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BLITZKRIEG BOP

BLITZKRIEG BOP: THE TOP 10 RAMONES MEMORABILIA SALES

Camden Roundhouse poster

(Image: Christie's)

On July 4, 1976 The Ramones played one of the most influential gigs in punk rock history. The band were in London, supporting The Flamin' Groovies at The Roundhouse in Camden, in front of one of their biggest-ever crowds.

Amongst that crowd were dozens of musicians, writers and other movers and shakers in the UK's burgeoning punk scene. They all came away from the gig with the same idea: play faster.

Compared to the headline act, who'd originated in 60s San Francisco, The Ramones blazed through their songs at a thousand miles an hour and perfectly illustrated the gap between musical generations. According to the NME's review, The Ramones "took over the hippy Roundhouse and reduced it to the hottest, sleaziest garage ever".

The Roundhouse gig almost single-handedly sped up the tempo of British punk rock overnight, giving it the aggressive energy that would genuinely scare the establishment (for a little while at least). This original poster for the seminal gig, a landmark moment in punk rock history, sold at Christie's in 2008 for $3,750.

Rock and Roll High School poster artwork

(Image: Heritage Auctions)

In 1979 The Ramones appeared in the cult Roger Corman musical Rock 'N' Roll High School .The film sees rebellious students battle against teachers who want to burn their rock 'n' roll records, led by Ramones fan Riff Randell. Having taken over the school, the kids then invite The Ramones to play and become honorary students, before finally blowing up the building once and for all.

The original artwork for the film's poster, by noted illustrator William Stout, sold at Heritage Auctions in 2015 for $6,875.

Joey's record collection

(Image: RR Auction)

An RR Auction sale in 2013 featured numerous items from the estate of Joey Ramone, with lots including his personal record collection. Joey's collection showed off his eclectic tastes, ranging from heavy metal to opera, but showed a surprising lack of records by his punk contemporaries.

Some of the artists in the list included The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Cheap Trick, Barbra Streisand, KISS, David Essex, The Modern Lovers, The Righteous Brothers, Motorhead, Led Zeppelin, The Human League and Luciano Pavarotti.
The full collection of 101 records sold at RR Auction in 2013 for $6,543.

Road to Ruin cover artwork

(Image: Bonhams)

Road to Ruin was the band's fourth album, and the first following original drummer Tommy Ramone's departure. Recorded in 1978, the album saw The Ramones expand their musical style to include guitar solos and even ballads – a move which some fans saw as a cynical attempt to get more airplay. However, the album also produced one of the band's most famous tracks, I Wanna Be Sedated, written by Joey after he was hospitalised during a tour by an exploding tea kettle.

The original artwork for the album cover was created by Ramones fan Gus Macdonald, and then altered by Sire records to replace Tommy with the band's new drummer Marky Ramone. Macdonald's original illustration for the cover, along with a copy of the $50 cheque he received for his work, sold at Bonhams in 2013 for £5,000.

Joey's passport

(Image: RR Auction)

The RR Auction sale in 2013 also offered Joey Ramone's passport, signed in his real name Jeff Hyman. The band all changed their names to 'Ramone' when they formed in 1974, partly inspired by Paul McCartney's use of the pseudonym Paul Ramon during his Silver Beatles days.

The numerous stamps on the passport revealed the band's rigorous touring schedule in the 1980s, with work permits attached for Britain, Japan, Argentina, Italy, Brazil, Denmark, the Bahamas, Canada, Norway, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It sold for a final price of $12,454.

Platinum record

(Image: Julien's)

The Ramones eponymous debut album, released in 1976, in regarded as one of the most influential rock 'n' roll records of all time. According to Generation X bassist Tony James, "Everybody went up three gears the day they got that first Ramones album. Punk rock—that rama-lama super fast stuff—is totally down to the Ramones."

The album was initially unsuccessful, selling just 6,000 copies in its first year and reaching No. 111 on the US Billboard 200. However, it was critically acclaimed, with the NME's Nick Kent stating "As a punk artefact, it separates the men from the boys". It has since sold more than 500,000 copies in the US, and more than 1 million copies around the world. This presentation 'platinum' record award for the album's worldwide sale, originally presented to Sire Records, sold at Julien's in 2008 for $12,500.

Dee Dee's 1978 Fender Precision bass

(Image: Christie's)

This Fender Precision Bass, circa 1978/79, was given by Dee Dee Ramone to a fan during a concert at The Venue in London on November 19, 1981.

The gig was the last of the band's 1981 European Tour, and was christened the Midnight Madness Show. A few songs into the show, Dee Dee began having technical problems with his guitar and tossed it into the crowd, causing "instant mayhem".

It was acquired by a fan who waded into the scrum shouting '"Security", causing the crowd to part and the last man standing to simply hand him the guitar. He then left the crowd fuming by wandering back to his spot and watching the rest of the show, carefully clutching his sneakily-claimed prize.

The lucky owner kept the guitar for 30 years before consigning it to auction with Christie's in 2011, where it sold for £10,000 ($16,400).

Joey's leather jacket

(Image: RR Auction)

The Ramones were known both for their stripped back sound and their iconic look, including the standard-issue leather jacket and sunglasses.

This custom-made black leather jacket belonged to Joey Ramone, and featured the extra detail of pocket flaps, shoulders and cuffs finished in genuine zebra skin. It was sold as part of Joey's estate at the RR Auction sale in 2013, where it fetched $18,184.

Johnny's last guitar

(Image: Christie's)

This white Mosrite Ventures II guitar was Johnny Ramone's last guitar, the only one he kept after The Ramones disbanded in 1996. The Ramones released their final album Adios Amigos in 1995, and performed their last shows together the following year during their own final tour and the 1996 Lollapalooza tour.

Johnny played this guitar on stage throughout both tours, and later in an appearance with Pearl Jam in July 1998 where he joined them in a cover of 'The KKK Took My Baby Away'.

The guitar bears the inscription “This is the last guitar played on stage which was in 1998.....Los Angeles, also used on Lollapalooza 1996, Johnny Ramone, 5/11/01” on the neck and “"Gabba Gabba Hey" Johnny Ramone” on the back.
Having initially been given to Ramone's friend, actor Vincent Gallo (who gave Johnny a shrunken head in return), the guitar later sold at Christie's in 2012 for £22,500 ($34,785).

Johnny's red Mosrite V1 guitar

(Image: RR Auction)

Throughout his life Johnny Ramone owned just nine Mosrite guitars, playing them at over 2,000 gigs around the world. Of all these guitars, only one of them was red – this 1965 Mosrite Ventures V1 guitar, used by Johnny throughout the 1980s.

He acquired the guitar around 1982, and played it consistently until 1990, using it during TV appearances including a performance on MTV in 1998. Johnny then sold the guitar to friend and former Ramones band driver Gene Frawley, signing it “Best always, Johnny Ramone, 5/22/90.”

As a unique guitar from Johnny Ramone's collection, bearing the rock 'n' roll battle scars of heavy stage use, this red Mosrite Ventures V1 sold at RR Auction in 2015 for a record price of $71,875.

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