Founded Famous Punk Rock Band
Tommy Ramone, founder and last original member of the punk rock band, The Ramones, died at his Ridgewood home last Friday, July 11, at the age of 65.
According to published reports, he succumbed to complications of bile duct cancer and had been under hospice treatment at his Willoughby Avenue residence.
Born Tome Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, Tommy Ramone emigrated with his parents to the U.S. in 1957 and settled in Forest Hills. He would go on to join three other Queens musicians in forming a rock band that gained a huge following for its loud, blunt and rebellious style.
Long before The Ramones took the stage, Tommy Ramone joined guitarist and fellow Forest Hills High School classmate, John Cummings (who would later be known as Johnny Ramone), to form a garage band the Tangerine Puppets.
The Ramones came together in the early 1970s with Tommy and Johnny Ramone joined by two other Forest Hills High School grads: Jeffrey Hyman (who became lead singer Joey Ramone) and Douglas Colvin (who became bassist Dee Dee Ramone). Tommy played drums and, under the appropriately titled Loudmouth Productions label, coproduced The Ramones’ first three albums: Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia.
“The Ramones are an original rock and roll group of 1975, and their songs are brief, to the point, and every one a potential single hit,” according to a brief biography published by Loudmouth Productions announcing the band’s introduction-with Tome Erdelyi of 65-35 Yellowstone Blvd. in Forest Hills serving as its press contact.
They sounded “not unlike a fast drill on a rear molar,” as noted in the biography, and-wearing leather jackets, long hair and blue jeans- looked the part of loud rock rebels.
In a 2007 interview with BBC, Tommy Ramone stated the band was inspired by another locally-based rock band of the early ’70s-the New York Dolls-as well as singer Lou Reed and pop art icon Andy Warhol. They got their big break, and first recording contract, after performing at the famous CBGB club in Lower Manhattan.
Tommy Ramone is credited with writing “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” which appeared on the same album with “Blitzkrieg Bop.” The latter song, co-written by Tommy and Dee Dee Ramone, is arguably the band’s most well-known hit.
After three albums, Tommy Ramone left the band to concentrate on music production from behind the scenes. Marc Bell (a.k.a. Marky Ramone), took his place in the band.
Along with coproducing The Ramones’ 1984 album “Too Tough to Die,” Tommy Ramone produced The Replacements debut album “Tim” in 1985 and punk rockers Redd Kross’ “Neurotica” in 1987.
In his later years, Tommy Ramone would broaden his musical spectrum, as he began producing bluegrass music with his long-time girlfriend, Claudia Tienan, as the duo “Uncle Monk.”
The Ramones disbanded completely in 1996, and its founding members would each suffer tragic fates that led to their untimely deaths. Joey Ramone died of lymphoma in 2001, followed a year later by Dee Dee Ramone, who succumbed to a drug overdose. Johnny Ramone lost a battle with prostate cancer in 2004.
Tommy Ramone is survived by Tienan and an older brother. Funeral arrangements were private.