97. Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated

So many artists have been influenced by the Ramones, it would take pages and pages to fully explore their impact on modern rock music. I think part of the reason people were drawn to them is the simplicity of their songs and the arrangements. Pretty much anyone listening to them probably thought to themselves, “That’s cool. I could do something like that.” And many of them did. From U2 in the early 80’s to Green Day in the 2000’s, you can see the Ramones’ influence all over the radio dial. Hell, Spin magazine named them the second greatest band of all time, trailing only the Beatles.

This song is so infectious. It’s definitely punk, but Joey’s oh-so-recognizable voice actually hits the notes, making it almost poppy. Tone the guitar down a little, and you’ve got a great pop song that Hanson could have sung (lyrics notwithstanding). That’s what makes it so great. The Sex Pistols wore their lack of musicianship and vocal styling as a badge of honor, but the Ramones took things seriously.

That being said, the reason this song is so low on my list is why I think they were so influential. It’s so simple. Easy chords, simple playing, lyrics repeated over and over. Give me five minutes, and I could play bass for the Ramones. Usually, I put a few phrases of the lyrics to make my point about a certain song, but for this one these are all the lyrics:

Twenty-twenty-twenty four hours to go, I wanna be sedated

Nothing to do nowhere to go, I wanna be sedated

Just get me to the airport and put me in a plane

Hurry Hurry Hurry before I go insane

I can't control my fingers, I can't control my brain Oh no Oh no Oh no

Just put me in a wheelchair and get me to the show

Hurry Hurry Hurry, before I go loco

I can't control my fingers, I can't control my toes Oh no Oh no Oh no

In an interview, Joey said that the lyrics were written while they were in London at Christmas, when the whole city was shut down due to the holiday. He was so frustrated being in London and not having anywhere to go or anything to do. They just ended up staying in the hotel watching TV. Who can’t relate to that? Maybe not the London part, but not having anything to do – we’ve all been there.

It may not be that simple and true Ramones die-hards are probably clenching their fists, but remember, I still think this is a great song. I love listening to it. It’s just that I think people may put too much stock in the influence of the Ramones rather than the actual songs.

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