It’s time to shine the Vinyl Spotlight! Every now and then on Paloozapalooza, I like to focus on a random LP from my collection. This week, we have:
The Ramones – It’s Alive (1979)
My five-year-old daughter and two of her friends came into the basement the other day wanting to dance and listen to records. So what did I do? I played some Ramones and played it loud!
They loved it, of course. The Ramones are one of those bands that everyone seems to love. The rapid-fire riffs. The simple, high-energy song structures. The tight, reliable rhythm section. The leather jackets. The haircuts. What more could you want in this wild and crazy world?
At their peak, the Ramones were on a whole other level. Nothing comes close and nothing ever will. Their first four albums are four of the greatest rock albums of all time, with the band only slipping up when they got Phil Spector involved with 1980’s hit-and-miss End of the Century.
Those first four albums, though, are true works of art. 1979’s It’s Alive captures the band right in the middle of that historic run, playing live in London on New Year’s Eve 1977.
On It’s Alive, the Ramones plow through 28 songs at a breakneck speed, only stopping for a loud “1! 2! 3! 4!” or for Joey to complain about bad Indian food. I would go into detail about some of the different highlights, but the whole thing is honestly just one big highlight. If I had to pick a few stronger moments, look no further than the timeless “Blitzkrieg Bop” or “Glad to See You Go” from the band’s second album, Leave Home. If hearing the Ramones play those songs live in 1977 doesn’t get you going, you might just not have a pulse.
Fans of the Ramones obviously need to own It’s Alive, but I’d argue that anyone who loves rock and roll should have a copy of this record. It’s incredible.