This Day in 1974: The Ramones make their live debut at CBGB

Tuesday, August 16, 2016
This Day in 1974: The Ramones make their live debut at CBGB

42 years ago today, the Ramones played their first-ever gig. Appropriately enough, it was at the club that would ultimately become synonymous with the New York punk rock movement.

For all practical purposes, the story of the Ramones began on January 28, 1974, when Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny, and Tommy Ramone first got together at Performance Studios, where Monte Melnick – Tommy’s friend and the band’s future manager – worked at the time. It wasn’t a perfect grouping from the word “go,” but after a bit of tweaking and some songwriting, the bruddas Ramone were eventually ready to take their sound to the masses.

On August 16, 1974, the Ramones took the stage of CBGB for their first live gig, serving as the opening act for a band called Angel and the Snake. They’d soon have a name change and begin going under the moniker they’re still known by today: Blondie.

As for their choice of setting for their grand premiere, in Melnick’s book On the Road wth the Ramones, Tommy was quoted as saying, “There was nowhere else to play but CBGB,” but it panned out as a dependable venue for the band, one with which they’d be forever associated.

As for the show itself, Melnick – who has gone on record saying that “they didn’t seem like anything promising at all to me” – wrote in his book, “When they got onstage for that first time at CBGB and started their first song, ‘1-2-3-4,’ there was something there. I watched them grow and develop over the showcases and the early gigs and then watching the audience slowly come around.”

Boy, did they ever.