Tommy Ramone, the founding member of The Ramones has died. Tommy served as the drummer for the influential punk band, and he was the last surviving member of the group’s original lineup. He died yesterday, Friday, July 11 at the age of 65 years old. Ramone was in hospice care at his home in Ridgewood, Queens following treatment for cancer of the bile duct.
The official Twitter account for The Ramones announced the news, and The Ramones manager also confirmed the news to The LA Times.
— Ramones (@RamonesOfficial) July 12, 2014
Born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary in 1949, he immigrated to New York with his family in 1957 and they settled in Forest Hills, Queens. Growing up in Queens along with Johnny Ramone (aka John Cummings), the duo had an early band together called the Tangerine Puppets. Attending concerts in New York with John and Dee Dee Ramone (aka Douglas Glenn Colvin), who would become the bassist for the group, it was Tommy who urged the others toward making music.
Ramone was the drummer for the punk quartet between 1974 to 1978, and he also produced their first three albums 1976’s Ramones, 1977’s Leave Home and Rocket to Russia . Originally slated to manage the band, Tommy started drumming when it became apparent that their other member, Joey Ramone (aka Jeffrey Ross Hyman) wasn’t up to the task. Instead, Joey became the singer and frontman for the group.
Tommy was later replaced by Marky Ramone on drums, but he continued to manage and produce for the band through their fourth album Road to Ruin (1978), and returned to produce their eighth album 1984’s Too Tough to Die.
The group are known for their quick, unapologetically simple riffs and dry, quirky humor. They were deeply influential for both the British and American punk rock scenes, and the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Some of their best-known songs include “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue,” “Blitzkreig Bop” and “Beat on the Brat.”
The band’s Facebook page also confirmed the news, with a quote from Tommy about what The Ramones meant to him.
“It wasn’t just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody.” – Tommy Ramone, 1978