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Jun 222020
 

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

Acid Eaters

People frequently think of the Ramones as being goofball one-trick ponies, fit more for T-shirts than turntables. This grossly misrepresents their point and their purpose, never mind the debt they pay to whole swathes of earlier, largely ’60s music. Like no other punk band, the Ramones brought back the energy and the intuition up into a future (now the past) that both honors and updates those motifs. And this never became clearer than on 1993’s Acid Eaters, where many of the songs sound like they were originals that “da brudderz” wrote. Even if you know the originals forwards and backwards.

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Jun 062019
 
mike love ramones cover

No one knows Mike Love’s place in rock n’ roll history better than Mike Love himself. In his 2016 memoir Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy, Love summed up his legacy perfectly, writing: “For those who believe that Brian [Wilson] walks on water, I will always be the Antichrist.” In a move sure to send the legions of “Love-haters” into fits of online rage, he recently recorded a cover of the Ramones’ “Rockaway Beach.” The track was released as a single in advance of Love’s upcoming solo record 12 Sides of Summer. Continue reading »

Dec 042017
 
weird al ramones

Master of oddball radio Dr. Demento is largely credited with popularizing “Weird Al” Yankovic by being the first DJ to play his music on the radio. The Weird One recently returned the favor by recording an accordion-driven cover of the the Ramones’ “Beat on the Brat” for Dr. Demento’s upcoming Covered in Punk compilation, the second single from that compilation after William Shatner’s version of the Cramps’ “Garbageman”.

Just to be clear, Al’s “Beat on the Brat” is not a parody. Though to be fair, the refrain to the original is so ridiculous that it might as well be a joke. The same could be said for most of the Ramones’ catalogue. For this version, “Weird Al” is backed by punk-rock supergroup Osaka Popstar, which recorded its own version in 2008. Continue reading »

Feb 062017
 
Mirel Wagner

On “I Wanna Be Sedated,” the Ramones sound anything but. Mirel Wagner’s new cover though shows what the song would sound like had the band gotten its wish.

Over spare guitar finger-picking, the Finnish singer delicately enunciates each lyric. It’s about as far from the original as you can get, but it works. Gradually strings and other shimmery instruments enter, courtesy of recently Golden Globe-nominated composer and arranger Benjamin Wallfisch, but the speed never gets above 5 M.P.H. on this one. It would have fit well on our full-album covers tribute to the Ramones’ Road to Ruin. Continue reading »

Jun 012016
 
BoomBoxRepairKitSedated

Boom Box Repair Kit say they want to do for traditional Caribbean music what Gogol Bordello does for Balkan folk, and judging from their riotous new Spanish-language cover of The Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated,” they’re off to a good start. Hailing from the Dominican Republic (now based in New York), the band keeps all the energy of the original while bringing in elements of bachata music – and translating most of the lyrics. It’s been a big year for Ramones fans forty years after releasing their debut record, and this cover is a worthy addition to the celebration. Continue reading »

Aug 072015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

ramones-end-of-the-century

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Phil Spector was supposed to be the gateway to getting the Ramones the airwaves they wanted so badly. Why, with his Wall of Sound production technique and their love of ’60s AM pop covers, theirs was going to be a meeting of the minds that would bear the most amazing fruit. He’d make his great comeback, and they’d make their great breakthrough. So it was written, and so it should have been.

But his perfectionist technique clashed with their one-and-done standards, and his bringing guns to the studio didn’t assure anybody. The sound pulled the Ramones further away from their punk roots, and their songs were weaker (Dee Dee: “Some of the worst crap I ever wrote went on that album”). They’d been reduced to writing sequels to songs on their debut, a sure sign the well had started running dry. When End of the Century was released in February 1980, punk fans the world over learned the sad truth; the Ramones that had left home on a rocket to Russia had come back to earth and landed on a road to ruin. They would spend the rest of their existence as an uneasy combination of working musicians and rock icons, with their days of breaking new ground forever behind them.
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