February 8, 2013


Joey Ramone Vinyl Collection for Sale: His 5 Weirdest Records

Bob Berg
Bob Berg

Thanks to an online auction, Ramones fans (and who with a soul isn't?) can now take a peek into the record collection of late punk frontman Joey Ramone.

A lot of what's in his personal record collection makes total sense given the Ramones' penchant for two-minute pop songs played at breakneck speed. There are albums from the Beach Boys, the Who, the Zombies, the Raspberries and other immaculate pop craftsmen. And, of course, the whole proto-punk scene is well represented with items from Patti Smith, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. Hell, even Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On makes sense. Even punks gotta take a bedroom break.

But there are a few items in this collection that stand out like a Mohawk in an Abercrombie store. Here are the 5 most inexplicable additions to Joey Ramone's record collection.

Pat Boone: Greatest Hymns
Keep in mind this isn't merely the Greatest Hits album from vocal-pop lame-o Pat Boone (who built a career out of recording neutered covers of songs by black artists). This is exclusively the greatest hits of his Gospel material. It's like God's greatest hits.

Yes: Close to the Edge
While it's considered a classic, it's surprising to see this item was Ramone-endorsed. After all, punk's entire approach was supposed to be a reaction against prog-rock's pomposity, which was exemplified by albums like this one. For example, side one consists of one song divided into three "suites," and the shortest track is nine minutes. 

Ray Manzarek: The Whole Thing Started With Rock & Roll and Now It's Out of Control 
The Doors album in his collection isn't shocking—a lot of people like the debut—but a solo album from Ray Manzarek? The guy whose meandering keyboard solos have been rumored to put healthy adults into comas? Not what you'd expect Joey Ramone to rock out to in his free time. Also, this album has an incredibly stupid title.

Carly Simon: No Secrets
While I never imagined Joey Ramone singing "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you!" into his hairbrush on lonely, quiet weekends, I now firmly believe this happened.

The Righteous Brothers: Greatest Hits and The History of the Righteous Brothers
It's not crazy that a Ramone would have a Righteous Brothers album in his collection. After all, Phil Spector was a subtle auditory influence on punk as a whole, so much that the Ramones asked him to produce End of the Century. But TWO Righteous Brothers comps? Dude wasn't a fan, he was a Stan. 

It's also worth pointing out the total absence of any albums from the Ramones' NYC punk contemporaries (aside from the Patti Smith album) here. And don't think it's because the collection cuts off pre-1977, because there are actually two Human League albums from the 1980s present and accounted for. 

But then again, maybe those particular items were lost over the years. When the CD era came along, a lot of people put their vinyl collections in a basement or storage unit, which made it easy for LPs to get lost, stolen or damaged. So perhaps all the first-pressings of punk albums—which fetch a pretty penny on the used vinyl market—were sold or lifted from his collection sometime in the 1990s. 

But either way, it's still weird to think Joey Ramone used to listen to Pat Boone croon about God.