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Dee Dee Ramone: Pioneer of punk

Friday, 7 June, 2002, 15:18 GMT 16:18 UK
He helped kick-start the punk movement

When Dee Dee and the other Ramones turned up in Britain in 1976, they brought the sound of punk with them.

One of his band's major song writers, Dee Dee helped transform an era dominated by disco and corporate rock, into one of fast chords and guitar jinks.

It was a musical rebellion.

Born Douglas Glenn Colvin, bass player Dee Dee was born in Virginia, but grew up with his military family in Berlin. Returning to America as a teenager, he co-founded the Ramones in 1974 and played with them for the following 15 years.

The Ramones have enjoyed a lasting respect

Fresh from college in New York, all four members took the last name Ramone, borrowing a pseudonym from Paul McCartney.

The band gravitated towards the creative CBGBs club, where their lively act attracted a faithful following.

With such contemporaries as Patti Smith, they wowed their fans. During energetic performances, they dressed in stovepipe jeans and leather jackets.

They walked on shouting "Hey ho, let's go" and walked off with "gabba gabba hey". It was seminal stuff, and Sire Records snapped them up.

Their 1976 eponymous album was a confident debut. Fourteen songs, including Blitzkrieg Bop and Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue, were crammed onto a 29-minute album.

The band addressed teenage angst and real life frustration, but infused them with cartoonish black humour. The Ramones's influence has been cited on such leading acts as U2 and Pearl Jam.

Kitted out in traditional Ramone garb

Arriving in the UK in July 1976 on one of their many tours, the Ramones made little impression on the charts, but their sounds were heard.

The Sex Pistols and The Clash were just two bands who continued the punk revolution in Britain long after the Ramones went home.

Along with such success came the inevitable foibles of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle. After feuding with other band members, Dee Dee eventually departed the group in the late 1980s and documented his drugged excesses in his autobiography "Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones".

And while the band continued without him, Dee Dee ploughed on creatively, first as an unlikely rap artist, and then with his new band Chinese Dragons.

Never the most commercially successful group, the Ramones have enjoyed a long-lasting respect by their musical peers.

Spin magazine this year named them the second greatest band of all time, behind the Beatles.

Inductees at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 2002
Reaction to the loss of lead singer Joey in 2001 highlighted the cultural legacy of the group, and only eleven weeks before his death, Dee Dee and his fellow musicians were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

And this hallowed occasion provided Dee Dee with fresh fruit for his humorous take on the world.

He said, "I'd like to congratulate myself, and thank myself, and give myself a big pat on the back."

He signed off with "Thank you, Dee Dee, you're very wonderful."

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