Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've actually heard "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" on AM radio. It was right when it came out, and more progressive AM stations were still trying to figure out if new wave (and poppier punk), was do-able. A short lived L.A. radio station (the call letters escape me) played it, not in regular rotation, but I did hear it once, and that particular listen is what made me smile today. Just the thought of it. Given that the only reason I went to L.A. back then was to see a show somewhere, I was probably on my way up, with a stops at Tommy's (or Powerburger), Turner's Liquor (as seen on the cover of Sweet's Desolation Blvd), Licorice Pizza and Tower Records ahead of me. After all that, the Whiskey, or the Masque. It's no wonder I have warm fuzzy associations with that song. Never mind the fact that it is the perfect summer song. In my book, nothing else comes close. Not the Beach Boys, Dick Dale, surf music, bossa nova, or reggae. Nope, I'm not having any of it.

So I went digging. There's some oddities, and a few you've probably heard a thousand times. One thing that gets me is how well the early Ramones' stuff is suited for radio, particularly top 40 (does it still exist?). "Sheena...", "Rockaway Beach," and "Do You Wanna Dance" are perfect radio songs. Surprisingly, the Phil Spector produced "Do You Remember Rock n' Roll Radio" falls short. The man who owed his career to mastering the hit single formula was not a good fit. Whatever the early Ramones' magic was, be it their simplicity or their production, it really worked. The first three LPs, The Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, had everything working. Along with the fore mentioned songs, there's a few later covers down there, including Creedence's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?," the Trogg's "I Can't Control Myself," and (one I think is unreleased) a cover of the Stone's "Street Fighting Man." Among the rest of the stuff is a 1975 demo, and near the bottom, a couple covers of "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," one by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, and the other by Josie Cotton.

If you don't know this LP like the back of your hand, come back when you do.

The Ramones - Sheena Is A Punk Rocker mp3 at 41 Media
The Ramones - Rockaway Beach mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu
The Ramones - Do You Wanna Dance mp3 at Killed By Death
The Ramones - Do You Remember Rock n' Roll Radio mp3 at Midwestern Housewives
The Ramones - Judy Is A Punk mp3 at Plain or Pan
The Ramones - Judy Is A Punk (1975 demo) mp3 at Plain or Pan
Joey Ramone & Ronnie Spector - Bye Bye Baby mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu
The Ramones - Have You Ever Seen the Rain mp3 at Le Blog de Grande Chose
The Ramones - I Can't Control Myself mp3 at EMBL (?)
The Ramones - Street Fighting Man mp3 at Luvhouse
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Sheena Is A Punk Rocker mp3 at MFR
Josie Cotton & Brats on the Beat Singers - Sheena Is A Punk Rocker mp3 at Indie Rock Heaven

No comments: