ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, NOV. 13, 2013
By Steve Newton
Like the band itself, there’s nothing fancy about the new Ramones boxed set, The Sire Years: 1976-1981.
The seminal NYC punks just collected their first six albums—Ramones (’76), Leave Home and Rocket to Russia (’77), Road to Ruin (’78), the Phil Spector-produced End of the Century (’80), and Pleasant Dreams (’81)—and stuck ’em in a little box.
I actually prefer the first three albums, as it was on their fourth that they started to get bloated, breaking the three-minute barrier on a couple of tracks.
If the Ramones couldn’t say it in under 180 seconds, it wasn’t worth saying.
As well as original Ramones gems like “Blitzkreig Bop”, “Sheena is a Punk Rocker”, and “I Wanna Be Sedated”, those first six Sire albums also included some pretty sweet covers from the ’50s and ’60s, like the Sonny Bono-cowritten “Needles and Pins”, Bobby Freeman’s “Do You Want to Dance”, and my personal fave, “California Sun”.
And speaking of the Ramones doing covers, if you don’t care for their version of the Trashmen’s 1963 surf-rock ditty, “Surfin’ Bird” on Rocket to Russia, there’s always this: