I can’t remember how many times I’ve been asked for my opinion on this topic or how many times they asked me to rank Ramones full-lengths from worst to last. I think there are no lame Ramones albums, but there are some flaws in their career that made me think, why wouldn’t I rank their releases for the sake of entertainment.
I have a long history with this band, and I guess 25+ years of listening to the Ramones would do the job. After all, I wouldn’t be the first or the last to do such a thing. Also, it could serve as an excellent starting point for those newbies to Ramones music. Enough chatting. Let’s dig straight into the matter.
14. PLEASANT DREAMS
Pleasant Dreams is the sixth studio album by the Ramones, released on July 20, 1981, through Sire Records. This album caused an infamous brawl between Johnny and Joey Ramone over several differences, and music direction was only one of them. It is probably a reason why this album has so many flaws. With only a couple of solid tracks, it’s also my least favorite album.
Favorite tracks: Don’t Go, 7-11, and Sitting In My Room.
13. SUBTERRANEAN JUNGLE
Subterranean Jungle is their seventh full-length album, released by Sire Records on February 23, 1983. The band has returned to slightly heavier punk rock waters compared to its predecessor, but still not enough to satisfy many Ramones fans. Just like Pleasant Dreams, it has a couple decent tracks.
Favorite tracks: Outsider, Highest Trails Above, and Psycho Therapy.
12. TOO TOUGH TO DIE
Too Tough To Die is the eighth studio released on October 1, 1984. It is also the first Ramones record featuring Richie Ramone as a drummer. Unlike Pleasant Dreams and Subterranean Jungle, Too Tough To Die wasn’t too mellow, and the band has put much more effort into it. Therefore, it sounded more like an excellent mixture of punk rock and rock’n’roll, with even some arrangements rarely heard in Ramones’ music before.
Favorite tracks: Durango 95, Wart Hog, Danger Zone, Planet Earth 1988, and Smash You.
11. HALFWAY TO SANITY
On their tenth album, Ramones even tried out some hardcore punk maneuvers, and this style suited them well. Perhaps some die-hard fans saw this album as an ultimate failure, but it really shines bright compared to those mentioned above. Halfway To Sanity was the last album that featured Richie Ramone as their drummer, but it has a neat guest appearance of Blondie on Go Camaro Go. It is also one of those albums close to my heart because of a couple excellent tracks listed below.
Favorite tracks: I Wanna Live, Bop ‘Til You Drop, Garden Of Serenity, Weasal Face, I Know Better Now, and I’m Not Jesus.
10. BRAIN DRAIN
Brain Drain is another album hated by punk rock gatekeepers and so-called true Ramones fans, but actually, it’s an excellent album with many brilliant tracks. It was the last album featuring Dee Dee Ramone but also the first album for Marky Ramone, who delivered some fresh energy to the band. Luckily, Brain Drain has some wild dynamics, although it was their eleventh album. There are many excellent tracks on this one, but I included only a few favorites below. Also, as a longtime horror movie fan, I adore this cover artwork so much.
Favorite tracks: I Believe In Miracles, Zero Zero UFO, Pet Sematary, and Ignorance Is Bliss.
09. ACID EATERS
The fact Ramones nailed every cover song places this album in the ninth position. The cover artwork is also rad!
Favorite cover tracks: Journey To The Center Of The Mind, The Shape Of Things To Come, Somebody To Love, 7 And 7 Is, My Back Pages, Can’t Seem To Make You Mine, Have You Ever Seen The Rain, and I Can’t Control Myself.
08. ADIOS AMIGOS
It’s maybe their last album, but it’s an excellent one. Longtime fans were so damn pissed because CJ Ramone sang four tracks, so most of them put this album on the very bottom of their vinyl record collections. Still, I think it’s a rad full-length with many highlights.
Favorite tracks: I Don’t Want To Grow Up, Making Monsters For My Friends, It’s Not For Me To Know, The Crusher, Take The Pain Away, Have A Nice Day, Scattergun, and Got A Lot To Say.
07. MONDO BIZARRO
The twelfth album by these longhaired Newyorkers had a misspelled title, but as far as I am informed, no one even bothered about it. It was the first album that featured CJ Ramone, who replaced Dee Dee Ramone. The album was released by Radioactive and later re-released by Captain Oi!
Favorite tracks: Censorshit, The Job That Ate My Brain, Poison Heart, Strenght To Endure, and Tomorrow She Goes Away.
06. ANIMAL BOY
Animal Boy showcases less songwriting/composing by Johnny Ramone and less songwriting/vocal performance by Joey Ramone. The majority of the album was sung by Dee Dee Ramone. Besides all these details, it was the first album that featured Richie Ramone as their drummer, who also contributed to the writing process.
Favorite tracks: Somebody Put Something In My Drink, Animal Boy, Love Kills, Bonzo Goes To Bitburg, Eat That Rat, and Freak Of Nature.
05. END OF CENTURY
The fifth studio album was released on February 4, 1980, through Sire Records. It was good, but not good enough to surpass the expectations of the loyal fans. End Of Century has its pros and cons like any other Ramones album, but somehow it wasn’t good enough like their previous releases.
Favorite tracks: Do You Remember Rock’n’Roll Radio, I’m Affected, Let’s Go, This Ain’t Havana and Rock’n’Roll High School.
04. LEAVE HOME
I had a tough time choosing between Leave Home and Road To Ruin, and the number of good songs worked in favor of Road To Ruin. Still, Leave Home is an excellent second album that paved the way for one of the best punk rock bands at the time.
Favorite tracks: Glad To See You Go, Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment, Oh, Oh, I Love Her So, Carbona Not Glue, Pinhead, and Commando.
03. ROAD TO RUIN
Besides being an all-around epic record, Road To Ruin has probably the best-illustrated cover artwork in their entire discography. Of course, if we exclude the artwork they used for The Last Show. It’s also a very personal album, which is immediately notable by the track titles. Besides their debut, Leave Home and Rocket To Russia, it is also an album that proved the sheer dominance of the Ramones during the late 70s.
Favorite tracks: I Just Want To Have Something To Do, I Wanted Everything, I Don’t Want You, I’m Against It, I Wanna Be Sedated, Go Mental, She’s The One, and Bad Brain.
Although many punk rockers wouldn’t agree with me on this one, and some of them are probably planning how to beat me up (with a baseball bat oh yeah, oh yeah, oh oh), the self-titled debut was close to the best for me. Almost every song is perfect, but Rocket To Russia resonated better with me by any means. After all, look at the tracklist of their debut. It’s a mind-blowing release that every household should have.
Favorite tracks: Blitzkrieg Bop, Beat On The Brat, Chain Saw, Loudmouth, Havana Affair, Listen To My Heart, Today Your Love, and Tomorrow The World.
01. ROCKET TO RUSSIA
Rocket To Russia is unquestionably the ultimate Ramones album to me. It’s their third studio album, released on November 4, 1977, through Sire Records. The record label spent between $25,000 and $30,000, but most of the amount went for vinyl production instead of the album recording. It was a year when the punk rock movement bloomed with many great bands, but somehow Ramones stole the fame from everyone. They made a colossal impact on the music scene, and that fame lasts even today.
Favorite tracks: Cretin Hop, Rockaway Beach, I Don’t Care, Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, We’re Happy Family, Teenage Lobotomy, and Why Is It Always This Way?