No other band in rock and roll is, at once, more important and undervalued than the Ramones.

As of this writing, 40 years after the band’s creation and 20 since their sad adieu, not a single Ramones album has even gone platinum! And yet, pound for pound, they’ve collectively had a stronger, deeper influence, upon the history of popular music than many a best-selling, chart-topping band.

How is this possible?

Well, don’t bother asking a loyal Ramones fan because they’re as helpless to explain it as all the critics who have championed the band ever since they took the E Train into Manhattan from Queens, New York, and joined an eclectic company of pioneering punk rock groups at the Bowery’s legendary CBGB’s.

While some of these other groups evolved (ahem -- old out!) and enjoyed mainstream hits (even more went absolutely nowhere), the Ramones remained confined by their, let’s admit, rather restrictive sonic blueprint, which has now gone down as the very essence of punk rock -- not least because it never did compromise its rebellious essence by being something it wasn’t.

Forget album sales though, because the Ramones career-launching triptych of studio LPs (Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia) is still the bedrock of all things punk rock; subsequent efforts like Road to Ruin, End of the Century and Mondo Bizarro are none too shabby either; and every album in between, with only minor aesthetic deviations, stayed true to the band’s fundamental style.

And what is that style? Why, it’s simple, fast and universal. It’s rock and roll defined: as powerful as an orgasm and just as brief, but impossible to forget, or go without

In closing: the Ramones were a gang that every religious music fan wants to join (yet whose members, ironically, often wished they could escape), to don a black leather jacket, jeans ripped at the knee, and adopt the same last name in brotherhood: Ramone.

So even if you haven’t joined this gang already, rest assured you will one day – surely as you love music, and we hope you’ll be inspired as you click through the gallery above to see how we’ve ranked the Ramones’ albums!

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