Ramones - Leave Home (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Leave Home (1977)


The first three Ramones albums are punk rock perfection. Any one of them could easily be considered the band’s best without much argument. That being said, you could certainly make a strong case for the band’s second album, 1977’s Leave Home.

The songs for Leave Home were written right after the songs for Ramones, and were recorded in the order they were written. They had most of the ferociousness of the debut, but definitely showed more sophistication and musical growth. The individual tracks were catchier and poppier, and were also aided by a slicker production than Ramones. At first glance the songs don’t seem as dark as the ones on their debut, but first glances can be deceiving.

Leave Home had a few instant, indisputable classics. “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” was the first of many songs about (the lighter side?) of mental illness. “Pinhead” was an anthem for anyone who had ever felt like an outsider. “Commando” picked up where “Blitzkrieg Bop” left off. “California Sun” was the band’s first stab at recording a cover, but it felt like a natural fit. “You Should Never Have Opened That Door” had a horror movie vibe similar to “I Don’t Wanna Go Down to the Basement”.

“Carbona Not Glue” was an answer to “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”, and turned out to be the most controversial track on Leave Home. The song was pulled from later pressings, but not for the reason you would expect. It wasn’t because it was about getting high from a dangerous inhalant, it was because Carbona was a corporate trademark and the label feared being sued. The song was replaced on later versions by “Babysitter”, then “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”. Fortunately, “Carbona Not Glue” is back on more recent reissues.

On Leave Home, Joey was further able to embrace his role as a hopeless romantic. Opener “Glad to See You Go” might have said otherwise, but “I Remember You” and “Oh Oh I Love Her So” back to back and “Swallow My Pride” a little later really drove the point home. “Suzy is a Headbanger” was the most adventurous track to date, pushing into previously unexplored musical territory. Songs like “Now I Wanna Be a Good Boy” and “You’re Gonna Kill That Girl” were the kind of dumb fun that Ramones fans had come to expect.

So much has already been written about the first three Ramones albums in general, and Leave Home specifically. The songs have been picked apart and analyzed to death. You should definitely know every track on this LP. It’s an essential piece of any decent punk record collection. The proof is right there in the grooves. Ultimately, hearing is believing. Listening to these songs will put a smile on your face. That’s worth far more than a million positive words by some pinhead critic.