The original New York punk rockers, the Ramones seemed to have everything: a look, a sound, an attitude, a killer sense of humor and an aesthetic that was so original that it shocked everyone who heard it and so simple that it has inspired 35 years’ worth of copycats. What they didn’t have was a hit to match their reputation, although a lot of their two-and-a-half-minute eruptions of adenoidal noise turned into standards anyway once the rest of the world caught up.
The Ramones’ buzz-saw bubblegum was a spitball of opposition to nearly everything else happening in pop in the mid-’70s. “I Wanna Be Sedated” is an “I’m sick of being on the road” song that’s hilarious where it could have been self-indulgent, mostly because nobody had ever sung so earnestly about longing for tranquilizers. And they were famously averse to rock-‘n’-roll frippery like guitar solos, so Johnny Ramone’s ultraminimalist solo here is both an upraised middle finger and a brilliant show of compositional chutzpah.