June 5, 2002 – Dee Dee Ramone (the Ramones) was born Douglas Glenn Colvin on September 18, 1951 in Fort Lee, Virginia. While an infant his family relocated to Berlin, Germany, due to his father’s military service. His father’s military career also required the family to relocate frequently. These frequent moves caused Dee Dee to have a lonely childhood with few real friends. His parents separated during his early teens, and he remained in Berlin until the age of 15, when he, along with his mother and sister Beverley, moved to the Forest Hills section of New York City, in order to escape Dee Dee’s alcoholic father.
Soon after he met John Cummings and Thomas Erdelyi and together they formed 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 wrote or co-wrote most 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), “Glad to See You Go” (written about his then-girlfriend, a stripper and fellow drug user with a volatile personality), “It’s a Long Way Back to Germany”, “Chinese Rock” and “Wart Hog” (a song Dee Dee wrote in rehab) from 1974 until 1989, when he left to pursue a short-lived career in hip hop music under the name Dee Dee King.
After he quit the Ramones, Dee Dee continued to write songs for them, contributing at least three songs to each of their albums. He had many projects including a brief hip hop career as rapper “Dee Dee King” with the album Standing in the Spotlight and the band I.C.L.C, who in 1994 toured 22 countries over a 10-month period, to promote the I Hate Freaks Like You album.
Dee Dee struggled with drug addiction for much of his life, particularly heroin. He began using drugs as a teenager, and continued to use for the majority of his adult life. He appeared clean in the early 1990s but began using heroin again some time later. He died from a heroin overdose on June 5, 2002. He was 50 years old.