Going Through A Tight Wind

It really is no exaggeration to say that my life changed on 6 April 1990, it changed for the better but it did change.  That was the day that the Ramones debut LP dropped through my letterbox*.  I’d dabbled with the Ramones before, I had a taped copy of a compilation of their tracks and I loved all the poppy ones like ‘I Wanna be Sedated’ and ‘The KKK Took my Baby Away’ and the later rocky ones like ‘Warthog’, but this was the first one of my own.  I remember getting it home, marvelling at it’s beautiful marbley vinylness, putting it on and … things changing.


Even though I knew some of the tracks that first listen was like taking a rollercoaster.  It was all so fast to me, I remember clutching at bits of melody, phrases almost as if to steady myself.  I became obsessed with this LP, I still am actually – in fact if pushed I can honestly say it is my favourite LP and if only allowed to keep one in some future dystopian vinyl crisis the other 1536 can go.  In fact I can go better than that I can tell you what the best 5 seconds of music ever made are.  Well since you’re kind enough to ask, it is the 5 seconds of feedback which segues ‘I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You’ and ‘Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World’.  I can remember lying in bed at university with this on my Walkman, volume cranked up to a point where it was probably keeping people awake next door, just listening to that feedback – where the band kick in for ‘Today..’ just felt like a slap, but good.  This is how much I like Ramones.

After this LP everything I was listening to just felt old and slow, even though it was mostly 12 years newer.  It was the genius way in which the Ramones condensed everything, the lyrics for example.  Their very best tracks were usually two phrases over and over – they made their point and stopped; it killed Marillion for me for years.

I don’t wanna walk around with you
I don’t wanna walk around with you
I don’t wanna walk around with you
So why you wanna walk around with me?
I don’t wanna walk around with you

It’s all you need, anything else is just baggage.


I won’t go through this one track-by-track you probably own it too, but my absolute favourites are ‘Havana Affair’ which is the closest Johnny ever came to playing a guitar solo, their cover of ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’ which once went on a mix tape for Mrs 1537, before I’d ascended to that title.  In fact I love the soppiness that sometimes seeps out of Ramones amongst all the circus geeks, punks, stormtroopers and psychotic hustlers; sometimes I think it is this fact alone that kept them so far ahead of all the thousands of bands that have copied them, others may have the chops but not the heart to do it properly.  Which is why Joey was so essential, I remember my shock the first time I saw them at just how tall and fragile-looking he was.

Like I said everything on this LP is not just good but brilliant, the pronunciation of ‘massacre’ as ‘massacree’ (so as to rhyme with ‘took my baby away from me’), Judy and Jackie in ‘Judy is a Punk’ which was followed up brilliantly by Tom Waits in ‘The Return of Jackie and Judy’, the horror-movieing of ‘I Don’t wanna go Down to The Basement’, as well as the extraordinarily raw ’53rd and 3rd’.  To my mind you couldn’t either add or subtract anything to it to make Ramones better and that as far as I am concerned is the dictionary definition of perfection.

I also saw the lyrics to ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ for the first time in my life today, I looked them up when I was thinking about a title,

They’re forming in straight line
They’re going through a tight wind
The kids are losing their minds
The Blitzkrieg Bop

I’d always heard the rhyme the thousands of times I have listened to this as,

They’re going through time lines

The kids are using land mines

So a little portion of my life has changed again, today.  Did I mention just how much I love this LP yet?


198 Down.

*well not quite, because we lived up a 1/2 mile farm track, the postman used to leave the post in this shed by the church at the bottom of our track and I used to run down to pick it up and run back up again after – sometimes twice if I mistimed it.  The high I used to get from that sense of anticipation from the jog back clutching my latest purchase is probably why I’m writing this now.


12 thoughts on “Going Through A Tight Wind

  1. Love ’em. I met Joey in a pub in Kensington once… and not wanting to sound too much like Del Preston… I’ll keep it short. Drum technician introduced us, we all got pissed and went back to their hotel. I got on the guest list but was too hungover to see the show the next day.
    Joey spoke about as much as my tortoise and moved in a similar way.

  2. The simplicity of it all! At almost the same time, I was just discovering Wire’s Pink Flag which proved that even arty punk didn’t have to get fussy with multi-minute instrumental sequences. You’ve got an excellent best-of choice there!

    To top it off: the photo? That captures exactly the quality of UK/Europe (old/new mixed with lush) that is so difficult for me to describe to the less-traveled around me. Beautiful and, possibly, to become part of the background slide show on my computer.

    1. Thank you again. I forgot to mention the fact that guitars & vox are mixed on one side of the mix & drums & bass on the other – now that’s art right there.

      It is still my best ever.

      And thanks re. Photo, having had to move somewhere a lot less pretty for work, I get back there to wallow in it as much as I can. Reason Wales looks so lush? It’s always raining! A bit like Blade Runner …

      1. So, rather than standing in front of the band, you’re on stage? Cool! I never heard that before which obviously shows that, for the Ramones, I never bothered to listen on headphones or with anything but a crappy stereo. Or that I have defective ears. Maybe that’s why Tommy always seemed to be sitting next to me while Joey was in my lap.

      2. Absolutely. If you’ve not seen it I’d really recommend the documentary ‘End of the Century’, heartwarming and heartbreaking in equal measure.

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