Wednesday, October 3, 2007
We Want the Airwaves
Another similarity between the Beatles and the Ramones: Both bands worked with Phil Spector (and we can add End of the Century ["Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?] to the My Aim Is True list), although in my opinion, adding a sax section to the Ramones is about like adding Bootsy Collins to Nick Drake.
They might have benefited from Spector on "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg," though. Spector produced John Lennon's "Instant Karma," which was cut in the studio the same day it was written, and released ten days later, although I seem to remember a story saying it was on the radio that night. Lennon claimed that he "wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we're putting it out for dinner."
The Ramones could have used that kind of immediacy in May 1985, when Ronald Reagan laid a wreath at the Nazi soldiers' cemetery in Bitburg, West Virginia, an event that impelled Joey Ramone to write his furious rejoinder, which the band cut in that summer of 1985, but didn't release until May 19, 1986, a year after the Reagan visit. (Staunch Republican Johnny Ramone insisted that the U.S. single be called "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down [Bonzo Goes to Bitburg]," but we here at OPC prefer to call a spade a spade, and we have no desire to subject ourselves to Republican political correctness.)
Anyway, Phil Spector managed not to kill any of the Ramones or any of the Beatles, and I suppose we should be grateful for that.