Few bands left a legacy as deep and as lasting as The Ramones.  You literally couldn’t count the number of bands who were influenced by these 4 New York ne’er-do-wells. They created a sound and a look that virtually created a whole genre of music.  Let’s have a listen to one of their classic tracks, “I Wanna Be Sedated”.

“I Wanna Be Sedated” (Jeffrey Hyman, John Cummings & Douglas Colvin) Copyright 1978 Bleu Disque Music Co., Inc and Taco Tunes


This ain’t no Mud Club or CBGB’s– this is the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. My name is Brad Page, and each episode of this show, I pick a favorite song and we poke it and prod it, unearthing all the elements that go into making it a great song. Musical knowledge or experience is not required here, the only prerequisite is a little curiosity and a lot of love for music.

On this edition, we’re digging into a song by the progenitors of punk, the forefathers from Forest Hills– The Ramones and “I Want To Be Sedated”.

The Ramones came together around 1974, when guitarist John Cummings and bassist Doug Covid recruited Jeffrey Hyman to play drums in their new band.

Doug was the first one to change his name. Inspired by a fake name that Paul McCartney used to use, he changed his name to Dee Dee Ramone. He convinced the others to change their names, too. So, John became Johnny Ramone and Jeffrey became Joey Ramone.  It didn’t take long for Dee Dee to realize that he wasn’t any good at playing bass and singing at the same time, so Joey took over lead vocals, and then he realized that he couldn’t sing and play the drums. So their would-be manager, Tommy Erdelyi, changed his name to Tommy Ramone and became their drummer.

They played their first gig in March 1974. Their songs were fast, short and loud. Dressed in black leather jackets, these guys were not Greenwich Village hippies. This was something new. They became regulars at CBGB’s, and in 1975, they signed a contract with Sire Records. They released their first self-titled album in 1976, a total of 14 original songs. The longest song clocking in at a breakneck 2 minutes and 35 seconds. That album is a classic.

They recorded two more albums, but by 1978, Tommy was tired of the relentless touring and left the band. But he would continue to work with them as their producer. They recruited a new drummer, Mark Bell, who had played with Richard Hell, Wayne County, and a band called Dust, and rechristened him Marky Ramone.

They started work on their fourth album, “Road to Ruin”, co-produced by Tommy and Ed Stasium. The Ramones never strayed far from their trademark sounds. But “Road to Ruin” shows just a tiny hint of advancement. There’s some acoustic guitars, short guitar solos, and some of the songs even crack the three minute mark. I think it’s one of their better records, and it contains one of their most enduring songs. “I Want To Be Sedated”.

Their constant touring schedule brought them to London during Christmas 1977. The band was exhausted, and when everything in the city shut down for Christmas, they were stuck at their hotel with nothing to do, nowhere to go. Apparently, after one show, Joey had said to their manager, “put me in a wheelchair and get me on a plane before I go insane”. All of this would work its way into the lyrics to this song.

The song is credited to Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny Ramone. It’s the track that opens side two of the album.

Like so many great Ramones songs, the track kicks off with a bang, with all instruments coming in together.

From what I can tell, there are probably four guitar parts here. There’s a guitar panned all the way to the left and another to the right. It’s possible that that’s just one guitar in stereo, but I think it’s two separate parts. Those guitars are just chugging away on the power chords, while there’s a third guitar in the middle playing in a higher register. Then there’s another guitar, also in the center channel, playing a twangy single note part, Dwayne Eddy-style. This is a good example of how multiple, pretty simple guitar parts can be layered together to create one big guitar sound.

Let’s take a listen to Joey’s vocal. There’s some classic 1950’s Sun Studio style echo on his voice.

And let’s check out the bass and the drums.

And that guitar break is even simpler than it sounds.

And here’s a key change.

And the hand claps return for this final section.

And that one note guitar part comes back here, too.

The Ramones – “I Want To Be Sedated”

The Ramones recorded over a dozen albums of original material. None of the records were that commercially successful. The band struggled their entire career. It’s so ironic that now that the band has long since broken up and all the original members are gone, now they’re probably more well-known than ever. They still probably sell more t-shirts than records. I bet half the people wearing Ramone’s t-shirts barely know anything about the band. But there’s no question how important they are in the history of rock and roll and how influential they were. Spanning decades, they inspired the British punks in the ‘70’s well as bands like Nirvana in the 90’s. It’s just a shame the guys didn’t live long enough to enjoy this success.

Joey Ramone died from lymphoma in 2001. Dee Dee died from a heroin overdose in 2002. It was prostate cancer that took Johnny Ramone in 2004, and Tommy died from cancer in 2014. But Marky Ramone, who plays drums on this song, is still with us today.

And that will do it for this episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. New episodes are released on the 1st and the 15th of every month, so I’ll be back with you in about two weeks with a new show. You can find all of our previous episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon, Google, pretty much anywhere where podcasts are available. And of course, they’re all on our website too: Lovethatsongpodcast.com.

Keep in touch with us on Facebook, just search for the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast, or on Podchaser, where you can leave reviews and comments and feedback.

This show is part of the Pantheon family of podcasts, where you’ll find plenty of other great music related shows to check out.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the “I’m In Love With That Song” podcast. Remember to support the artists you love by buying their music. Take a few bucks out of your pocket and buy that album, that CD, or those m p three files. Now everybody sing along, as the Ramones play us out with “I Want To Be Sedated”.


The Ramones


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Wayne County

Dust (Band)

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