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4.8 out of 5 stars65
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on June 4, 2002
This was the first Ramones album--maybe the first punk album--that I ever bought, and I can still remember how it FUZZED MY BRAIN.
After three years of Top-40 radio dominated by the likes of Andy Gibb, Seals & Crofts and Steely Dan, LEAVE HOME was more than a breath of fresh air, it was a tornado. Within six months of hearing this LP I was a complete convert, wearing torn jeans, playing nothing but barre chords, and hunting down the Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, etc. LPs that were then generally available only as imports.
Punk was very quickly turned into some quirky American marketing scheme--I'm thinking about Blondie, the Talking Heads and the Romantics here--but with a few short gliches (END OF THE CENTURY, for example) the Ramones remained true. They were one of the very few who found a connection between punk and traditional rock--"Pinhead" and "California Sun" sound just fine side by side, for instance--so I guess they didn't see much reason to fool with the formula.
And they were great fun. "Carbona Not Glue" and "Beat On The Brat" are a laugh, not the misanthropic mess they would have been in lesser hands. You can not keep your head from bangin' when listening to the Ramones.
Joey Ramone may be the most underrated singer in rock history. A lot of intitial critical reaction to the Ramones focused on the relentless bass/rythm guitar attack; to me it had as much to do with Joey's vocals as anything else. Could he hit high notes with George Michael? No. Would he want to? No. Joey Ramone put across NY swagger like nobody's business, and David Johanson would have given his eye teeth to sing like Joey.
Ramones LPs been called audio comic books, and to a large extent that's true. On the other hand, they were the only rockers I recall who had the guts to release a record about the absurdity of Ronald Reagan's embrace of the Third Reich, "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg." It was one of the last times Rock was actually important, I think, and it's also a great single; track it down.
Back when I was full-bore into the scene, I thought ROCKET TO RUSSIA was the best Ramones LP. Looking back, I think ROCKET was simply more accessible to a boy raised on melody; it also had a better cover photo and some of the 'professional' sound I was accustomed to. Today I see LEAVE HOME as the best Ramones LP, bar none. There are at least 7 classic Ramones songs here.
Adding the Roxy show makes this great LP a great double LP. Unlike some other live Ramones releases, this catches the band at their energetic peak--August, 1976. Joey's patter between tunes is the greatest.
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on January 9, 2002
Great music just doesn't get better than the Ramones' first four albums, which rank along with 1965-66 Dylan, 1977-80 Elvis Costello and 1985-87 Husker Du as one of the most thrilling runs of albums ever. The Ramones' impact on rock music in the 1970's was huge during this period, first defining a genre, then setting it on its ear. Their eponymous debut, recorded in a very short time and on a shoestring budget, epitomized the DIY ethic of garage rock, and singlehandedly created the punk genre that was set to explode in the UK. When it came time to record their follow-up, while new UK punk bands were railing against the establishment, the Ramones opted for plain old rock & roll and a wickedly dark sense of humour.
Leave Home is no punk record; that's too basic a categorization. It's a classic rock & roll album, combining the ferocity of punk with the exuberance of early Sixties rock. Whether it's wide-eyed romanticism or sardonic nihilism, the key word here is fun, plain and simple.
What's surprising after all these years is how optimistic and romantic Leave Home is, hardly in keeping with the vitriolic punk aesthetic. On this album Joey Ramone is at his most wistful and vulnerable, especially on gorgeous songs like 'I Remember You', 'Swallow Your Pride', 'What's Your Game', and 'Babysitter'. It doesn't get any better than 'Oh Oh I Love Her So', a simple tale of love found at the Burger King, cavorting at Coney Island, and the realisation that "everything's gonna be real fine", echoing the early songwriting of Brain Wilson and Lennon-McCartney, encapsulating joyful energy perfectly.
Leave Home treads the fine line between the optimistic and satirical perfectly, and its other half is equally brilliant. The heavy production and the band's nasty sense of humour is dead-on on songs like 'Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment', 'Carbona Not Glue', the classic Todd Haynes-influenced 'Pinhead', the anti-military 'Commando', and the especially nasty 'You're Gonna Kill That Girl'. Best of all the darker songs is the wonderfully subversive 'Glad To See You Go', a song about killing one's lover just to be as notorious as Charles Manson, but brilliantly disguised as a bubblegum tune.
Not only is this new cd rerelease excellent in sound quality, but it also has a full live performance on the second half of the disc, recorded at their forst L.A. performance in 1976. The Ramones plow their way through sixteen songs in little over a half hour, wasting no time at all, perfectly capturing the energy of their early shows. If this great added bonus doen't convince you to buy this cd, nothing will.
The Ramones went on to peak with Rocket To Russia (arguably their most accomplished album) and Road To Ruin, but Leave Home remains my own personal favourite. It's the pure essence of everything that rock & roll has embodied for nearly fifty years: romantic, cheeky, energetic, and, most importantly, loud. And it was pulled off by four ugly goofs from Queens, proof they were just One Of Us. May their music live on forever...Gabba Gabba Hey.
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on October 28, 2014
The original album rates five stars but it's a sad day for a big Ramones fan like me. I really wanted to like this reissue but the sound of the original album has been altered too much to the point that it sounds like it has been totally remixed; this is actually the case on most of the reissues. "Leave Home" is the album that suffered the most in my opinion. Basically what this remaster does is increase the volume of the drums, bass, and vocals while leaving the guitars in the background buzzing from the distance. I just cannot listen to it at all. The original record had a lovely mix in which the two guitars were split between the channels/speakers with an upper register rhythm guitar panned to the left speaker and a lower/heavier rhythm guitar that was placed towards the right speaker. On this remaster the heavier/right side guitar has been cushioned and severely lowered in volume with the overall sound being thinner! I had pretty much forgotten how heavy the intro on "Commando" originally sounded before the album was remastered! Now it sounds too smooth and weak! "I Remember You" is another example on which one can tell that the heavy rhythm guitar is notably lower right from the intro. This is definitely not the sound that people fell in love with back in early '77 when it was heard for the first time. I find it ironic that the person responsible for the remastering job for this album happens to be the same person who a few years later remastered the catalog from progressive rockers Yes...prog rock and punk rock are supposed to be at odds! My question: Why are they being remastered by the same person? It's no wonder the sound of this album has been notably smoothed here! I would like to say that I happen to be a big fan of both bands...and in this case it shows that having an eclectic music taste can sometimes help someone unearth some interesting facts!
My advice is to hold on to your older copy of the album or the "All the Stuff Vol. 1" compilation or just buy that one if you haven't already. This remaster is only recommended for the excellent booklet, the bonus concert at the Roxy, California from August 12, 1976 which represents the early Ramones at their best by the way, and perhaps for the joy of owning a version of "Leave Home" that has both "Babysitter" and "Carbona Not Glue" on it together. It is absolutely NOT recommended for the remastered sound though...it may be a better investment to just download the bonus content.
Thanks for taking the time to read!
Later...
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on August 25, 2006
As years pass, it will only become more apparent that the Ramones produced some of the best and influential rock songs. Few lyrics and fewer chords somehow found a way to establish so much.

