” “Give Me Shock Treatment,” “Beat on the Brat,” and the band’s signature song, which also showcases in a way their instantly recognizable signature sound, and which was also penned mostly by Erdelyi, “Blitzkrieg Bop.”
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