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Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?

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Title: Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?  
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Subject: End of the Century, Phil Spector, Loud, Fast Ramones: Their Toughest Hits, Baby, I Love You, Lifestyles of the Ramones
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Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?

"Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?"
UK picture sleeve
Single by Ramones
from the album End of the Century
Released May 16, 1980
Recorded 1979
Genre Punk rock
Length 3:50
Label Sire
Writer(s) Dee Dee Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Joey Ramone
Producer(s) Phil Spector
Ramones singles chronology
"Baby, I Love You/High Risk Insurance" (1980) "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?/I Want You Around"(1980) "I Wanna Be Sedated/The Return of Jackie and Judy"(1980)

"Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" is the second single and first track by American punk rock band the Ramones from their fifth studio album End of the Century. It was released on May 16, 1980. This song and the album itself marked a complete change in the Ramones' sound. This was partially due in an attempt to reach commercial success and to the work of their new producer Phil Spector.

While most Ramones songs were based on three chords and a memorable melody, "Rock 'n' Roll Radio" is a complex song, based on many of the 1950s pop songs the band grew up listening to. A piano, trumpet, horn, saxophone, and synthesizer are used along with the standard guitar, drums, and bass. As was common in 1950s rock & roll, the saxophone is the lead instrument rather than the guitar. The opening and closing parts of the song sample a radio tuning into a rock 'n' roll radio channel hosted by a DJ (voiced by Sean Donahue) and the song also contains the saxophone playing of Steve Douglas.

The song has become one of the Ramones' most enduring songs. Because of the nature of many different instruments used in the track, while performing live the band replaced the saxophone with the bass guitar as lead instrument.

There is no title track for the End of the Century album. The album title comes from a famous couplet in this song: "It's the end, the end of the seventies/It's the end, the end of the century.". The verse was also used for the title of the 2003 documentary about the group, End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones.

Lyrical content

This song states the Ramones' philosophy for forming a band in the first place. The repeated lines "We need change, we need it fast/Before rock's just part of the past/'Cause lately it all sounds the same to me" was a direct statement. The Ramones sought to return rock and roll to its most basic roots, abandoning movements such as late 1960s psychedelic rock and early 1970s pop music.

Many of the band's influences are mentioned in the song, including Murray the K, John Lennon, Jerry Lee Lewis, T. Rex, The Barbarians (whose drummer, Victor "Moulty" Moulton, is mentioned by his nickname), Alan Freed, as well as musical variety TV and radio shows such as Hullabaloo, Shindig!, Upbeat, and The Ed Sullivan Show (Also, a clip showing Buddy Holly and the Crickets performing on "The Ed Sullivan Show" with Holly shaking Sullivan's hand afterwards can be seen in the music video). The song claims that rock and roll is dying, and it needs change if it wants to survive.

Popular culture references

The music video features the band watching the performances of themselves, and at the end, Johnny Ramone smashing the television with his guitar which became part of the early MTV promo back in 1981.

The song was covered by Melbourne band Painters and Dockers and played during their live sets in the 1980s. Australianised lyrics included "Do you remember JO'K, Normie Rowe and GTK?". A live version was played on community radio stations such as 3BBB Ballarat and 3RRR Melbourne.

Also covered by Australian band The Porkers included on their single "Perfect Teeth" and also on the "ROCK" compilation cd on Chatterbox Records. The Porkers version also included "JO'K" in the lyrics, a tribute to Aussie king of rock Johnny O'Keefe who penned the song "Wild One".

The song was also covered by Kiss and appears on the Ramones tribute album We're a Happy Family.

The song appears in the 2007 animated movie Shrek the Third and its soundtrack.

Jesse Malin performed a version of the song on his 2008 covers album On Your Sleeve.

DJ Ozma released a Japanese cover as one of two bonus tracks for the exclusive box set of his album I ♡ Party People 3 in late 2008. At the beginning of OZMA's farewell concert, the song played over a recap video of OZMA's tours and concerts.

On their 21st Century Breakdown Tour, Green Day used the song as part of their entrance music.

The song was featured in a 2014 commercial for the Cadillac CTS.

Track listing

U.S. 7" Single

  1. "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" (Ramones) - 3:50
  2. "Let's Go" (Ramones) - 3:02
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