“Chasing the Night” – The Ramones (live from the “Old Grey Whistle Test”)


OK, I’ve been a little depressing tonight with my media selections, so I’m ending on a happier note. In this case, it’s the Ramones’ “Chasing the Night” from their kick-ass 1984 album “Too Tough to Die.”

“Chasing the Night” was always my favorite “I”m going out tonight to have a great f–king time” song and this is a great live performance from the UK’s “Old Grey Whistle Test” TV program. Good night, folks!

“Psycho Therapy” – The Ramones


From the 1983 album “Subterranean Jungle,” this is the Ramones directly addressing the hardcore turn punk rock had gone by the early 1980s. As record companies abandoned punk for more radio- and video-friendly New Wave, some bands got rawer and more aggressive.  The Ramones saw the ante being upped and did their own version of hardcore … fast, nasty, and intense with a tsunami of guitar noise that will drown you within the first 30 seconds.

Ironically, “Psycho Therapy” was produced by 1960s bubblegum rock legend Ritchie Cordell (who wrote the bubblegum classics “Mony Mony,” “I Think We’re Alone Now,” “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’,” and “Indian Giver”).

The accompanying video was banned by MTV for graphic violence. In other words, not safe for work.

“Crummy Stuff” – The Ramones


“Crummy Stuff” sums up my sentiments these days about all kinds of “crummy stuff.” At age 43, there’s too many great movies I haven’t seen yet, too much great music I haven’t heard yet, too much great food I haven’t tried yet, good friends I haven’t talked to in a long time, terrific people I haven’t allowed myself to get to know better, and wonderful places I haven’t been to yet.

Seriously, why settle for McDonald’s, Katherine Heigl movies, or a–holes when the sublime is literally at your fingertips, two miles, a half-gallon of gas, a phone call, or email away? Enough with that “crummy stuff” already!  Time to bring on the stuff that makes life worth living.

“Poison Heart” – The Ramones


From 1992’s “Mondo Bizarro,” comes one of the finest Ramones songs ever recorded. “Poison Heart” is a wonderfully mature song, both lyrically and musically. As much as I love the 1-2-3-4, three-chord, “30 songs in less than 60 minutes” style the Ramones are most famous for, they really excelled at longer, slower, more thoughtful material.

Written by Dee Dee Ramone after he left the band, the rights to this song were allegedly sold to the Ramones after they helped bail him out of jail. Dee Dee was a terrific (and underrated) songwriter. I’m sorry his own personal demons got the better of him. He had a lot of talent and had a lot more to give.

“Max’s Kansas City” – Wayne County and the Backstreet Boys

Here’s the punk version of Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Soul Music.”  Wayne (now Jayne) County gives a special shout-out to one of the preeminent underground music clubs of 1960s-1970s NYC, as well as all of the NYC punk icons of the day: Patti Smith, the Ramones, the Talking Heads, Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, the New York Dolls, Pere Ubu (yes, they’re from Cleveland, but they deserve a shout-out), Lance Loud and the Mumps, Richard Hell, Television, Tuff Darts, etc.  And no, the Backstreet Boys who backed Wayne up are not the barely pubescent, New Millenial bad-facial hair boys who want it THAT way.

“Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” – The Ramones

The Ramones contribute a rockin,’ but sweet and sincere Christmas classic.  From their pretty decent 1989 album “Brain Drain.”  The video is a little corny, but worth a look mainly because, sweet lord, the clothes and hair on the actors (especially the female lead) is sooooo 1989!