Today in Music History: Remembering Johnny Ramone

The Ramones 1981
The Ramones in a 1981 promotional photograph. Johnny Ramone is at far left. (Sire Records/Getty Images)

History Highlight:

Today in 1948, John William Cummings - better known as Johnny Ramone - was born in Queens, N.Y. Johnny was the guitarist and a founding member of the Ramones. Known for his fast, high-energy guitar playing, his style was highly influential on many rock guitarists. In 2003, Johnny was No. 16 on Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." He died on September 15, 2004, after battling prostate cancer. A statue was dedicated in his honor at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles in January 2005.

Also, Today In:

1957 - Working with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis, Tenn., Jerry Lee Lewis recorded his classic, "Great Balls Of Fire."

1966 - Cream drummer Ginger Baker collapsed during a gig at Sussex University in England after playing a 20-minute drum solo. He later recovered in a local hospital.

1983 - Francis Ford Coppola's Rumble Fish was released. Tom Waits appeared in the film as the bubblegum-chomping owner of Benny's Billiards. His character existed on the periphery of the main plot line, but he was given an extended, poetic monologue about life, time, and aging.

1987 - Chuck Berry was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His film biography, Hail, Hail Rock & Roll also premiered on the same night.

1988 - Following an unprecedented 741 weeks on the Billboard 200 Album Chart, Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd finally fell off the chart.

1988 - Def Leppard's ballad "Love Bites" hit No. 1 on the Hot 100.

1990 - The Go-Go's posed for the first "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" poster for PETA.

1990 - Eddie Vedder flew from his home in San Diego to Seattle, where he met his Pearl Jam bandmates for the first time and started a week of recording that became the bulk of their debut album, Ten. Vedder was chosen based on vocals he added to a three-song instrumental demo the band made.

1992 - The U.S. Postal Service issued a set of commemorative stamps to celebrate pop music legends, including Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Otis Redding, Ritchie Valens, Clyde McPhatter and Dinah Washington.

2004 - Ray Charles, who died in June of 2004, scored his first Platinum album when Genius Loves Company, released in September, sold over a million copies.

2007- Arctic Monkeys were named the best act in the world at the Q Awards held in London.

2013 - Philip Chevron, the guitarist with Irish folk-punk band The Pogues, died of cancer at age 56.

2016 - Robert Plant and St. Vincent played the Festival of Disruption in Los Angeles, an event staged by the director David Lynch that included film screenings and meditation.

2018 - Taylor Swift offered her political views for the first time, endorsing two Tennessee Democrats and urging her 112 million Instagram followers to vote.


Nashville-based record producer and pedal steel guitar player Pete Drake was born today in 1932.

Fred Cash of The Impressions is 79.

Ray Royer of Procol Harum is 74.

Tony Wilson of Hot Chocolate, who had the 1975 U.S. No. 3 single "You Sexy Thing" and over 25 other Top 40 hits, is 72.

Teddy Riley of Blackstreet is 52.

Bruno Mars is 34.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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