Like many seminal musicians who died too soon, Joey Ramone has left a trail of tunes to remember him by.
Before the former Ramones frontman's life was taken at age 49 by lymphatic cancer on Sunday (see "Punk Pioneer Joey Ramone Dead At 49"), he finished a solo album that was nearly three years in the making.
"It is all recorded. We will wait awhile, but we will release it this year," said longtime Ramones producer Daniel Rey, who collaborated with the singer on the album. "Joey wanted it to come out. He was proud of it."
Ramone wrote nearly 20 new tunes that he recorded with a band consisting of Andy (a.k.a. Adny) Shernoff of punk group the Dictators, Cracker drummer Frank Funaro and Rey on guitar.
"He was loved by everyone who knew him or heard him," Rey said. "There was never anyone like him, nor will there ever be again. He encapsulated everything about rock 'n' roll music and did it with passion. He took everything that was good doo-wop, girl groups, the British invasion and summed it up in his vocal style."
The songs on the posthumous album reflect Ramone's ongoing quirky obsessions.
"One of my hobbies is the stock market," Ramone said in March 1999. His fascination at the time was a daily financial analysis program on cable station CNBC.
"I watch this show 'Squawk Box' every morning, and they have this host named Maria [Bartiromo] who is really hot and feisty," Ramone said. "When I stopped drinking, I started getting into the stock market because it's sort of like a mosh pit down there."
A demo of the song mixed the British Invasion sound of the Who's early material with a touch of the Ramones' career-long fascination with Motown girl groups. "I watch her every day/ I watch her every night/ She's really out of sight/ Maria Bartiromo," Ramone sang.
Other songs Ramone recorded include "I Feel Like I'm on a Drug I've Never Done Before," "Mr. Punchy," "Don't Worry About Me," "What Did I Do to Deserve You" and "There's a Spirit in My House and I Know It Ain't No Mouse."