Too Tough to Die Import, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
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the terrorist threat is a modern fear."
No, that's not from a new 2004 song...that was Dee Dee Ramone writing "Planet Earth 1988." As he made abundantly clear on "Jungle," he was becoming the Ramones' new secret weapon, either penning or co-writing nine tracks on "Too Tough To Die." If the heaviness of "Mama's Boy" or the obvious band statement of the title track didn't get you, then nothing could. Even the obvious bids for radio acceptance, "Howling At The Moon" and "Chasing The Night," were as good as anything from the brilliant "Rocket to Russia."
Producers Tommy (Ramone) Erdelyi and Ed Stasium probably had a better understanding of a Ramones sound than anyone outside the band, so they fit "Too Tough To Die" like naturals. Johnny's guitar is prominent, new drummer Richie Ramone gave the band a much needed power shot in the arm. Joey hadn't sounded this committed vocally since "End Of The Century." Listen to the way he attacks "Mama's Boy" and the bonus remake of "Street Fighting Man." Even Dee Dee's vocals on his drug addled "Wart Hog" and "Endless vacation" added an air of fresh vitality to the band.
The Ramones may have been fractious for the previous three albums, but during the sessions for "Subterranean Jungle," Dee Dee and Johnny overcame their differences and became friends again. While that didn't save "Jungle," it sure did jazz up "Too Tough To Die." The most vital of their 80's output, this caught the band at their 10th anniversary and tackling mature issues. "Too Tough To Die" was the Ramones re-staking their place in the Rock and Roll hierarchy at the time when U2 and the Clash were making commercial inroads and social statements. It remains the last truly classic Ramones album, every bit as essential as those first four albums and proof that punk rock could grow up.
R.I.P. Joey & Dee Dee......... Gabba Gabba Hey
The best nuggets on the Too Tough To Die re-issue are the UK B sides to the Howling At the Moon single, which are a cover of the Stones' Street Fighting Man and Smash You, which was recorded during the TTTD sessions but almost sounds like a classic 70s Ramones song. Also, a demo version of Howling At the Moon, which is just guitar, drums, bass and vocals. It sounds so much better than the overproduced synth-heavy version that ended up on the album, it's depressing that they intentionally ruined such a great song. I was hoping the original UK 12 inch version of Bonzo Goes to Bitburg would be here, since it was a single that was released so close to this album, but hopefully it'll show up on the Animal Boy re-issue.
EDIT Oct 17, 2013: Well, it's been over 10 years since I wrote this review... guess I can stop waiting for the Animal Boy re-issue. No worries, all in all I agree with whoever made the decision to stop at Too Tough To Die. It was all downhill from here.)
This was my first RAMONES album and it has a special place in my heart. From this album on, I heard their entire catalog and became a loyal fan. They made me get into punk and consequently, hardcore punk. A truly memorable collection of songs by the TRUE fathers of punk. Be not mistaken! If you consider yourself a punk rocker, you'd be commiting a crime by not owning "TOO TOUGH TO DIE".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is probably the best Ramones album of the 80s. I'd say the weakest is Halfway to Sanity but in Too Tough to Die you can listen the whole record without losing interest. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mr Flash
Delightful Christmas gift for a die-hard Ramones fan! Great condition!Published 11 months ago by Sage U.P.
I'm biased. They're my favorite band of all time. You can't like EVERYTHING your favorite band/artist puts out, but I really enjoy what these guys did. Still do.Published 13 months ago by D. Cantland
Not the best Ramones album. But it is still the Ramones so it is worth hearing. Plus you can get it pretty cheap so if you're in the market, why not. It's why I bought it. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Adam Taylor
I didn't even realize this was one of their earlier albums. I had not heard most of the songs on it. They are all Great songs. I love the ramones.Published on August 2, 2013 by A. Lafayette
Of course i like many songs on TOO TOUGH TO DIE...it's the classic RAMONES sound so it can't go wrong... Read morePublished on March 22, 2012 by Rio Fluzão