R.I.P. Tommy Ramone, Last Surviving Original Member of The Ramones

Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published July 12, 2014


Tommy Ramone (born Erdélyi Tamás in Budapest, Hungary) was a rock and roll visionary. As the drummer, guitarist, co-songwriter, associate producer, and early manager of The Ramones first three albums, he helped re-define what rock music was. Yesterday, he passed away in hospice care, after being diagnosed with bile duct cancer. He had been the lone surviving member of the original lineup for The Ramones.

The Ramones formed in 1974 and released their self-titled debut album in 1976. Originally, Tommy had been the band's manager. He took over drumming duties for Joey Ramone, who became the lead vocalist, after the band was unable to find a replacement in auditions. Tommy is also credited for having been the main writer on "Blitzkrieg Bop" - the opening song of that revolutionary self-titled album, and one of The Ramones most famous songs to this day. He would remain as the drummer until 1978, when he decided to leave the band due to personal reasons.

He would go on to produce records by other rock groups, including The Replacements, and in his later years he formed a bluegrass duo with Claudia Tienan called Uncle Monk.

The Ramones shared this picture on their Instagram account with the following text:

We are saddened to announce the passing of Tommy Ramone (nee Erdelyi), the original drummer for the Ramones, earlier today, 11 July 2014. "It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody." - Tommy Ramone, 1978 #RIPTommyRamone

Zumic sends our best wishes to Tommy Ramone's family and friends, as well as the extended Ramones family. Gabba Gabba Hey.

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