The 2nd in the great trio of Ramones titles from 1976-77, Leave Home has been combined with a memorable 1976 west-coast gig. The 1-2 punch will simply knock you out.

Glad to See You Go, Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment, Suzy Is a Headbanger, Pinhead, and Commando will all have you chanting and dancing along. Oh Oh I Love Her So succeeds where others have not dared to tread - and yes, some of us do remember similar moments in our young, Queens, New York lives.

After getting in the mood, what better way to wrap up this experience but with a thunderous 16-track live performance where we can hear a virtual greatest hits of their early material. I was floored by the musical and historical weight of this disc, and have little doubt that you will as well.

Let's go ... 1-2-3-4 !!!
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on December 16, 2004
Though the guys say that all songs for the 1st two albums were written before any recording made, there is some progression in song structures. I mean there are not just 3 or 4 chords, but sometimes 5 or horribile dictu 6 chords in one song. What's more, there are occasional backing vocal harmonies. Here the poppier, funnier side of The Ramones is present for the first time - like some amateurish, morbid Beatles cover band - with songs like 'I Remember You', 'California Sun' or 'Oh Oh I Love Her So' which is a big favourite of mine: pure fun!

But there are the harsher, "punker" tracks, like 'Commando', 'You're Gonna Kill That Girl', the horror-themed 'You Should Never Have Opened That Door' or the drugs-themed 'Carbona Not Glue' which then was pulled in the U.S. and in England and was replaced by 'Sheena Is a Punk Rocker' (find it on Rocket to Russia) and 'Babysitter' respectively. There is of course the anthem 'Pinhead' with the shout Gabbba Gabba Hey! And finally let's admit there are some weaker tracks, too, but only three or two. Extensive liner notes, lyrics printed, photos, nice design - it couldn't have been done better!

But the real gem is the 16 extra songs from the concert from December 1976 which was their 1st one in LA, as an opening act for the Flamin' Grooves. This stuff is absolutely equal to the official It's Alive album! The latter one was recorded one year later in London and they just became faster til then, though The Ramones always played faster live then on studio recordings. And since Joey is singer and not a shouter, his voice fits better the not-too-fast tempo when he's not forced to let out so many syllables. At least listening back to them now, I prefer these versions of songs like 'Judy Is a Punk', 'Havana Affair' or 'Glad to See You Go'.

