The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first true punk rock group. Despite achieving only limited commercial success initially, the band was highly influential in the United States, Argentina, Brazil and most of South America, as well as Europe, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Belgium.
All of the band members adopted pseudonyms ending with the surname "Ramone", although none of them were biologically related; they were inspired by Paul McCartney of the Beatles, who would check into hotels as "Paul Ramon". The Ramones performed 2,263 concerts, touring virtually nonstop for 22 years. In 1996, after a tour with the Lollapalooza music festival, they played a farewell concert in Los Angeles and disbanded. By 2014, all four of the band's original members had died – lead singer Joey Ramone (1951–2001), bassist Dee Dee Ramone (1951–2002), guitarist Johnny Ramone (1948–2004) and drummer Tommy Ramone (1949–2014). The remaining surviving members of the Ramones—bassist C. J. Ramone (who replaced Dee Dee in 1989 and stayed with the band until its dissolution) and drummers Marky Ramone, Richie Ramone and Elvis Ramone—are still musically active.
Recognition of the band's importance built over the years, and they are now mentioned in many assessments of all-time great rock music, such as number 26 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time" and number 17 in VH1's "100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock". In 2002, the Ramones were ranked the second-greatest band of all time by Spin, trailing only the Beatles. On March 18, 2002, the original four members and Tommy's replacement on drums, Marky Ramone, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility, though Joey had died by then. In 2011, the group was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.