The Ramones were a crucial band for the punk movement that started at the end of the seventies. They had multiple musical influences, some of which we can find in this chart.
Which bands influenced The Ramones?
Some of The Ramones influences that we will review in this post are The Beach Boys, Iggy Pop & The Stooges, MC5, The New York Dolls, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.
The Beach Boys
As we previously mentioned in our history timeline about The Ramones, the band released their debut album in 1976. One of their first and most notable influences were The Beach Boys, with their upbeat tunes and surf-inspired music. Their liking for the band led by legend Brian Wilson is evident on tracks like Rockaway Beach (from Rocket to Russia, 1977). The Beach Boys are also mentioned in the song 7-11, from Pleasant Dreams, released in 1981. The Ramones covered The Beach Boys Surfin’ Saffari in 1993.
Another band that was an influence on The Ramones, especially for singer Joey Ramone, was Slade. His singing style was mainly inspired by Noddy Holder’s, who frequently used his expressive vocals in a really personal manner, a way that made his band really stand out.
The Who was another huge influence on The Ramones. Key to the Mod Movement, with a powerful sound and a great pop sensitivity, the band was led by Pete Townshend. Joey Ramone also mentioned that The Who were tha band that inspired him to start making music. The Ramones covered The Who’s classic track, Substitute, on their covers album Acid Eaters (1993), which was recorded with the participation of Pete Townshend himself.
Detroit’s highly influential band MC5 was another key inspiration for The Ramones. Especially at the beginning of their career, Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy based their image on the MC5.
Iggy & The Stooges
All The Ramones members loved the music of Iggy & The Stooges. It is no surprise that Iggy Pop is nicknamed “The Godfather of Punk”. Their high-impact performances, alongside their powerful and raw sound, were one of the main inspirations for the whole punk movement. The Ramones mentioned The Stooges’ influence as a key factor for developing their sound.
As it is now widely known, the name “Ramones” comes from a pseudonym that Paul McCartney went by when registering at Hotels, during the peak of The Beatle’s popularity.
The New York Dolls
About The New York Dolls, this band was originally from the same place as The Ramones. They even played in the same venue: the historical CBGB. The New York Dolls were led by David Johansen and are credited as a key influence in the development of glam and punk, with a sound clearly influenced by The Rolling Stones. It is also worth mentioning that guitarist Johnny Thunders, a member of The New York Dolls, was a friend of Dee Dee Ramone.
Other influences that helped shape The Ramones style are The Doors (they covered Take it as it comes in 1992), Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page was Jonny Ramone’s hero) and The Velvet Underground, a band which especially Dee Dee Ramone was very fond of.
Which bands were influenced by The Ramones?
We will also take a look at the impact that The Ramones had on bands such as Sex Pistols, The Clash, Green Day, Metallica, Foo Fighters and so many others.
Sex Pistols and The Clash
To talk about bands that were influenced by The Ramones, we will start with the bands that popularized the punk movement in the first place, at the end of the seventies in England. Especially two of these bands: Sex Pistols and The Clash.
Before becoming the first real big explosion of punk rock, the Sex Pistols were devoted followers of The Ramones and they frequently went to their live shows. On their side, The Clash’s frontman, Joe Strummer, mentioned how Johnny Ramone gave him some advice about their need to be creative, instead of being virtuosos on their instruments. The Ramones were the direct precedent for The Sex Pistols and The Clash to take British punk to the peak of its popularity.
Black Flag, another highly influential band in the punk and hardcore music scene, was influenced by The Ramones. Guitar player Greg Ginn, cited The Ramones as an influence while seeing them live in 1976. Also, Black Flag’s vocalist Henry Rollins, acknowledged The Ramones as an inspiration not only for him but also for the whole punk and hardcore genres.
Heavy metal heroes, Metallica, are another act whose aggressive guitar sound was inspired by The Ramones. This is mainly attributed to guitarist Johnny Ramone: his fast-paced “downstroke” playing style, was fundamental for the development of trash metal. In Howard Stern’s program, Metallica spoke about the influence of The Ramones, with James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammet highlighting how important The Ramones are for them.
Next is a band that rose to popularity in the mid-nineties as part of the punk rock revival in California: Green Day. They have covered Ramones’ track Outsider and we can hear them referencing the classic “one, two, three, four” Dee Dee Ramone counting at the beginning of their track Jinx, recorded in 1997 as part of their album Nimrod.
One of the most relevant representatives of the Grunge movement is Pearl Jam, who are highly influenced by The Ramones. The band fronted by singer Eddie Vedder has covered live on several occasions The Ramones’ classic, I Believe in Miracles. But mainly, their influence can be heard in Pearl Jam’s more direct and aggressive tracks, such as Hail Hail in No Code (1996) or almost any track on the album Backspacer (2009).
Other artists influenced by The Ramones are Buzzcocks, The Damned and Talking heads.