September 15, 2004 – Johnny Ramone was born John William Cummings on October 8, 1948 and died of prostrate cancer at age 55. He was the rhythm guitarist, songwriter for the Ramones, a New York rock band that held Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status.
A rebel in a rebel’s world, Johnny was raised Queens, N.Y., where as a teenager, he played in a band called the Tangerine Puppets with future Ramones drummer Tamás Erdélyi aka Tommy Ramone. Influenced by the likes of the Stooges and MC5, in 1974 he co-founded “The Ramones”, often regarded as the first punk rock group, with Tommy Ramone, Joey Ramone and Dee Dee Ramone. They went on to perform 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. The Ramones were a major influence on the punk rock movement in the US and the UK, though they achieved only minor commercial success. Their only record with enough U.S. sales to be certified gold was the compilation album Ramones Mania.
Recognition of the band’s importance has built over the years, and they are now cited in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as the Rolling Stone lists of the 50 Greatest Artists of All Time and 25 Greatest Live Albums of All Time, VH1’s 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock, and Mojo’s 100 Greatest Albums and in 2002, the Ramones were ranked the second greatest band of all time by Spin magazine.
Alongside his music career, Johnny appeared in nearly a dozen movies including Rock ‘n’ Roll High School and documentaries. He also made television appearances on such shows as The Simpsons – 1F01 “Rosebud” in 1993 and Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Episode 5 “Bobcat”. In 2003 he was named the 16th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine and in 2009, Time Magazine named named Johnny on its list of the 10 best electric guitarists of all-time. He died after a long battle with prostate cancer on September 15, 2004.