Johnny Ramone downstroke guitarist
Punk rocker Johnny Ramone was one of the ten greatest electric guitarists of all time.
His rapid downstroke guitar style was described by recording engineer Ed Stasium as unparalleled. “Johnny makes it sound simple,” he said, “but I can’t do it, and I bet Eddie Van Halen can’t. Not for an hour!”
Born John Cummings in New York City on October 8, 1948, Johnny founded The Ramones, the first true punk rock group, and a pioneer in the genre.
All the band members went by stage names that ended with the surname Ramone, although none of them was related.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Johnny, a close friend of Nicolas Cage, appeared in a dozen films, including Roger Corman’s Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, and in documentaries.
Lisa Marie Presley recorded a cover of the Ramones’ song ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow’ on her 2005 album Now What.
HE DIED WHILE RECORDING FOR LISA MARIE
‘Johnny Ramone picked me to sing Here Today, Gone Tomorrow,’ Lisa Marie wrote in the liner notes. ‘Johnny was one of my best friends, and I promised him before he passed away that I would include that song on my record. He was very sick but wanted to play the guitar on it. While we were recording the basic track, he died.’
Johnny died on September 15, 2004, in Los Angeles after a five-year battle with cancer. He was 55. His autobiography, Commando, was released in 2012.
‘It is a powerful book because he knows his life is coming to an end,’ his wife Linda said in an interview with Billboard Magazine. ‘That is the biggest thing, writing a book when you know you’re dying.’
‘Surfin’ Bird’ 1977
— Video by Hardly Ramone
— Video by Kara Marie