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Music

Watch the Ramones play 'Judy Is a Punk' in 1977

@TylerGolsen

It’s hard to think of a more out-of-place venue for the Ramones to have been playing in 1977 than Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert. Created by the titular music manager in 1973, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert was both a cutting edge American television programme and a reminder of a bygone era. While Kirshner’s assistance on live performance helped reduce the large amount of lip-syncing going on in television at the time, the show also quickly became dedicated to the monolithic sounds of cheesy 1970s rock music.

So what the hell were the Ramones doing there? Well, the band’s record label Sire Records had previously been devoted to keeping the first wave of British classic rock alive through compilation albums, so they had at least a cursory connection to Kirshner’s orbit. It likely took a bit of glad-handing from Sire head Seymour Stine, but hey, why couldn’t the Ramones be the next major label superstars of the day?

The answer was because they were utterly uncompromising in their style. The glitzy lights and bright colours of the Rock Concert stage were anathema to the Ramones’ style – too Gonzo and aggressive to fit in, but too serious about their music to do any winking at the fact that they were playing on the same stage as Aerosmith and the Doobie Brothers.

Despite being obvious aliens to the studio they were playing in, the Ramones still brought the heat with a crackling version of ‘Judy Is a Punk’ from their self-titled debut album released a year prior. With Tommy, Dee Dee, and Johnny pounding away like a well-oiled machine, Joey barks out the song’s über-basic lyrics in rapid-fire style. Although they could be famously slapdash in their earliest gigs, the Ramones were now tight, compact, and ready to attack.

For the most part, the audience seems stock still and unmoved by the Ramones’ power. But down in front, you can see quite a few heads bobbing and banging to the Ramones’ signature brand of punk rock. As was their wont, the band didn’t even give the audience a chance to react before barrelling full speed into their next number ‘Loudmouth’. If any of the members of the audience wanted to voice their displeasure, the immediate “One two three four!” shout from Dee Dee never gave them the chance.

Check out the Ramones’ performance of ‘Judy Is a Punk’ down below.