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Archive for the ‘Motörhead’ Category

Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio? “The Ramones Heard Them Here First” Arrives

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Ace Records is cheering “Gabba gabba hey!” with the recent release of The Ramones Heard Them Here First, an overview charting the influences behind New York’s seminal punk pioneers.  Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy didn’t exactly try to hide their inspirations when they included a cover of Chris Montez’ 1962 hit “Let’s Dance” on their debut long-player Ramones in 1976 and over the years, they continued to tip the hat to rock and roll heroes from The Ronettes to The Beach Boys.  The new compilation includes the original versions of twenty-four songs covered by Ramones between 1976 and 1995’s Adios Amigos, and as such, is a rollicking stew of pop, rock, bubblegum, and psychedelic sounds absorbed by the Forest Hills foursome (plus later members Marky, C.J. and Richie).

When Ramones arrived on Sire Records, it signaled a return to, and a celebration of, primal rock and roll after the excess of progressive rock and the glitz of disco.  Primitive in its execution but colossal in its ambition, Ramones distilled the previous, pre-Woodstock era of pop-rock into fast and ferocious two-minute nuggets.  Though their productions weren’t as polished or immaculate as those they worshipped, they captured the same energy that turned teenagers onto the rebellious art form two decades earlier.  A classic example of a band whose influence far outweighed its sales, the group continued to recognize the past even as it flirted with subjects like Nazism, violence, drug use and prostitution.  (No hippy-dippy peace-and-love for these boys!)  And even though the surname “Ramone” was adopted by all members, they shared a common “less is more” sensibility that made them a true, if dysfunctional, band of brudders.

Many Ramones albums, including their first five, featured amped-up AM radio-style “cover” songs, many of which appear here.  Compilation producer Mick Patrick has arranged the tracks chronologically in the order that the songs appeared on a Ramones set.  So “Let’s Dance” is followed by The Rivieras’ “California Sun,” covered on 1977’s sophomore effort Leave Home, then by The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” and The Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance,” both aired on Rocket to Russia.  (“Do You Wanna Dance,” of course, was originally written and recorded by Bobby Freeman, but it’s likely that the immaculate, Brian Wilson-produced, Dennis Wilson-sung version was The Ramones’ go-to choice.)  1978’s Road to Ruin featured a take on Jack Nitzsche and Sonny Bono’s “Needles and Pins,” which is also reprised here in its hit version by The Searchers.  But the band’s biggest success on 45 in the U.K. came from 1980’s controversial End of the Century, in which Phil Spector took the production reins.  That hit single was a recording of Spector’s own “Baby, I Love You,” which he originally produced for The Ronettes, and the album itself also became the band’s highest-charting stateside.  The immortal, Ronnie Spector-led track (arranged by the aforementioned Nitzsche) represents the band’s brief association with Phil Spector.  Following End of the Century, a number of albums were recorded of entirely original Ramones compositions, among them Pleasant Dreams (1981), Too Tough to Die (1984), and Animal Boy (1986).

There’s lots more Ramones-mania after the jump, including an order link and complete track listing with discographical annotation! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

September 26, 2012 at 10:10

Read ‘Em and Weep: Motörhead Plan Collector’s Mega-Box in the U.K. (UPDATED 2/21)

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Add another name to the super-deluxe-box set pile in 2012: Motörhead. London’s biggest badasses, through Sanctuary Records in the U.K., are prepping a 16-disc collector’s set – one that’s heavy on artifice, if not necessarily revelatory in terms of content.

The Complete Early Years features CDs of all the band’s major releases from 1977 to 1984, from their iconic albums (Motörhead (1977), Overkill (1979), Bomber (1979), Ace of Spades (1980), the live No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith (1981), Iron Fist (1982) and Another Perfect Day (1983)) to a handful of non-LP singles and EPs and 1984’s No Remorse double-disc compilation. All reports have touted the set as a CD and vinyl box set, and while it’s unclear as to what will be featured on the latter format, the package photo shows what looks like a 7″ single amid the CDs (in wallet-style slipcases) and extra swag. The icing on the cake for fans is likely the package itself: a massive replica of the band’s iconic “War-Pig” logo.

Unfortunately, it seems the only audience the set exists for are new, extremely curious fans with deep pockets. All of these albums have been previously reissued with not only all the non-LP content contained herein but additional B-sides and live and studio vault material, making the set far from complete. And with a jaw-dropping price tag – $617.41 on Amazon, with no sign of the set on Amazon’s U.K. pages – one could argue you’d have to be as crazy as band frontman Lemmy Kilmister to snap up a copy.

Whatever your take, the box is to be released on February 21, and you can view its contents after the jump.

UPDATE: Much like Elvis Costello, Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister has spoken out against the price of the box. “Unfortunately greed once again rears its yapping head,” the singer said in a statement. “I would advise against it even for the most rabid completists!”

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Written by Mike Duquette

February 21, 2012 at 12:55