Tommy Ramone, Last Original Member of the Ramones, Dead at 65
Tommy Ramone, the Ramones' last surviving original member, died Friday, July 11, at 65 after struggling with bile duct cancer. Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest in 1949, he moved to Queens, New York, in 1957 and began playing music with Johnny Ramone while they were in high school. Eventually they would go on to form the band whose two-minute songs with three chords, like “I Wanna Be Sedated,” ”Blitzkrieg Bop” and “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” would pioneer punk rock. Marky Ramone, who succeeded Tommy on the Ramones drum throne, said, “I am extremely saddened to hear the news of Tommy’s passing. His contribution and impact on music cannot and never will be forgotten.” Former manager Danny Fields said, “He invented what they were—there’s no taking that away. He was a wise man, and he had a dignity, and a great, elegant mind and sensibility.” “The importance of the Ramones in the history of underground music cannot be overstated,” said Lamb of God vocalist Randy Blythe. “The first time my band played CBGB, I was completely emotionally overwhelmed — 'Man, the FREAKING RAMONES started out here!’ I thought as I stood on stage. I almost started crying. Without that band, the tempo of underground music would have never reached the speed that it has today. There were a bunch of glam bands & hippies at that time, and (yeeeech) disco was big–the Ramones came along & blasted everyone straight out of the water. No Ramones= no Lamb of God, or any of the other music most fans of my band listen to.” The Ramones disbanded in 1996, leaving 21 various albums to their legacy and were also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Other original members Joey Ramone died in 2001 as a result of lymphoma, Dee Dee Ramone died in 2002 due to a drug overdose, and Johnny Ramone died in 2004 of prostate cancer.