That Last Ramone : Dead at 65

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Tom Erdelyi, better known as Tommy Ramone, the founding drummer and last surviving original member of the Ramones, died on Friday at his home in Ridgewood, Queens. He was 65.

The cause was cancer of the bile duct, his family said. Of the original Ramones, Joey (the singer) died in 2001, Dee Dee (the bassist) in 2002 and Johnny (the guitarist) in 2004. [Tommy died on July 11 2014. It’s been 2 years now.]

Mr. Erdelyi played only on the band’s first three albums, “Ramones” in 1976 and “Leave Home” and “Rocket to Russia,” both from 1977. And he cut a much more easygoing figure than his bandmates, who despite their fraternal stage names were notorious for internecine feuds. Yet Mr. Erdelyi played a crucial role in the sound and early development of the band, which was started by the high school friends from Forest Hills, Queens.

When the group first came together in 1974, Mr. Erdelyi, who had some experience in the music business as a recording engineer, was the manager. Equally in love with hard rock’s buzz-saw guitar and the sunny clarity of 1950s and ’60s radio pop, the four men, dressed in leather jackets and ripped jeans like B-movie juvenile delinquents, opposed the mellow singer-songwriters and opulent progressive rock that dominated pop at the time.

[ report by Ben Sisario ]

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