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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thirty-seven years ago this week the Ramones became A Thing

Thirty-seven years ago this week I first handled a copy of the first Ramones album. I was standing by an import van in South Molton Street in the West end of London.

It looked funny. They looked funny. That look wasn't yet A Thing, as we say nowadays.

We played it in the shop and didn't know whether to be excited by the headlong swing or amused by the comical conciseness. We settled for being both excited and amused.

There they were, already fully formed and, as it turned out, fully developed. It only took one play to get the whole idea, whether you thought that idea was a life-changing manifesto, a brilliant conceptual wheeze or a giant full stop. There was no mystery, nothing to be gained by digging deeper, nothing that grew on you.

Some people loved them. In a way, even though I've got lots of their records, they left me a bit cold. I once spent an afternoon with them in a Chinese restaurant in Cambridge and they were your average, slightly whiny American rock band.

It doesn't matter what I think of their music. Here's the thing I'm thinking thirty-seven years later.

The day before we heard The Ramones we couldn't have imagined them. The day after we heard the Ramones we could no longer imagine the world without them.

Thirty-seven years ago I found a new way of describing things. A bit like the Ramones.