Drummer Tommy Ramone, born Tom Erdelyi, the last of the founding members of the seminal 1970s punk band The Ramones, has died. He was 65.
An announcement on the band’s Facebook page said Ramone died on Friday at his home in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. Ramone had been in hospice care for bile duct cancer, NPR has confirmed with Peter Erdelyi, Tommy’s brother.
Entertainment trade publication Variety writes that Ramone “played on the first three epoch-making Ramones albums, ‘Ramones’ (1976), ‘Leave Home’ (1977) and ‘Rocket to Russia’ (1977). He also co-produced the latter two albums with Tony Bongiovi and Ed Stasium, respectively. He appeared on and co-produced the 1979 live Ramones opus ‘It’s Alive.'”
“The band, whose members adopted a last name used by Paul McCartney to reserve hotel rooms in the Beatles years, were known for their bowl haircuts, ripped jeans and less-than-polished musical style.
“The four-member Ramones came out of Queens with limited musical skills, but by 1976, their staccato riffs and full-frontal garage rock assaults began to make their mark on British punk musicians. The band has been acknowledged by many as the inventors of punk rock.”
Reuters adds that the band “had limited chart success but deeply influenced scores of musicians who would go on to form bands such as the Clash, the Sex Pistols, Nirvana and Green Day.”
“They were seen as masters of minimalist, under two-and-a-half minute tunes played at blistering tempo, such as ‘Blitzkrieg Bop,’ ‘I Wanna be Sedated,’ ‘Rockaway Beach,’ and ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker.’ ”
The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
[An earlier version of this story had Ramone’s age incorrectly as 62.]