The connection between punk rock forefather Joey Ramone and stadium rock stalwarts U2 go deeper than one might expect. The Ramones were one of U2’s initial inspirations, with Bono recalling sneaking into a Ramones show in Dublin when he was a teenager. Bono would later learn that, on his death bed, Joey was listening to U2’s ‘In A Little While’ from 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind when he passed away in 2001.
Channelling the moving feeling that came with Ramone’s acknowledgement, U2 decided to pay tribute to the legendary singer by recording the song ‘The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)’. Although the track doesn’t mention Ramone by name in the lyrics, the message of hearing “the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard” from Ramone’s voice was a clear nod to Joey’s massive impact on the band.
However, the track that was originally meant to celebrate the ethos of one of music’s most iconic DIY bands actually wound up epitomising the moment that U2 jumped the shark with an unforgivable corporate stunt. In an act of apparent “generosity”, U2 had their new album, Songs of Innocence, automatically downloaded onto the iTunes accounts of hundreds of millions of Apple users.
Although Apple CEO Tim Cook praised the drop as “the biggest album release of all time”, many users became disgruntled at the fact that the new album was added to their libraries without their consent. Apple didn’t count on the fact that most users had automatic downloads as the default setting on their iTunes account, and the resulting backlash permanently sealed U2’s reputation as a bygone band who forced their music onto millions of listeners who wanted no part in it.
By the time ‘The Miracle’ came out in September of 2014, drummer Marky Ramone was the only member of the band’s classic lineup that was around to hear it. Originally drummer Tommy Ramone had passed away just two months prior, while Dee Dee and Johnny died in 2002 and 2004, respectively.
Check out the video for ‘The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)’ down below.