Remembering Joey Ramone

On this day in 2001, Punk pioneer Joey Ramone, singer of The Ramones, died at age 49 after losing a long battle with lymphatic cancer. On November 30, 2003, a block of East 2nd Street in New York City was officially renamed Joey Ramone Place. Gibson takes a look back: Joey Ramone never sang on a Top 10 hit and his band never scored a platinum album. But that gangly guy in the leather jacket became a full-blooded rock and roll icon, even before his death on this day in 2001. There is no name more synonymous with American punk rock than Joey Ramone.

Of course, he wasn't actually named Joey or Ramone. Jeffry Ross Hyman was born on May 19, 1951 to a married couple in New York City's Queens borough. Family life wasn't easy for young Jeffry, whose parents divorced when he was a kid. He was awkward socially and an outcast at school, often retreating into the safety of pop music. His musical interests were encouraged by his mother, Charlotte, and Jeffry became a big fan of The Who, The Beatles, David Bowie, The Stooges and Phil Spector-produced tunes.

When he was about 20, Jeffry became the lead singer of a glam rock band named Sniper. A couple of years later, in 1974, a pair of fellow Queens musicians John Cummings and Douglas Colvin invited him to join a band they were forming. Soon Douglas took the moniker Dee Dee Ramone in tribute to Paul McCartney's use of the name Paul Ramon in the early days of The Beatles. Dee Dee convinced the other two guys to follow suit, as well as name the band The Ramones. John became Johnny Ramone and Jeffry became Joey Ramone. more on this story

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