Johnny Ramone was born as John Cummings on October 8, 1951 in Long Island, New York. From childhood, he played for a band called the Tangerine Puppets. Later in his teens, he would be known by the nickname "greaser". He and Joey Ramone were the only ones to remain part of the band The Ramones their entire career. The original band started in 1974 with Johnny Ramone as the lead guitarist, Joey Ramone as the lead singer, Dee Dee Ramone as the second bassist, and Tommy Ramone as the drummer. All four band members were not related and had different last names, but each took the common name Ramone.
He was not only just a wicked guitarist, but a brilliant organizer. For example, he kept everyone in the task of focusing on performance. Ramone also demanded more money for performances and was the band's treasurer, keeping an eye on the budget. Even as a rockstar, he would ask the band to drive nonstop between Boston and New York so they would not have to spend money in a hotel.
"The Ramones had it rough," said Vega, who's worked with the band for 30 years. "The band almost had to be protected from people who were taking advantage of them. There was never any money made."
Ramone was a hard worker himself and asked everyone to do the same. Most times, his own band thought he over-worked everyone, but they knew it was really just for the best. He was definitely not only the leader of The Ramones, but without him, they would have fallen apart.
The Ramones most famous song was "The KKK Took My Baby Away", which was stirred by Joey Ramone's ex-girlfriend. Linda Cummingsstarting, the ex-girlfriend of Joey would start a relationship with Johnny and soon after would marry. Afterwards, Joey and John would become bitter enemies for the rest of the band's career. Johnny Ramone would not even speak with his band mate, Joey Ramone as he was dying of cancer. In 2001, Joey Ramone had ended his fight with the lethal disease.
Ramone was not only a musician, but also an actor in several movies including Rock and Roll High School and many other Documentary films. He also had a guest appearance on The Simpsons.
However, Johnny Ramone was always described as calm and cool at most times. Now, The Ramones were no superstar band. Since 1976, after their debut album came out, the band went downhill in success. They never even had a Top 40 song, but they left an unbelievable impression on the rock world. The Ramones influenced many later bands, including Green Day and Nirvana.
"The Ramones never ever lost their image, their aura of being the ultimate underdog, the voice of the angry young man."
In 2002, in the mist of the political battles, Johnny Ramone had the courage to stand out in the crowd and say that he was a Republican.
He died in his Los Angeles home on September 15, 2004, after his five year battle with prostate cancer. During a special ceremony, his body was cremated. Many famous celebrities mourned for him, including friends, including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, singer Rob Zombie, Lisa Marie Presley, Pete Yorn, Vincent Gallo, Talia Shire, and many others.
A honorary concert to raise money for cancer research was held in Los Angeles few days after his death to celebrate the band's 30th anniversary. Performances were from punk band X, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Henry Rollins and many others.
Sources for quotes: http://edition.cnn.com/2004/SHOWBIZ/Music/09/16/obit.ramone.ap/