Birthday: May 19, 1951
Died At Age: 49
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: Jeffrey Ross Hyman
Born in: Forest Hills, New York, United States
Famous as: Lead vocalist of the punk rock band the Ramones
Quotes By Joey Ramone
father: Noel Hyman
mother: Charlotte (née Mandell)
Died on: April 15, 2001
place of death: New York, New York, United States
U.S. State: New Yorkers
Diseases & Disabilities: Schizophrenia
education: Forest Hills High School
awards: 2002 - Native American Music Award for Best Pop/Rock Album of the Year
Joey Ramone was the founder of “Ramones,” the first punk band of America. Clad in leather jacket, torn jean and adorned with sun glasses and singing in a youthful and energetic voice, he gave his band a typical punk image. His favorite bands include “The Who,” “The Stooges,” and “The Beatles.” He named his band “Ramones” the stage name initially used by Paul McCartney, the lead singer and songwriter of “The Beatles.” During his teens, he used to play in the clubs of New York under the stage name of Jeff Starship. He was a recluse during his school days and he was emotionally upset when his parents were divorced. He suffered due to obsessive compulsive disorder and took refuge in music, initially as a drummer and later as a vocalist. His unique rock and roll style got him the credit as “the voice of punk rock in America," from “allmusic.com.” The Ramones ruled the music arena of United States for over two decades performing 2,263 concerts. In spite of their popularity, the group could neither produce any hits ranked within 40 in the US charts nor achieve stardom; this led them to disband after 22 years of the inception.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on May 19, 1951, as Jeffrey Ross Hyman, in a Jewish family, to Charlotte Lesher and Noel Hyman, who lived in Forest Hills, Queens. Popular musician and writer Mickey Leigh is his younger brother.
His father and mother did not get along well and they were divorced in the early 1960s. This separation deeply affected young Jeffrey who became a recluse and outcast in his neighborhood.
His mother married again and later lost her second husband in a car accident. His mother instilled the interest for music in him and his brother who also became a singer later.
He was educated at Forests Hill High School and here he got associated with Douglas Colvin and John Cummings who later became the band mates of “Ramones”.
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He started playing drums at the age of thirteen. In 1972, he joined “Sniper,” a punk band and played under the stage name, Jeff Starship. He later became its lead singer.
In 1974, he founded the ‘Ramones’ when ‘Sniper’ replaced him with Alan Turner as its singer. The band mates of ‘Ramones’ were his school friends, Johnny Cummings and Douglas Colvin.
The friends adopted the stage name ‘Ramone’ with Johnny Cummings becoming Johnny Ramone, the guitarist, Douglas Colvin as Dee Dee Ramone, the singer, and Hymon as Joey Ramone. Joey remained as the band’s guitarist.
Later when Dee Dee Ramone’s vocal cards were strained, Joey became the vocalist and the manager Thomas Erdelyi became the drummer. The ‘Ramones’ played at the CBGB, a club in the New York City.
The ‘Ramones’ were able to attain popularity in the rock and roll style by 1976. They toured around UK and were recognized as the pioneers in the punk rock and pop culture.
In 1977, the ‘Ramones’ signed with Seymour Stein’s ‘Sire Records’ and released the albums ‘Leave Home’ and ‘Rocket to Russia’. The band gave 2,263 concerts and toured around continuously for 22 years.
In 1994, he released ‘In a Family Way’ along with his brother Mickey Leigh. It was an EP released under his brother’s band, ‘Sibling Rivalry’.
The ‘Ramones’ were not able to achieve stardom in spite of their hard work. In 1996, after giving a final performance at the Lollapalooza music festival, the band disbanded.
After the breakup of ‘Ramones’ he worked as a radio DJ for some time. In 1999, he worked with Ronnie Spector and released the EP, ‘She Talks to Rainbows’, which was critically well received.
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He made his last recording for the Dine Navajo rock group ‘Blackfire’. It was recorded under the CD titled, ‘One Nation Under’”
He was considered as a countercultural icon. His tracks ‘What Do You See’ and ‘Lying to Myself’ were released posthumously in a 2002 CD that was selected as the Best Pop/Rock Album of the Year.
His solo album titled, ‘Don't Worry About Me’ was also released posthumously in the year 2002. The singles from it ‘What a Wonderful World’ won the Louis Armstrong Standard.
Awards & Achievements
The albums ‘The Ramones’, ‘Leave Home’, and ‘Rocket to Russia’ are hailed as punk rock classics. Out of this, ‘The Ramones’ was ranked 33 in the Rolling Stone Magazine’s listing of 500 greatest albums.
The ‘Ramones’ were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. The next year the Rolling Stones Magazine listed the band as the second greatest rock band after ‘The Beatles’.
Personal Life & Legacy
He was never married as he was born sterile. He had a girl friend by name Linda who was enticed by his own friend and band mate Johnny who married her later.
He was extremely tall and suffered due to obsessive compulsive disorder that made him behave odd. This made his school mates ridicule him and he remained a recluse.
He died of lymphatic cancer on April 15, 2001 at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital after fighting it with for seven years. He breathed his last while listening to the song ‘In A Little While’ by U2.
Before his death, he had started working on a record with guitarist Daniel Rey, bassist Andy Shernoff, and drummer Frank Funaro. In 2002, the record was collected and published posthumously as ‘Don't Worry About Me’.
This rock hero of the ‘Ramones’ was often engaged in disputes with fellow band mate and guitarist Johnny Ramone. Their dispute grew to height when Johnny married the girlfriend of this punk hero.
This “hippie” of ‘Ramones’ was involved in anti-Apartheid campaigns. In 1985, he joined the ‘Artists United Against Apartheid’ protest against the Sun City resort and vowed not to give any performance in the resort.