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

4.5 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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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 (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While reading this book it felt like Johnny Ramone was sitting on the couch next to me telling me HIS story. This is a must have for any Ramones fan. Not only do you get his whole back story, he also provides his own "capsule reviews" of each and every Ramones release. It's great to get Johnny's insight. Also, there's amazing and rare photos everywhere you look. Johnny's sense of humor shines through as well. Again, must have.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are going so far as to look at this page and read the reviews, you know good and well you want to read the book. So go ahead - you'll like it. Even when you don't.

Johnny Ramone was certainly not a shrinking violet and, while a man of few public words, he didn't mince any of them. This is his story - his life before, during and after the Ramones, and he tells it simply, directly, and with an artlessness that ironically elevates his prose. Much like the Ramones themselves, actually.

Unimpressed with his own legend, JR makes no pretense of himself, while offering an honest opinion of his own place in rock 'n' roll. He viewed his job as, well, a JOB, and set out to do it well, give it his complete and unstinting effort and do his damnedest to make sure that his customers got their money's worth. Thanks to his vigilance and willingness to be a task-master, he made sure the other Ramones gave their all, too. This leads into the great ironies of Johnny Ramone:

An unapologetic "punk," he was the one who cracked the whip and made sure everyone was professional, prepared and on time. An icon of iconoclasm, he was a proud social and political conservative who loved America and the Republican party, he influenced and inspired countless young liberals and "anarchists" to pick up their guitars and howl.

All of which, and much more you'll read for yourself, make JR a fascinating individual. And if that isn't enough, there are scores of great photos, Johnny's own critique of the band's albums, and, perhaps most fun of all, a scattershot of lists of his favorite movies, ball players, etc. And while I am not sure how much I care for the cardboard covers, I AM fond of the sewn signatures, which bode well for at least part of its long term shelf life.

If you are here looking at this, you know you want to read this. So go on and read it. It's a lot more fun than reviews of it.
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