August 16, 1974 | The Ramones Play First Show at CBGB

"1, 2, 3, 4..."

The Ramones performing
Plismo, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes it can feel like the entire history of classic rock — every new direction, every iconic performance, every paradigm shift — was condensed into a little more than a decade. From The Beatles on Ed Sullivan (1964) to Pet Sounds (1966), Woodstock (1969) to the Sex Pistols on The Ed Grundy Show (1976), the cultural zeitgeist moved from “Her majesty is a pretty nice girl but she doesn’t have a lot to say” to “God save the queen / She’s not a human being” fairly rapidly.

Fertile years for music, no doubt, as everything from punk to salsa, funk and hip-hop were first introduced within that same period.

August 16, 1974: Exactly five years after 100,000-plus hippies descended upon upstate New York for “3 days of peace and music,” four musical neophytes took the stage at a dingy club in lower Manhattan and unleashed a set of raucous, three-chord, unintentionally-off-time racket. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young this was not. Out with “Teach Your Children Well.” In with “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.”

The foursome — Douglas Colvin, John Cummings, Thomas Erdelyi and Jeffrey Hyman (also known as Dee Dee, Johnny, Tommy and Joey Ramone) — was the Ramones. CBGB was the venue. And the band and the scene that coalesced around the venue would soon turn music on its ear by turning up the volume and turning down the pyrotechnics and high-gloss production de rigueur.

On August 16, 2022, we’ll celebrate The debut of the Ramones on all day on The Independent 89.9 HD4. Tune in to hear classics like “Sheena was a Punk Rocker,” “Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Havana Affair” and many more. And check out the video above to bear witness to the Ramones first-ever filmed performance, captured just weeks after the group’s CBGB debut. Spoiler Alert: They were terrible!

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