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Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone Hardcover – April 2, 2012

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About the Author

John Cummings (1948–2004), aka Johnny Ramone, was ranked by Rolling Stone as #16 on its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” In Time’s rating of the “10 Greatest Electric-Guitar Players,” he was named, in a fit of appropriate rebellion, #11.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; 3.2.2012 edition (April 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081099660X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810996601
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful By David Burd on March 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After many books about the Ramones, written both by insiders and outsiders, we now have the band's inside story from the one who was there from the very beginning until the very last show, Johnny Ramone. Johnny's perspective on the Ramones history is interesting not only because he performed at every show, endured every grueling van tour, and made it through every recording session, but because Johnny himself was such a unique individual. Especially in the music business, where hard-working conservatives are the exception and not the rule.

With a military school background and a deeply ingrained work ethic, Johnny wasn't your average rock star, fixated on sex and drugs and avoiding responsibility. He was focused on making the band successful and keeping the quality consistently high. Commando is less of a tell-all book about the personality conflicts within the group (that gossip has been covered elsewhere) and more of a sober assessment of Johnny's and the Ramones' successes and failures over their long career. Johnny's highly developed business sense comes through loud and clear (and loud!). Attention up-and-comers: Commando is a textbook for anyone who wants to start a band and make a living at it.

Being one of the architects of punk, Johnny's story is told with unflinching honesty. It's as much about "I don't care what you think" as it is about maintaining his own personal integrity. Johnny candidly admits to the bad stuff he did (some of it a little shocking) as well as the phenomenal job he did keeping the Ramones together and working steadily. It's neither boastful nor apologetic. It is what it is.

The text is very much in Johnny's own voice. You almost feel like he's talking to you when he discusses his friends, his former girlfriends, and his wife Linda.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By J. Evans on April 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Let me begin this by saying that I am extremely surprised by this book that I casually bought. It brought me to tears at the end, (I'm a male in my 50's, ex-Marine) and gave me a penetrating glimpse into my adolescence, but first a little history. My youth was spent in and around N.Y.C., either as a privileged kid in a North Jersey suburb, or at a place we had in the city. I revolted against my upbringing all throughout my school years, and found a source of intense excitement with this new band, The Ramones. We're talking 76' here, I picked up on Leave Home. First one went by me. I was 12 years old then. Anyway, I soon became a nut for the Ramones, and would see them everywhere I could. N.J., The city, Queens, Long Island. I would go see Dee Dee at comic book conventions and just the weirdest places. I would ever so often see Johnny on the Subway, he was always dressed just like he was onstage, the jacket,.... everything. I would always go up to him and say, "Johnny, I'm a huge fan and I just wanted to say that you are the God of Thunder. Only you are able to do this. You rule." I would smile and he would give me a serious look and reply, "Thanks a lot.... that really means a lot to me. That's the kind of thing that keeps me going!" Then he'd smile.
I lost touch with the Ramones after Road to Ruin, I tried, but there was endless better music out there. When Joey died I was pretty emotional because he was the sweetheart of the band. But Joey told a rather 1 dimensional picture of Johnny that this autobiography clarifies completely. I cried when I got to the end of the book because I realized what an incredible person he was. Amazing ethics and standards. Sure, a lot of imperfections, but what resonates with me is the integrity. I realized that I was looking for the very things he believed in.
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29 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Lens on April 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
First, I don't want to repeat anything which has been written ...Little intro: I photographed, followed, and hung w/the Ramones during their first West Coast Tour, August 1976. To say that experience changed my life is an understatement. I saw and heard things I've never shared and still won't. I hung w/Dee Dee. I saw the interaction between he and Johnny. I continued to photograph the Ramones on the West Coast til end of 1978. Never as close to them as that first summer, when everything was so new. Later I was busy photographing other bands, while others photographed them. Life changes, but our first loves always "occupy a chamber of our hearts." (Anais Nin)

It is VERY hard for most to look back on one's life, see things clearly, remember everything (esp living the hectic "on the road" life of the Ramones), let alone know how or what to share honestly. Finding words describing our lives is not easy!

** Johnny's autobio is a REVELATION! I was stunned by his articulate intelligence, his willingness to admit to sometimes silly, demeaning, meaningless behavior which is NORMAL. Most ppl drink, fight or suppress all that. PLUS such heart-warming, down-to-earth stories, opening up in ways most men won't, especially someone as guarded as he.

HE and his band-mates turned their personal inner lives into the BEST ROCK MUSIC EVER. I told Dee Dee someday they'd be as big and influential as the Beatles. He said I was crazy. Well, we know who was really crazy. Sad, beautiful Dee Dee, who never quite 'got' it that he and the Ramones were, even in 1976, so beloved, talented, and vitally important. I say crazy with so much love and admiration for his sweet soul. That is why I hung with him.
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