Looking back at the life and career of the founding member, songwriter, bassist and occasional lead vocalist for the Ramones, Dee Dee Ramone
Remembering Punk icon Dee Dee Ramone on his 70th Birthday
Dee Dee Ramone was born Douglas Glenn Colvin on September 18, 1951 in Fort Lee, Virginia, U.S, he was the son of an American soldier and a German woman. Dee Dee was a founding member, songwriter, bassist and occasional lead vocalist for the Ramones. He was initially the band’s lead vocalist, though his (then) inability to sing and play bass at the same time resulted in original drummer Joey Ramone taking over the lead vocalist duties (however, he still sang lead vocals in the band on occasion). Dee Dee was the band’s bassist and songwriter from 1974 until 1989, when he left to pursue a short-lived career in hip hop music under the name Dee Dee King. He soon returned to his punk roots and released three solo albums featuring brand-new songs, many of which were later recorded by the Ramones. It was Dee Dee who first suggested naming the band the Ramones, after reading that Paul McCartney often signed into hotels under the alias “Paul Ramon”. He added an ‘e’ to the end of that surname and the band members all agreed to adopt the surname “Ramone” as a means of conveying their unity.Dee Dee wrote or co-wrote much of the Ramones’ repertoire, such as “53rd and 3rd” (a song about male prostitution at 53rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, allegedly based on personal experience), The band became the most successful American Punk band having developed a cult worldwide during their early years that lasts to this day. They released their debut “Ramones” in 1976, their second album “Leave Home” and their third “Rocket To Russia” in 1977, these 3 records are considered seminal Punk Rock masterpieces and contains a string of Ramones best and most memorable songs such as “Blitzkrieg Bop”, “Beat On The Brat”, “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”, “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment”, “Rockaway Beach”, “I Don’t Care”, “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” and “Teenage Lobotomy” among many others. In 1991, Dee Dee was briefly involved with transgressive punk rock singer-songwriter GG Allin, playing the guitar with Allin’s backup band the Murder Junkies. His involvement lasted approximately one week, enough for him to be briefly interviewed during the filming of Todd Phillips’ Allin documentary Hated: GG Allin and the Murder Junkies. In the film, Dee Dee reveals that he was unaware of the band’s name, even after joining. and he never actually played a live gig with the band. Dee Dee was also a special guest at the final Ramones show at the Palace in Los Angeles on August 6, 1996, performing the lead vocals on the song “Love Kills”.Dee Dee Ramone was found dead on the evening of June 5, 2002, by his wife Barbara at his apartment in Hollywood. An autopsy established heroin overdose as the official cause of death. He had been booked to perform at the Majestic Ventura Theater, which ended up being a memorial show in his honor.
Watch the Ramones performing “I Don’t Care” live in 1979 with Dee Dee Ramone’s back vocals
Listen to some of Ramones best songs compiled by Pop Expresso on Spotify
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