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Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Rewind: 1978 Road To Ruin - Ramones

 Road To Ruin - Ramones
Sire 
Produced by Tommy Ramone and Ed Stasium
Released 22nd September 1978
US Chart #106
UK Chart #32

Personnel
    Joey Ramone – Lead vocals
    Johnny Ramone – Lead guitar
    Dee Dee Ramone – Bass guitar, Backing vocals
    Marky Ramone – Drums


Track Listing
Side 1

I Just Want to Have Something to Do
I Wanted Everything
Don't Come Close
Needles and Pins
I'm Against It

Side 2
I Wanna Be Sedated
Go Mental
Questioningly
She's the One
Bad Brain
It's a Long Way Back 


The fourth studio album from NYC's Ramones and the first with new drummer Marky Ramone (Marc Bell). He had previously been in the brilliant Richard Hell and the Voidoids. Tommy had stepped out from behind the kit to focus on production (which was his intent when they got together in the first place). Three weeks after Marky joined he was in the studio recording the follow up to Rocket To Russia.

There was a more poppy sound to this album than the previous three, which was a topic for great discussion (and still is) among fans of the band. This has ballads and goodness me, is that Acoustic Guitars I can hear? Doesn't exactly sound what we envisage a punk rock album to be like! But, I have to say I do have a fondness for Road To Ruin. The only track I'm not overly keen on is Bad Brain (that one seems to be mentioned by loads of reviewers as a weak link). It does contain a few of their classic songs that have stood the test of time: I Just Want To Have Something To Do, I'm Against It, I Wanna Be Sedated and She's The One. Interesting choice of cover version as well - Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche's Needles and Pins. The song had been a minor hit in the US for Jackie DeShannon in 1963 and then in 1964 it was a #1 single for The Searchers (and hit #13 in the US). I can understand why it was chosen because Joey especially had a real fondness for 1960's pop and whilst it was a bit leftfield for the Ramones I think they pulled it off great (it was a hundred times better than the version Smokie had done!).

"Road to Ruin reflected not just the Ramone's enduring love for Sixties pop, but a nagging desire to expand beyond the confines of 120 seconds in search of a new vocabulary of harmonic hooks, albeit linked to the guitar-crunching sonics established on their first three albums."
— Tommy Ramone

What should have been one of their biggest albums "was a flop Stateside, even though it had been a very deliberate attempt to secure American radioplay" (Tommy Ramone). Outside of their homeland it faired better as they reached their highest position in the UK album chart with it (#32, though End of the Century in 1980 would surpass that by peacking at #14). Critical acclaim for the album would be a long time coming though among the fans (especially the ones I know) it is looked upon quite fondly.

Muiskladen, Bremen
13th September 1978

Winterland, San Franciso
28th December 1978

Singles From Road To Ruin
  1. Don't Come Close / I Don't Want You
    Released: 1978 UK Chart #39
  2. Needles and Pins / I Wanted Everything
    Released: 1978
  3. She's the One / I Wanna Be Sedated
    Released: 1979
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