If you ask any rock critic what the most important and influential American rock band is, there’s a good chance they will respond with “The Ramones.” Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy did all of rock and roll a great service by eradicating two of the biggest barriers that kept average Americans from being rock stars – good looks and technical abilities.
Just as Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships, The Ramones were the sound that launched a thousand bands. They showed the world that anyone could start a band, and by doing so opened some serious sonic floodgates. Other early American punk bands that cite the leather-clad quartet as a major influence include Black Flag, Bad Brains, The Misfits, and The Descendents, to name a few. Even heavier bands such as Metallica and Motorhead have given nods to The Ramones as inspiration.
The Ramones plowed through a career spanning three decades, all the while never straying from the initial groundwork laid on their self-titled debut LP. They never achieved a great deal of fame while they were active, but it didn’t matter. To these four mop-topped lads from Queens being in a band was their job. Despite playing on stage hundreds of nights a year, touring the globe, and pumping out fourteen full length studio albums, The Ramones always remained working class and saw themselves as such.
The Ramones are inextricably linked to some of the most pervasive aesthetic and design choices of their time. The seminal LPs by the band all feature instantly recognizable cover art, from the stark black and white band photo on the first self-titled album to the comic drawing of the band on the front of Road To Ruin. Their logo by Arturo Vega is one of the most instantly recognizable of any band to ever exist. Vega was with The Ramones for their entire run as their official creative director. During this time, he churned out countless designs for the band and often was in charge of their stage lighting. With millions of fans around the globe, it’s no surprise that there are some seriously badass Ramones tattoos out there.
These pieces are just the tip of the iceberg as far as cool Ramones tattoos go. We could easily run nothing but Ramones tattoos for a couple weeks. And we'd be fine with that. The Ramones stuck to their simple formula their whole career, maybe we could take a cue from their playbook.