It was 45 years ago today when the Ramones played their first-ever gig. Appropriately enough, it was at the club that would become synonymous with the New York punk rock movement, CBGB. On August 16, 1974, the Ramones, dressed in black leather motorcycle jackets and Converse hi-tops, took the stage for their first live gig. They were the opening act for a band called Angel and the Snake, who eventually became Blondie. One eyewitness to the scene was music journalist Legs McNeil, the future co-founder of Punk magazine. “They were all wearing these black leather jackets. And they counted off this song…and it was just this wall of noise,” McNeil later recalled. “These guys were not hippies. This was something completely new.” The guys responsible for this new sound were Douglas Colvin, John Cummings, Thomas Erdelyi and Jeffrey Hyman, better known to the world as Dee Dee, Johnny, Tommy and Joey Ramone. The Ramones’ sound didn’t even have an agreed-upon name until McNeil’s magazine codified the term “punk rock” in 1975. After their historic August 16th performance, the Ramones stardom skyrocketed and the band quickly became a punk rock phenomenon. The band’s 1976 self-titled debut album inspired groups like the Sex Pistols and the Clash to adopt a similarly loud and instinctive approach.
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