The Ramones Play New Year’s Eve Concert in London, 1977

Before the Clash, before the Sex Pis­tols, there were the Ramones. The mot­ley group from For­est Hills, Queens ignit­ed the punk move­ment, first in New York and lat­er in Lon­don, with an image and sound that cut to the core of rock and roll: jeans and leather jack­ets and two-minute songs played one after anoth­er at break­neck speed. As the band’s biog­ra­phy at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Web site says:

The Ramones revi­tal­ized rock and roll at one of its low­est ebbs, infus­ing it with punk ener­gy, brash atti­tude and a loud, fast new sound. When the punk-rock quar­tet from Queens hit the street in 1976 with their self-titled first album, the rock scene in gen­er­al had become some­what bloat­ed and nar­cis­sis­tic. The Ramones got back to basics: sim­ple, speedy, stripped-down rock and roll songs. Voice, gui­tar, bass, drums. No make­up, no egos, no light shows, no non­sense.

On Decem­ber 31, 1977, the Ramones played a clas­sic show at the Rain­bow The­atre in North Lon­don. The music was pre­served on the 1979 album It’s Alive, con­sid­ered by many to be the best live album from the punk era, and a por­tion of the show was lat­er includ­ed in the film Ramones: It’s Alive 1974–1996.

The 26-minute film ver­sion (above) con­tains exact­ly half of the 28 songs on the album:

  1. Blitzkrieg Bop
  2. I Wan­na Be Well
  3. Glad to See You Go
  4. You’re Gonna Kill That Girl
  5. Com­man­do
  6. Havana Affair
  7. Cretin Hop
  8. Lis­ten to My Heart
  9. I Don’t Wan­na Walk Around With You
  10. Pin­head
  11. Do You Wan­na Dance?
  12. Now I Wan­na Be a Good Boy
  13. Now I Wan­na Sniff Some Glue
  14. We’re A Hap­py Fam­i­ly

The set list draws on mate­r­i­al from the band’s first three albums: Ramones, from ear­ly 1976, and Leave Home and Rock­et to Rus­sia, both released in 1977. The Ramones are still in their clas­sic line­up here, includ­ing Joey Ramone (Jef­frey Hyman) on vocals, John­ny Ramone (John Cum­mings) on gui­tar, Dee Dee Ramone (Dou­glas Colvin) on bass and Tom­my Ramone (Thomas Erde­lyi) on drums. Tom­my Ramone quit play­ing drums for the group a few months lat­er. Ramones: It’s Alive cap­tures one of the great­est rock and roll bands of all time at their absolute zenith. It’s a great way to get the New Year’s par­ty rolling. Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Clash Live in Tokyo, 1982: Watch the Com­plete Con­cert

The Ramones, a New Punk Band, Play One of Their Very First Shows at CBGB (1974)

The Ramones’ First Press Release: We’re Part Musi­cians, Den­tists & Degen­er­ates (1975)

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