From The Clash to Black Flag: Johnny Ramone’s Top 10 Greatest Punk Bands
Ramones may well be one of the most influential acts of rock history. The group inspired countless other acts with their back to basics approach and DIY ethos. They were, in many ways, the archetypal punks. It seems fitting then that the group, or at least Johnny Ramone, should have his say on the greatest punk bands of all time.
The creative force behind much of the imperious work with the Ramones, the controversial guitarist Johnny Ramone created a career out of thrashing out three chords to his latest moment of adolescent discontent revisited.
He, along with his adopted family of bratty brothers, in many ways invented the punk genre in the depths of New York’s underground scene. So when we stumbled across his top ten lists with New Yorker Magazine, we were keen to see what his view on the genre he spawned was.
The lists are comprised of a host of different interests for the guitarist. While the lists are varying, some make more sense than others. For example, while one is a list of Johnny’s top 10 Eighties Ball Players (Ricky Henderson coming out on top) there is another solely dedicated to books on Elvis (The Last Train to Memphis by Peter Guralnick coming out with the gold there). It’s an interesting gauge on a turbulent character.
Johnny also gives his top 10 singers (Elvis, naturally, the winner) and most curiously for those not aware of Johnny’s political leanings, his top 10 Republicans (Former President Ronald Reagan getting the emphatic “hey-ho” of approval). Find the full list of lists here. The latter list is the reason for most people’s turmoil when it comes to Johnny Ramone, that and his treatment of lead singer Joey. But it’s hard to deny the guitarist’s nous for a punk tune.
The above may be fun for a giggle or two, and we implore you to make your own all-encompassing list titled “Top 10 of all time” as the Ramone has (Johnny’s features Baseball, rock and roll, and politics—if you hadn’t guessed), but we were really concerned about was how the emancipated Godfather of punk ranked his underlings.
The list, perhaps in accordance with our previous sentence, is headed up by Johnny’s own band the Ramones, which is actually hard to argue with considering their groundbreaking movements for the genre. Next up are the British parentage of the punk sound with spots for the Sex Pistols and The Clash.
Ramone also picks up Buzzcocks and underrated influence on the rock scene as well as a doff of the cap to The Cramps, The Dickies and Black Flag. Completing the list with New York uber-cool stalwarts Dead Boys and The Heartbreakers and you have yourself a top 10 that is hard to argue with.
It’s a comprehensive list for which we have created one hell of a playlist. Taking each of the bands mentioned’s first album, this could well be one of the brattiest playlists around.