Punk legend Joey Ramone was born on this day in 1951. Why not celebrate by cranking "53rd & 3rd"and reading Nick Gillespie and Brian Doherty's classic "I Dreamed I Saw Joey Ramone Last Night: The P.C. eulogizing of a punk rocker":
Joey Ramone's beautifully weird-looking body had barely gone cold when he was eulogized not simply as the vocalist for arguably the most influential band of the past 30 years but as a politically engaged performer whose progressive bona fides were every bit as undeniable as those of Sting, Bono, and Barbra Streisand. Indeed, within hours of shuffling off his mortal coil, Joey Ramone, known for singing songs such as "Cretin Hop" and "Teenage Lobotomy," had been resurrected as Joe Hill.
Forget that the Ramones made their reputation with songs that sketched an irresistible world filled with dumb and often explicitly anti-social fun. (The uninitiated can get a good sense of this from the titles of some of the band's signature tunes, which include "Beat On the Brat," "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," "You're Gonna Kill That Girl," "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment," and "I Wanna Be Sedated.")
For some righteously left-wing critics, such anarchic, aimless pleasure must always, in the final analysis, give way to something deeper, something more serious. Ironically, it must give way to precisely the sort of pedantically earnest musical messaging that helped provoke punk rock—and the Ramones—into existence in the first place.