Tommy Ramone 1952–2014
Drummer/producer Tommy Ramone, the last surviving original member of the Ramones, died July 11 from bile duct cancer. He was 62. Ramone was born Erdelyi Tamas in Budapest, Hungary, in 1952 but spent his formative years in Queens, N.Y., where he eventually formed the Ramones with guitarist John Cummings (aka Johnny Ramone), Jeffrey Hyman (lead singer Joey Ramone) and Douglas Colvin (bassist Dee Dee Ramone). Tommy Ramone played on the first three Ramones albums — Ramones (1976), Leaving Home (1977) and Rocket To Russia (1977), the latter two of which were co-produced by Ramone with Tony Bongiovi and Ed Stasium — before leaving the group to concentrate on studio work. The band would help spark the punk rock movement in the mid-’70s, ushering in stripped-down rock basics and a do-it-yourself ethic. They became highly influential for other bands scrapping for a place in an increasingly corporate music world. The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Their self-titled debut was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2007. The band received a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, which Tommy Ramone was on hand to receive, but it came after the deaths of Joey Ramone from lymphoma in 2001, Dee Dee Ramone from a 2002 drug overdose and Johnny Ramone from prostate cancer in 2004. "As the last surviving member of the original Ramones lineup, his sad passing is truly the end of an era, or as the group would say, 'the end of the century,' said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "However, his and the group's viable and enduring legacy serves as a potent reminder of why their work still is, and will remain, so influential."