Ramones - Rocket To Russia (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Rocket To Russia (1977)

Sire Records

It wasn't that often that a punk band (especially so early on) would release two albums in the same year. The Ramones’ Leave Home came out on January 10, 1977 and later that year their third album Rocket To Russia was released on November 4th. You really couldn’t got wrong with the first three Ramones albums (the ones with Tommy playing drums) and that is even true today. All of them contain undeniable punk rock classics. The band made rock barebones again. There was no need for the incredibly self-indulgent rock that was being payed on the radio back then and that was what made the Ramones especially stand out.

Rocket To Russia is not only iconic for its track list, but also its cover. It’s just a picture of the band in their black leather jackets, ripped up jeans and sneakers — a wardrobe that you are still bound to see on someone at punk show in 2017. It is also a testament to the era that the Ramones were active in. The title and album art on the back is classic Cold War-era Americana.

Tracks such as “Rockaway Beach,” “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker,” “I Wanna Be Well” and “Teenage Lobotomy” would achieve legendary status in the punk world almost immediately. They would become absolute classics. Joey signature to-the-point singing was quite the contrast from what was popular in 1977 mainstream music and Joey’s hard-hitting guitar play and Dee Dee’s bass playing changed the way those instruments were played. The would later be said about Tommy’s drumming. The music on this album was very inviting because of its simplicity. To the youth it was something new and rebellious and that was what made the band so special back then (and now). The Ramones also continued recording covers on this album like “Surfin’ Bird” and “Do You Want To Dance?” In typical Ramones fashion, they just stripped these songs down and made them their own. The fact that they actually covered “Surfin’ Bird” showed that they didn’t take themselves too seriously at this point in the band’s career as well.

There is no question that punk rock owes a lot to the Ramones. It is why we colloquially call certain bands “Ramones-core.” They were that influential. They changed the course of music quite dramatically and we still feel the effects of it today. Rocket To Russia holds a special place in the band’s discography though. It contains some of their most important songs that influenced generations of fans and musicians that played punk ruck, metal, grunge and so on. The music world owes a lot to the Ramones especially for their album Rocket To Russia. It is one of those few legendary records that draws you into the world of punk rock and it is hard to resist.