R.I.P. Tommy Ramone

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The drummer of influential punk band the Ramones, has died aged 62, he had been in hospice care after treatment for bile duct cancer.

Thomas Erdelyi, better known by his stage name Tommy Ramone, was born in Budapest. His parents were Holocaust survivors, moving to New York in 1963.

The group’s official Twitter account announced Tommy’s death.

Before founding The Ramones, he worked as an assistant engineer on the Jimi Hendrix album Band of Gypsys.

The four founding members of the Ramones were lead singer Joey Ramone, guitarist Johnny Ramone, bassist Dee Dee Ramone and drummer Tommy Ramone. The original drummer was Joey Ramone, Erdelyi was going to be the band’s manager, but was chosen as the band’s drummer when Joey told the group he couldn’t keep up with the pace of the music.

He played as the Ramones drummer from 1974 – 1978, recording on the first three albums Ramone, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, as well as the live album It’s Alive.

The Ramones were massively influenced by the New York Dolls, Lou Reed and artist Andy Warhol. In a 2007 BBC interview he said:

“The scene that developed at CBGB wasn’t [for] a teenage or garage band, there was an intellectual element and that’s the way it was for The Ramones.”

Tommy was the last remaining member of the original line-up. The Ramones influenced many of today’s modern rock groups, including Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and The Strokes.