The last surviving original member of The Ramones, Tommy Ramone, passed away in hospice care this morning where he was recovering following treatment for bile duct cancer.
Tommy drummed on the first three albums and to be honest they're probably the only Ramones albums I still listen to regularly (Sorry Marky). Those records are probably the reason why generations have been playing 80 second long songs and the source of all pop-punk that followed. Not bad for a guy who started drumming for the band because Joey couldn't keep up with the pace and he just happened to be in the room at the time.
His later work managing and producing records for The Ramones was just as important. The other members of the band have all said that it was Tommy who managed to steer the ship when everyone else went primal. In which case we probably all owe Tommy a debt of gratitude for not letting the band meltdown through girlfriend troubles and glue bagging.
I still remember meeting Jordan of Blaq Mass at Littlehampton train station the day we heard Joey had died and having a good cry. It's funny to think that we've lost all the original band members in such a short space of time. I met Marky a couple of weeks ago at the Kerrang! Awards and was humbled by nice he was, he will probably be the only Ramone I ever get to thank for their music. RIP Tommy. You can't read this because you are dead, but you changed my life.
On a final note, it's hollowing to think that 3 Ramones died young because of cancer. If you want to help change this, please donate to Cancer Research.