2 in 1 and it's still 67 minutes! Hey ho, it's The Ramones!
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on June 29, 2001
This re-issue is unreal. Much less crude than the first album--not that crude is bad--The Ramones were hitting their stride here; proving that the were great rock fans as well as a great Punk band. This one has always been a favorite of mine. The first four songs are the most powerful opening ever with such Ramones classics as Glad To See You Go, Shock Treatment, I Remember You (that awesome power chord), and Oh Oh, I Love Her So (my wife and I met at a Burger King as we worked together so this one holds a special interest). Follow that up with Suzy, Pinhead, Commando, and You're Gonna Kill That Girl and you have a classic. Of all of the recent re-issues, this is the one you want because of the incredible 16 track concert--if for no other reason than to hear Dee Dee sing on 53rd and 3rd. Seriously, a must-have for any Ramones fan. I originally owned this on 8-track (Gosh I am old) and loved it then. Now digitally remastered and with a bonus concert, this is just beyond belief. I am encouraged to buy the other three re-issues as well. The booklet is fantastic and interesting. Buy it, play it loud, and thank goodness Rhino and Warner did something right.
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on August 26, 2005
This was the first punk album I ever bought (back in 1977) at a time when I was getting really bored with rock music. After this I got totally into what they called punk or "new wave" and I never looked back. And of course I soon discovered that these were the guys that started the entire movement with their debut album in 1976.I think this is the best Ramones album not because it was my first one, but because of the songs, and also the production. The guitars are double-tracked, giving it a much fuller (and live sounding) sound than their first record. And their are none of the sound-softening acoustic guitars that they began using on their next album. That makes this the quintessential Ramones studio album, pure and simple.
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on August 22, 2011
Son of Sam. Listening to Phil Rizutto broadcast the Yankess games on the radio. The 1 Train. Getting off the A Train at West 4th. The Train to da Plane. That is what is between the grooves on "Ramones Leave Home" to me. Especially "Swallow My Pride" and "Commando" - these songs capture the hot summer nights of the '70s New York. The one that is long gone. Hey Indie Kids - you might have taken over Brooklyn now, but you have no idea what the real Brooklyn was like. And you should be glad. You couldn't handle it. That was the world of this album. Pure genius is what these guys were. Pure New York City. New York's finest.
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on November 7, 2002
Unlike the first re-issue, there can be no doubt that this re-issue is worthwhile for every fan. "Leave Home"'s slightly more power pop sound benefits from the re-mastering more than the s/t debut. Listening to these tracks carefully again after years of knowing them by heart is still as satisfying as absorbing this 'grinding wall of sound' the first time. "Carbona Not Glue" is back where it should have been all along (trademarks be damned), along with "Babysitter" (already appearing, admittedly, on "All the Stuff (And More) Vol. 1").
But the real contribution that Rhino has made with this albulm is releasing an entire '76 concert as *sixteen tracks* of 'bonus material'. If you're at all put off by buying "Leave Home" again, think of this CD as a classic live albulm that you don't own. The Roxy tracks are cleaner than one might expect. The concert is great on its own merits, but an additional treat is hearing them as they are just starting off. The musicianship is clearly still developing. Joey is chatty in comparison to what their live act would develop into, and puts some styling into the songs one wouldn't hear later, such as on "I Remember You". This "53rd & 3rd" live version should put to rest any question about the Ramones as being truly the start of punk rock; unpolished by studio it's as ferocious as its lyrics.
This is, obviously, a classic Ramones albulm, and it deserves a new listening to from any fan. The live material makes this new package an irresistable buy, even for those who haven't quite worn out their copy of the original yet.
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on June 19, 2001
I consider the original "Leave Home" album a four-and-a-half star release and the band's third-strongest album. The sound quality is better than the band's debut and the songs are a little more diverse - "I Remember You" slows the pace down considerably and is a gorgeous song - but, overall, the album just isn't quite up to the standards of the albums it is sandwiched between. However, this version definitely deserves five stars. Why? Three reasons:
1. The sound quality is pristine. The remastering adds power and depth to already powerful music.
2. "Carbona Not Glue," the fabulous follow-up to "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue," is returned to the running order. It was on the first pressings of the record, but because "Carbona" was a copyrighted name and The Ramones were in danger of being sued, the band replaced it on future pressings with "Sheena is a Punk Rocker," a strange choice since it appeared on their next album as well.
3. Although many remastered editions of albums contain bonus tracks, this one contains a bonus album. The band's August 1976 L.A. debut show at the Roxy Theater is included - 16 songs in all. The songs are delivered at breakneck speed and, for those that don't own "It's Alive," prove just how insane the band was on stage. As hyper as the songs sound on their first two albums, they sound tame compaired to their live counterparts.
Not only is the original album solid by itself, the wealth of bonus material makes this album an essential purchase for any Ramones fan.
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