Tommy Ramone, the last remaining member of one of the first punk bands, The Ramones, has died aged 62. His death was announced on the band's official Facebook page: "We are saddened to announce the passing of Tommy Ramone (nee Erdelyi), the original drummer for the Ramones, earlier today, 11 July 2014."
With their three-chord thrash and breakneck speed The Ramones - formed in New York in 1974 – are seen by many as the first punk band. From playing at seminal venue CBGBs in Manhattan they became famous around the world, winning a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. All the members of the band adopted the surname Ramone.
Born Tom Erdelyi in Budapest, Hungary, before moving to the US in the 1950s, Tommy was supposed to be the manager but stepped in as drummer because singer Joey couldn't maintain the lightning speed of the songs. Tommy also wrote some of the band's best-known tunes including I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend and part of Blitzkrieg Bop.
Speaking about the band's enduring appeal in 1978 Tommy said: "It wasn't just music in The Ramones: it was an idea. It was bringing back a whole feel that was missing in rock music – it was a whole push outwards to say something new and different. Originally it was just an artistic type of thing; finally I felt it was something that was good enough for everybody."
The band's sound, appearance and "can-do" attitude had a huge influence on "alternative" music, with bands including Nirvana, Metallica and The Clash citing The Ramones as influences. In 2002 The Clash's Joe Strummer said: "We learned a lot off of The Ramones... how not to muck around on the stage. When the Ramones number started, it started there! When it ended, it ended there! They didn't spend hours shambling around, scratching themselves... ya know, there's a lot of this casual behaviour is considered cool now - yeah, but I wonder if it's rooted in cool or rooted in just... ineptitude."
Tommy was the last of The Ramones. Singer Joey (Jeffrey Hyman) died of lymphoma in 2001, bassist Dee Dee (Douglas Colvin) of an overdose in 2002 and guitarist Johnny (John Cummings) of prostate cancer in 2004.
Watch the Ramones perform Sheena is a Punk Rocker on YouTube, below: