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Grammys To Finally Recognize Ramones

The Ramones were one of the most influential bands in the history of rock n' roll. The Ramones were one of the most influential bands in the history of rock n' roll.

When the 53rd Grammy Awards are held in February, a handful of artists will receive lifetime achievement awards. Every singer, artist, or group being recognized has previously won a Grammy, except for one band – Ramones. The seminal punk band from Queens, New York, whose three founding members are all now deceased, will finally win a Grammy. Is this a case of better than late than never, or are Grammys irrelevant for a group like The Ramones?

Although the Grammys masquerade as a way of honoring artistic excellence, they have long been much more a recognition of commercial success. How else do you explain a Grammy going to Milli Vanilli (albeit later revoked)? Or Lenny Kravitz winning the same award for four years in a row? Or the Black-Eyed Peas ever winning anything at all?

The Grammys have made some pretty atrocious moves in the past. One of the most notorious examples was awarding Jethro Tull the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 1989, which prompted the band’s own record label to take out a full page ad in Billboard magazine making light of the award. But whatever their sins, omissions and outright mistakes, the Grammys remain a big deal in the music industry, and you can't help but smile at a band like The Ramones getting their due.

The Ramones never had a studio album reach U.S. gold status during their career (a later "best of" eventually went gold). They also never had an album or single in the Top 40. Their highest charting album was 1980’s Road To Ruin, which went to #44.

But in the 21st century, The Ramones’ vast influence is widely recognized, and the band is now beloved by critics, musicians, and the general public alike, none of which has been enough for punks, whose hallmark is anti-establishment, to disown them. That's perhaps the truest testament to the sturdiness of the band’s legacy. From Rolling Stone to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, everyone seems to finally get it. Now, at last, the Grammys are on board, too.

The Ramones helped define the punk rock sound in the ‘70s, playing short, up-tempo, three-chord songs. Tracks like “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” and “I Wanna Be Sedated” are among the Ramones’ most recognizable, and are widely considered classics, not only of punk, but of rock n’ roll.

Other 2011 lifetime achievement awards at the 53rd Grammy Awards will go to Dolly Parton, Julie Andrews, and The Kingston Trio (another group who, like The Ramones, wore matching outfits while performing short, simple, formulaic songs aimed at common folk). Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee won’t be there, but nevertheless, it will be memorable to see The Ramones get a moment in the sun at the music industry’s most prestigious ceremony.


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The Ramones influenced several generations of rockers and popstars by stripping down their punk rock classics to the essentials.
Last modified on Thursday, 18 October 2012 18:07

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