Tommy Ramone, the last living original member of the legendary New York punk rock band The Ramones, has passed away at 65. Tommy, the band’s original drummer and one time manager, lost his battle with cancer of his bile duct.
According to Billboard, Tommy was born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary in 1949, and emigrated with his family to Queens, New York in 1959. Tamas joined up with friends John Cummings, Jeffrey Hyman, and Douglas Colvin and adapted the “Ramones” gimmick as they burst on the surging New York punk scene in the 1974. Tamas took the name “Tommy,” Cummings, the guitarist, became “Johnny,” Colvin, the bassist, took the name “Dee Dee,” and Hyman became “Joey” and sang lead, and together, The Ramones became synonymous with the burgeoning sub-genre of angst-filled rock music fueled by 1950s rock sounds and counter-culture mentalities.
The Ramones were known to wear black leather jackets and sunglasses and they all dyed their hair black to give the perception that they were biological brothers.
The Ramones were a mainstay at New York’s infamous CBGB Nightclub and went on to record such iconic hits as “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend,” and “Rockaway Beach.” Tommy left the band in 1978 after recording three albums on the Sire record label and was replaced on drums by Marky Ramone (real name: Marc Bell). Tommy moved into the management side and managed the band through the remainder of the 1970s.
In addition to managing, Tommy Ramone as began producing, and worked on the Ramones’ eighth studio album, Too Tough to Die, in 1984m and he also produced The Replacements 1985 masterpiece, Tim.
According to Variety, The Ramones split up for good in 1996, and Tommy was the last living original member after Joey died in 2001 from lymphoma, Dee Dee in 2002 from a drug overdose, and Johnny in 2004 from prostate cancer.
The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Author Stephen King was known to have been a huge fan of the band and credits their work as an influence while writing such hit novels as Salem’s Lot and Pet Sematary. King used snippets of their songs in his works, and The Ramones even wrote and recorded a song for the film adaptation of Pet Sematary in 1989.
A biographical film about The Ramones was also reportedly in the works, according to Joey’s widow, Linda, but the feature has yet to move forward.
Tommy Ramone is survived by his long time partner, Claudia Tienan, and an older brother.