The Rolling Stones and the Ramones are very different bands, however, the Ramones’ discography wouldn’t be the same without The Rolling Stones. After all, the Ramones came up with one of their most famous hooks when they were making fun of Mick Jagger’s vocals. Here’s a look at the story behind “Blitzkrieg Bop.”
How The Ramones’ Joey Ramone felt about mainstream music
The Ramones were at the forefront of the punk rock revolution in the 1970s. Despite this, Joey Ramone had decidedly mainstream taste in music. For example, producer Craig Leon told Loudersound that Ramone liked Herman’s Hermits, a famous bubblegum pop band. At the same time, the band didn’t listen to certain bands that were less mainstream.
“Joey was the real fanatic for pop culture – I mean, he loved anything by Herman’s Hermits!” Leon recalled. “I’m pretty sure that none of the Ramones were fans of the bands that people thought were their influences. They didn’t listen to the Stooges or the Velvets. They thought they were just dour old farts.”
How mocking The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger inspired the Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’
The Ramones’ enjoyment of mainstream rock came through in their single “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Two other bands inspired the song. One was the Bay City Rollers, a teen idol group from Scotland. The other was The Rolling Stones, who are still one of the most famous rock groups ever.
“There was a big hit by the Bay City Rollers at the time called ‘Saturday Night,’ which was a chant-type song,” Tommy Ramone revealed. “So I thought it would be fun to do for the Ramones too. And somehow I came up with ‘Hey! Ho! Let’s go!’ I just liked the term because it made fun of Mick Jagger singing the Stones’ version of ‘Walking the Dog,’ where he goes ‘High low, tippy toe’. We all used to goof on that and sing ‘hey ho!’ instead.”
How the world reacted to The Rolling Stones’ ‘Walking the Dog’ and the Ramones’ ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’
For context, “Walking the Dog” was a hit song by Rufus Thomas. The track reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Many other artists covered “Walking the Dog” afterward, including The Rolling Stones on their self-titled debut album. While their version of the track wasn’t a single, its parent album was successful, reaching No. 11 on the Billboard 200.
This raises an interesting question: How did “Blitzkrieg Bop” perform compared to “Walking the Dog?” “Blitzkrieg Bop” didn’t hit the Billboard Hot 100 at all. In fact, only three Ramones tracks reached the Hot 100: “Rockaway Beach,” “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker,” and “Do You Wanna Dance.” That didn’t stop the song from gaining a place in pop culture, appearing in numerous films including Spider-Man: Homecoming and Pan. “Blitzkrieg Bop” wasn’t as big a hit as “Walking the Dog” but it remains famous.