In Review: The Sex pistols vs. The ramones

The obvious knock against the Pistols is they only released one proper album, while the Ramones released a series of great records in the 70's. That's very true, but releasing albums was not the essence of punk. Let's refocus for a second to what Punk Rock tried to do in the mid 70's.essentially blowup the elitist AOR rock culture which began with Sgt. Pepper. As concept albums became more ambitious and complex, groups became more pompous and out of touch with audiences. Groups were using orchestras, over-dubs, session players, making their music very inaccessible to the up and coming garage bands.

So along comes punk, erasing the Classic Rock era, and rewinding music to the late 50's.and era when rock was basic, artists didn't have to record 10 songs for and album and when the vast majority of people bought single 45's, not long playing 33 and a thirds. It was no coincidence that "God Save the Queen", "Pretty Vacant", "Anarchy in the UK", could only be purchased as 45's upon their initial release. Not only did these singles absolutely rock harder than anything since "Live at Leeds", they were also the Pistols attempt to subvert the music industry which pushed "singles" to sell more expensive and more profitable albums. Later the singles were compiled for "Never Mind the Bullocks", and as a result, it sounds like a bunch of singles, not a perfectly selected sequence of tunes, which on the other hand, is exactly the way "Rocket to Russia" plays, making the Ramones much more similar to Classic Rock than the Pistols. This was a profound difference between the two was a singles bands, the other AOR and AOR ladies and gentlemen, is not punk.

Punk was more than just recording retro-records. The Pistols were fresh because they emphasized 45s and songs with biting social criticism. If an early 60's sound were the sole benchmark for punk, then I'd put the NY Dolls ahead of the Ramones because they recorded "Too Much, Too Soon", back in 1974, with legendary 60's producer, Shadow Morton.