http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/c2969486e7a9e61073ec4bee4cfc6ced1fe57fa8.jpeg Too Tough To Die

The Ramones

Too Tough To Die

Sire Records
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 4 0
November 22, 1984

The Ramones' eighth studio album is an exhilarating summation of all that they do so well, from the classic thrash of "Mama's Boy" and "Human Kind" to the big-beat balladry of "I'm Not Afraid of Life." But Too Tough to Die is also a significant step forward for this great American band: along with such better-than-ever neck whippers as "Daytime Dilemma (Dangers of Love)," they also essay a supercharged rockabilly one-off called "No Go" and a greasy, proto-garage grinder called "Planet Earth 1988," not to mention the muscularly seductive "Chasing the Night," in which the lads finally come to terms with synthesizers (with Dave Stewart of Eurythmics and Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison manning the keyboards). There's even a first-ever instrumental called "Durango 95" — an unadorned riff that clocks in at less than one minute. And in the yowling "Wart Hog" and the superbly snotty "Endless Vacation," two instructive missives to the hardcore hordes, Dee Dee Ramone demonstrates just who it was who turned on the Sex Pistols in the first place. The sound throughout is thunderous: in the wake of two previous liaisons with unsuitable producers, the bulk of this LP was recorded virtually live in the studio by Ed Stasium and original Ramones drummer Tommy Erdelyi. And along with the boys' ever-present pop smarts — note particularly the hit-worthy "Howling at the Moon (Sha-La-La)," a track produced by Stewart — you also get a strong undertow of angry social consciousness (especially pointed on Dee Dee's "Planet Earth 1988"). In short, Too Tough to Die is a return to fighting trim by the kings of stripped-down rock & roll. Don't miss it.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “American Girl”

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

    It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

    More Song Stories entries »