Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Ramones Songs – Rolling Stone
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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Ramones Songs

Picks include ‘Beat on the Brat,’ ‘Rockaway Beach’ and ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’

Johnny Ramone, Tommy Ramone and Joey Ramone of the Ramones

Howard Barlow/Redferns

To the untrained ear, every Ramones song sounds exactly the same. They're all fast, short, wickedly funny and deceptively simple. But the hardcores know the truth: no two songs are the same. "Wart Hog" sounds nothing like "Judy Is a Punk," and "I Remember You" is about as far away from "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" as one can imagine. The Ramones worked like maniacs for 22 years, and spent the vast majority of that time toiling in obscurity. Nobody was paying attention to them in the Eighties and early Nineties, but they were out every night putting on amazing shows. Sadly, it wasn't until they started dying off that they suddenly became cool agian. We asked our readers to vote for their favorite songs, and the response was huge. Click through to see the results. 

By Andy Greene

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4. ‘Bonzo Goes to Bitburg’

On May 5th, 1985 a political firestorm erupted when President Ronald Reagan laid a wreath at a West German cemetery where 49 Nazis were buried. "What Reagan did was fucked up," said Joey. "Everybody told him not to go, all his people told him not to go, and he went anyway. How can you fuckin' forgive the Holocaust?" Joey and Dee Dee wrote the scathing "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" about the incident, though Johnny was none too pleased with his band bashing the Republican icon. They compromised by calling the song "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes to Bitburg.)" Critics loved the song, but it failed to make much of an impact in the States. 

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3. ‘Sheena Is a Punk Rocker’

Everyone around the Ramones thought "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" was finally going to be their breakthrough hit. "I played it for Seymour Stein," said Joey. "He flipped out and said, 'We gotta record this song now.' It was like back in the Fifties – you'd rush into the studio because you thought you had a hit, then put it right out. To me, 'Sheena' was the first surf-punk rock-teenage rebellion song. I combined Sheena, the Queen of the Jungle, with the primalness of punk rock." Despite Seymour's confidence, the song stalled at number 81. It came out at a time when the media was obsessed with the Sex Pistols, and to many people punk was a British phenomenon. They didn't realize it those bands were just copying New York rock bands.  

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2. ‘Blitzkreig Bop’

The first song on the first Ramones album is arguably their single most famous work. Although it didn't make much of an impact at the time, "Blitzkreig Bop" is everywhere these days, from video games to commercials to baseball stadiums. Oddly enough, Dee Dee drew inspiration from the Bay City Rollers' mega-hit "Saturday Night." They chanted "S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y," and Dee Dee turned that into "Hey, ho, let's go!" He got help on the track from Tommy Ramone. "I wanted a rallying song," the drummer said. It was played at basically every Ramones concert for 22 straight years, and today its many uses across advertising and movies has generated quite a bit of income, though only Tommy is alive to enjoy it. 

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1. ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’

When Joey Ramone wrote the lyrics for "I Wanna Be Sedated," he was not joking. The band was on tour in New Jersey in 1977 when the singer badly burned his face and chest with scalding water from a vaporizer he was using soothe his throat. He somehow finished the show, then went to the hospital with second and third degree burns. They pulled a bunch of shows while he recovered, and when they returned to the road in Europe he was still in constant pain. "I Wanna Be Sedated" was scribbled down in London around Christmas, and the band cut it for their 1978 LP Road to Ruin. Needless to say, it didn't make any sort of impact on the charts, but today it's one of their most played songs on the radio. Joey often cited it as his single favorite Ramones song, and many fans feel the same way.