Happy Birthday: Tommy Ramone
Today we celebrate the birthday of Thomas Erdelyi, the man who was – prior to adding the words “dearly departed” to his name on July 11, 2014 – the last surviving original member of The Ramones.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Tommy wound up as the drummer of The Ramones not because he particularly wanted the gig – he was originally tapped to be the Ramones’ manager and nothing more – but because the band’s original drummer, Joey, couldn’t keep up with the tempos of the band’s songs. Mind you, according to Dee Dee Ramone, there was another key reason that Tommy ended up sitting behind the drum kit: “Nobody else wanted to.”
Tommy played on The Ramones’ first three albums – that, of course, would be the eternal trifecta of RAMONES, LEAVE HOME, and ROCKET TO RUSSIA – and he can also be heard on the band’s first live album, IT’S ALIVE. After the band’s May 4, 1978 performance, however, Tommy set down his sticks and walked away from the band…as a member, anyway. That same year, he produced the band’s ROAD TO RUIN album, and in 1984 he returned to the fold to co-produce their album TOO TOUGH TO DIE, and the critical consensus seemed to be that his presence provided the band with their strongest LP in several years.
Over the years, Tommy produced a few other bands who’d clearly drawn inspiration from his former band, including The Replacements and Redd Kross, but now and forever he’ll always be remembered as a Ramone.
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