1977 – Rocket To Russia – Ramones

1977D - Rocket To Russia

“Rocket To Russia” blew everything out of the water! I’d been engrossed in the intricate nuances of progressive rock for too long. The Sex Pistols had kindled a spark and Talking Heads had fanned the flames but, as the back cover cartoon showed, the Ramones came along singing “Gabba Gabba Hey!” and just nuked the whole thing.

Quite a few students used to go home for weekends, Ripon was a predominately female college and in the first year many girls went back to see their boyfriends. I was having such a great time and rarely went home, though I did ‘phone up every Friday using the pay phone that was in the kitchen area of Owen House, my halls of residence. I also occasionally went to go and see my girlfriend at the time, over in Hull. Christmas was the first big holiday and I finally went home to see my family. On the first Saturday home I went straight into town on the bus and down The Moor to Virgin Records to buy the Ramones second album. When I got back, mum was having a church Ladies Fellowship meeting in the living room so I had to dash upstairs and play the record on the big gramophone player that I’d had in my bedroom since dad had bought a new music centre. I daren’t play it on that, because there were only sliding glass doors separating the two downstairs rooms and I didn’t know if there would be swearing – it was punk after all! It was immediately exhilarating with fast, crunching guitars playing no-nonsense chords accompanying Joey Ramone’s suitably drawling vocals. From the very first blast through “Cretin Hop” I was hooked. I wanted to run and tell everyone I knew that the way Joey pronounced the word “price” on “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” was brilliant. I couldn’t have explained why, it just was! The phrase “Daddy likes men” on “We’re a Happy Family” was at once shocking but perfectly fitting.  There was no one around to tell and I was almost bursting with excitement at my discovery! My brother and sister were both out somewhere and wouldn’t have got it anyway and mum was with her ladies…hmmm maybe not. The Ramones sang “I don’t care” but I did care!

By the time I went back to college after the holidays I’d taken the triangular inserts out of my flared jeans, dug out an old, too-small T shirt and painted the toes of my Dunlop Green Flash pumps pink, using some luminous paint I’d got from somewhere. From then on, recognising how The Ramones had gone for a “look”, Short Supply began wearing a “uniform” of sorts – second hand dinner jackets, narrow jeans and bright pink toed pumps. We may have played with just an acoustic guitar most of the time, but in my head I was now, effectively, Kevan Ramone!

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