"For me, it blows everything else off the radio." - Robert Christgau
The rock critics of the time loved them. The label had high hopes for them. But their debut LP Ramones failed to set the charts alight. The now-iconic LP spawned two singles, Blitzkrieg Bop and I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend, neither of which dented Billboard's Hot 100.
Recorded for a paltry $6,400 and containing 14 songs, the longest of which (I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement) barely surpassed two and a half minutes, the album was full of their now-legendary stripped-down fuzz-guitar no-nonsense punk pop. Writing about the title of Blitzkrieg Bop, rock critic Steve Huey said it was "a nice encapsulation of the group's aesthetic: simple, bouncy pre-British Invasion rock & roll played at top volume and twice the speed. Blaring the same three chords for most of its duration, the song was rock at its most basic." Oh, but what a song. I defy anyone not to join in with "Hey Ho, Let's Go!"
It wasn't until the Ramones briefly toured England in 1976 that they began to see their hard work and incessant gigging pay off. On July 4th they played at the legendary Roundhouse on the same bill as The Flamin' Groovies. Members of the Sex Pistols and The Clash were there, and met them backstage. The rest, as they say, is history.