The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first band to define the punk rock sound. Despite achieving only limited commercial success, the band was a major influence on the 1970s punk movement in both the United States and United Kingdom. All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname "Ramone", although none of them were related. They performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. By 2014, all four of the band's original members—lead singer Joey Ramone (1951–2001), guitarist Johnny Ramone (1948–2004), bassist Dee Dee Ramone (1951–2002) and drummer Tommy Ramone (1949–2014)—had died.
The four original Ramones deserve full and complete credit for formulating the concept, sound, and fashion that had a tremendous impact on not only rock ‘n roll, but, the world in general. Together, the four former next door neighbors blazed a trail, from 1974 until 1978, by which time the Ramones were fully established. Though the path had already been cut, these alternate musicians were brought in to help Johnny and Joey continue on, until they chose to retire in 1996.
The Ramones' loud, fast, straightforward musical style was influenced by pop music that the band members grew up listening to in the 1950s and 1960s, including classic rock groups such as the Beach Boys, the Who, the Beatles, the Kinks, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival; bubblegum acts like the 1910 Fruitgum Company and Ohio Express; and girl groups such as the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las. They also drew on the harder rock sound of the MC5, Black Sabbath, the Stooges and the New York Dolls, both now known as seminal protopunk bands. The Ramones' style was in part a reaction against the heavily produced, often bombastic music that dominated the pop charts in the 1970s.