Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Favorite Songs #2: Bonzo Goes To Bitburg




For a short time in the mid 80's, I worked with and occasionally hung out with a cool punk from Texas named Allen, who was the guitarist and front man for a hardcore band called Hammerbrain. We even played together a couple of times in a band called Paganfest. Working with Allen was a blast. He was smart and absolutely hilarious and just what I needed, even if he was terrible at his job and always came in either late or hungover. But the thing I loved most was his love of music, even if our tastes clashed more times than not. We both did love Motorhead, and saw them together at The Ritz on their 10th Anniversary tour. We both loved Judas Priest, even if we would laugh hysterically at most of the lyrics and Rob Halford's delivery. And we both loved The Ramones and this song, "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg," aka by its U.S. title, "My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down." But this was sealed as my favorite of all Ramones songs after something Allen said.

"Those YA YAS on the chorus could have easily been YEAH YEAHS and it just wouldn't have been as cool."

I agreed, and 30 years later, still love those "YA YAS." It really is that simple.

And that's my little story about my favorite Ramones song, "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg."

What's your favorite?

15 comments:

Bill said...

I Want To Be Sedated was the Ramones song that first grabbed me, so I'm going to go with that. Recently I've been grooving to I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend.

M_Sharp said...

Too many favorites to choose from, but maybe "Rockaway Beach", one of many that should have been a smash hit single. I finally made it there on the way home from a job about 30 years later. "It's not hard, not far to reach" didn't seem to be very accurate, unless you lived there.

kevin m said...

If the Ramones had recorded a song called Paganfest, than that would have been my favorite. Alas, I'll have to go w/ Howling at the Moon or The KKK Took My Baby Away

kevin m said...

PS - as we are on a Ramones kick; Dee Dee's solo record as Dee Dee King may go down as the worst solo record ever

buzzbabyjesus said...

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker, with Rockaway Beach a close second.

Chris Collins said...

This is my favorite Ramones song as well. Love, love, love the righteous anger behind this song. Inspired by Ronald Reagan visiting a Nazi cemetary. Joey's finest hour, in my opinion.

"Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio" is my second. For the record.

ken49 said...

The guitar solo at 2:40. Seems funny typing that about a Ramones song. Other memory is seeing RnR High School at some $2 a night showing.

Dave F said...

I’m with BBJ on this.

DF

Anonymous said...

"Bonzo" comes from my favorite Ramones era, when Tommy was in charge. Like your Judas Priest and Motorhead faves, I submit the over-the-top "Warthog" on Too Tough to Die as personal favorite.

Shriner said...

I have to pick *one* Ramones song?

"Bonzo" is also probably my #1 as it's awesome lyrically. And it has a key change -- always a selling point!

But depending on my mood, I could replace it with "Rock N Roll High School", "Do You Remember Rock N Roll Radio", a deep-cut fave "Everytime I Eat Vegetables It Makes Me Think of You", "Commando", "Howling At The Moon" (anything with a "sha-la-la" is boss, man!), or "Something To Believe In" (The cover by The Pretenders really opened my eyes to that song...)

But I love the "hits" just as much.

1-2-3-4!

Mr. Baez said...

I always really dug "The KKK Took My Baby Away."

Anonymous said...

This will sound like blasphemy to some, but one of the great things about the Ramones' songs was a trait in common with the Beatles' songs: their inevitability. When you hear either of these bands, you hear the best choices made in the organization of the songs -- everything follows as it should, nay, as it MUST; there's not another choice for a chorus, verse, or bridge that would've made the song better. Another trait in common is the flexibility of the songs, so that others can readily stamp their own take on what are fundamentally unbreakable songs. Like the Beatles, tho, the covers can't surpass the originals -- but I'm glad to hear the attempt. The allusion to the Pretenders' cover in the comments above is a great example -- it's a gorgeous version. There's a live version of John Hiatt doing what he calls a "country and western song" and after about 45 seconds of musical build-up, he starts in with "Twenny twenny twenny four hours ago-o-o..." and it works beautifully. At the end, as the crowd cheers, he yells out "God bless the Ramones!!" and who is this atheist to argue?
Anyway...the top 5 (in no order save for the last one) would be Loudmouth (I have to sing it in a Joey lispy nasally mumble), Blitzkrieg Bop (the entrance of the rumbling bass and guitar blast behind the "hey ho let's go" never fails to send a charge up my spine), The KKK Took My Baby Away (Joey's catchy rebuke to Johnny for stealing his gal), Beat On The Brat (perhaps the perfect distillation of the Ramones' esthetic, musically and lyrically), and, coming in at number one, I Wanna Be Sedated. If a catchier song exists, one that was loved as much by my 5-year-old twins as much as by my 84-year-old mom, I don't know of it. God bless the Ramones, indeed.
C in California

Anonymous said...

how about every song on road to ruin, you don't come close, she's the one etc....

snakeboy said...

Difficult to pick just one, but as of right now it would be :Too Tough to Die."

FD13NYC said...

I have quite a few faves. Picking one off the top of my head would be I Just Want To Have Something To Do.