The last original member of the seminal punk band the Ramones is dead, reports Variety. That would be drummer Tommy Ramone, who was born in Hungary as Erdelyi Tamas but grew up in Queens as Tom Erdelyi. He played on the band’s first three albums before leaving to be replaced by Marc Bell, better known as Marky. The 65-year-old Erdelyi, who had a successful career as a music producer, had been in hospice after cancer treatment. The LA Times sums up the band’s impact: “The four-member Ramones came out of Queens with limited musical skills, but by 1976, their staccato riffs and full-frontal garage rock assaults began to make their mark on British punk musicians,” writes Ryan Parker. “The band has been acknowledged by many as the inventors of punk rock.” The Ramones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Founding Ramones member Tommy Ramone is being remembered for his talent and his kindness.
On Twitter, Blondie’s Chris Stein calls the late punk pioneer “a lovely gentle guy, super smart,” while Andrew WK tweets that Tommy was “one of the most ground breaking drummers and producers ever. And always nice.”
Singer-songwriter and producer Butch Walker says “The Ramones made me wanna dress like I wasn’t supposed to play catchy music, but did anyway.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith calls Tommy “one of the greats.”
The E Street Band’s Nils Lofgren, The Roots’ Questlove, and Motorhead have also acknowledged Tommy’s death via Twitter, along with pop-country star Michelle Branch, OutKast’s Big Boi, and many others.
Tommy Ramone, whose given name was Erdelyi, was The Ramones’ original drummer. He played on the group’s first three albums, and also served as the band’s manager and producer.
Tommy died Friday in Queens, New York of cancer. He was 65. A private funeral is being planned.