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Music

Watch the Ramones play the 'Spider-Man' theme song in 1995

@TylerGolsen

Today, Spider-Man is all the rage. Whether it’s getting pushed to be considered for Best Picture or leading the charge in pop culture’s new obsession with the multiverse, you could hardly find anyone who hasn’t at least heard of New York’s favourite web-slinger.

But back in 1995, Spider-Man wasn’t the cultural phenomenon that he is nowadays. He was a popular comic book character and the star of plenty of Saturday morning cartoons, sure, but he was hardly taken seriously by the masses. Anyone still riding the U2 wave in the mid-1990s could have hardly guessed that Bono and The Edge would end up writing a disastrous Broadway musical about the superhero, and moviegoers would have been unlikely to realise that in just a few year’s time, Spider-Man would become one of the biggest box office draws of the new millennium.

Do you know who else wasn’t getting their proper due in 1995? The Ramones. For two decades, the Ramones brought the purest form of punk rock to the masses, practically inventing the genre and shepherding it through multiple different eras. But even when bands like Green Day were selling millions of albums, the Ramones were still stuck playing the same dumpy clubs that they had been through for 20 years.

In 1995, the Ramones released their final album, Adios Amigos, and announced that the LP’s supporting tour would be the band’s last. Today, farewell tours are a guaranteed way to drum up major business, but even the promise of one final night with the Ramones wasn’t enough to break them into commercial success. The group played their last show at the palace in Los Angeles on August 6th, 1996, and promptly broke up without fanfare. According to Johnny, the members didn’t even say goodbye.

The final year of the Ramones was mostly focused on the same formula that had been in place for their entire career: tour as much as possible. But while the group were recording Adios Amigos, they also contributed a song to the Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits compilation album. Alongside a number of bands who they had inspired, including Butthole Surfers, Sublime, Wax, and the Violent Femmes, the Ramones stepped up with a cover of ‘Spider-Man’, the theme song to the original 1967 cartoon.

The band even included ‘Spider-Man’ in their final tour’s setlist, blasting out the catchy theme with lightning-fast speed and palpable aggression. That was always one of the Ramones’ secret weapons – a healthy mix of intensity and absurdity. At the band’s final show, ‘Spider-Man’ had a prominent place in the set, right in between the classics ‘I Wanna Be Sedated’ and ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’.

Watch the Ramones play ‘Spiderman’ in a music video for the song down below.