Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!
The Ramones‘ second album, Leave Home, didn’t have the element of surprise that their first had, but that’s about the only difference between the two. Once again, fourteen songs accounted for a half hour of humor, menace, and sweetness, a surprising combination that worked perfectly well when delivered at full force.
Leave Home was loaded with songs that would become classics, and sounded like nothing else in the musical world – but therein lay the problem. Joey later explained that “we thought since our music was doin’ something unique that everyone would pick up on that. What really happened was we were so alien that no one wanted to touch us. And so we wouldn’t get played.” They would spend the next few years fighting to change that perception, a fight that would eventually drain them of much of their energy.
But nothing drained Leave Home of its power, and bands regularly return to its deep, deep well to cover its songs. Here are a Ramones’ dozen of them.
MP3: Moped Lads – Glad to See You Go (The Ramones cover)
The Moped Lads are a Swedish band, and they closely follow the Ramones religion, right down to each band member adopting the surname Moped. They kick this collection off with a good four sticks of TNT behind them, covering “Glad to See You Go” in seventy-eight seconds, complete with false ending.
MP3: Per Gessle – Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment (The Ramones cover)
Another Swede, Per Gessle is best known for his work in Roxette (four number one singles in the US alone). His solo career has seen him release three Ramones covers of the highest quality. His version of “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” sounds like an outtake from Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend. If you like this, “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” and “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” are well worth seeking out.
MP3: U2 – I Remember You (The Ramones cover)
Four months before Joey Ramone died, U2 performed a warm-up gig at New York’s Irving Plaza and dedicated a cover of “I Remember You” to him. “There was an element of nostalgia for us playing a club in New York,” the Edge later said. “It took us back to where we had started and the Ramones reference was to acknowledge the influence they had on us.” Indeed, as teenagers they auditioned for their first TV appearance with a cover of “Glad to See You Go.”
MP3: Tracy Thornton – Oh Oh I Love Her So (The Ramones cover)
Tracy Thornton got his start drumming for hard rock and heavy metal bands, but soon found his tastes in percussion becoming more exotic. Switching to steel drums, he went on to become one of the leading players of the instrument in America, and in 2006 he recorded a unique tribute album, Pan For Punks…A Steelpan Tribute To The Ramones. It may be a bit of a novelty, but you’ve got to admit, it’s fun hearing the percussion carry the melody of “Oh Oh I Love Her So” at full speed.
MP3: The Spazzys – Carbona Not Glue (The Ramones cover)
“Carbona Not Glue” had to be removed from Leave Home when it was discovered that Carbona was not just a stain remover, but a corporate trademark, and that the Ramones risked an infringement lawsuit. But in 2001, the album re-release included “Carbona,” so apparently all was forgiven. This cover comes from the Spazzys, an all-girl band from Australia with Ramones running through their veins. They’ve adopted their band name as a surname, like the Ramones and the Moped Lads before them. They also have an original song titled “I Wanna Cut My Hair Like Marky Ramone.”
MP3: Mary Tylosaur – Suzy Is a Headbanger (The Ramones cover)
The Ramones wrote about women in their songs in a way few other bands of the time did, celebrating them as individuals who did their own thing, rather than as clinging attachments to a male punk’s arm. “Suzy Is a Headbanger” is a good example of this, and the wonderfully named Mary Tylosaur endorse that view with their gently respectful cover.
MP3: Shonen Knife – Pinhead (The Ramones cover)
In some circles, Shonen Knife is just as legendary as the Ramones. This all-girl Japanese band turned their cheerfully rudimentary musical skills into a hugely influential asset. They’re also major Ramones fans, and celebrated their 30th anniversary by releasing Osaka Ramones, an all-Ramones tribute album. “Pinhead” closes the album and seems to include the same pinhead-spoken passage at the very end that the original had.
MP3: D.F.C. – Now I Wanna Be A Good Boy (The Ramones cover)
D.F.C. stands for Distrito Federal Caos, and their cover of “Now I Wanna Be a Good Boy” appears on O Massacre da Guitarra Eletrica. You guessed it: Another non-USA band influenced by the Ramones. This one’s from Brazil, but you’ll find no hint of the samba sound here; this is metal all the way.
MP3: Thee Headcoatees – Swallow My Pride (The Ramones cover)
Thee Headcoatees were the UK’s premiere all-girl garage-punk group in the ’90s, and that encompasses a larger segment of the musical population than you might think. With their cover of “Swallow My Pride” including heavily echoed handclaps and surf-style drums, it sounds more like a cover of song by some ’60s West Coast wonders instead of the kings of ’70s Noo Yawk punk.
MP3: Black Tambourine – What’s Your Game (The Ramones cover)
We actually featured this cover of “What’s Your Game” a few years ago, when Black Tambourine reunited to release their Ramones covers EP OneTwoThreeFour. If you like their twee-pop take of “What’s Your Game,” you’ll definitely want to check out the rest of the record.
MP3: The Saw Doctors – California Sun (Joe Jones / The Ramones cover)
If you always thought that the Ramones were covering the Rivieras when they did “California Sun,” well, you’re not exactly wrong, but the Rivieras’ version was also a cover – Joe Jones got there first, three years earlier. The Saw Doctors bring their trademark rockin’ Irish lilt to the song, bringing it all back home by changing the lyric from California to Connemara partway through.
MP3: Metallica – Commando (The Ramones cover)
When Johnny Ramone was curating the Ramones tribute album We’re a Happy Family, he asked Metallica to contribute. They agreed and recorded half a dozen Ramones songs; “53rd and 3rd” was the one that wound up on the album, while the rest came out as B-sides on their “St. Anger” single. They all manage to sound like they could have always been Metallica songs – no mean feat, making a Ramones composition your own by rocking it harder. “Commando” is just one example of how they did it.
MP3: Hellstomper – You’re Gonna Kill That Girl (The Ramones cover)
Hellstomper gives “You’re Gonna Kill That Girl” a crusty country sound that wouldn’t sound out of place as one of the last numbers played at the end of a long night at the Boar’s Nest. Goes down even easier with a little bourbon, and even easier than that with a little more.
MP3: Ty Segall – You Should Never Have Opened That Door (The Ramones cover)
Ty Segall makes “You Should Never Have Opened That Door” into a one-man stomper, singing in a dread-filled yelp that fits the song perfectly. It doesn’t just sound like it belongs on the soundtrack to a low-budget horror movie – it is a low-budget horror movie, one that keeps unspooling and won’t stop projecting onto the back of your mind even after it’s over.
‘Leave Home’ is available at Amazon.