Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Certain Songs #1796: Ramones – “Commando (London, 1977)” | Medialoper

Album: It’s Alive!
Year: 1977

The story of It’s Alive! is one of the weirder stories in the world of the Ramones. Recorded on New Years Eve, 1977, the final day of a year that changed rock ‘n’ roll forever, It’s Alive! is simultaneously one of the greatest live albums ever released and totally redundant.

For one thing, it came out in 1979, after Road to Ruin, but because it was recorded prior to that album, only featured songs from the first three — 28 out of the 42 songs from Ramones, Leave Home & Rocket to Russia — it was already a bit out time. Also, it didn’t come out in the U.S., where in 1979, punk rock was still a dirty word. In fact, it didn’t get an official release here until 1995 — after the way inferior Loco Live! — which is a sham of a mockery of a sham.

Luckily, I was able to track It’s Alive! down at Tower Records — where they had guys like Gary and Dale, who knew their punk rock — and snagged an import copy. And even though I had the first three albums pretty much memorized, I also wore It’s Alive out, because I loved how songs that already seemed unbelievably fast in their original incarnation got somehow even faster, one of my favorite examples being the hilarious cold war parody, “Commando.”

They do their best, do what they can
To get them ready for Vietnam
From old Hanoi to East Berlin
Commando – involved again
They do their best, do what they can
To get them ready for Vietnam

Naturally, this is all over an absolutely buzzsaw guitar and Tommy’s relentless ride cymbal, and kick/snare all going about 1400 beats per minute. Obviously the Ramones didn’t invent hardcore, which was already taking shape, but they certainly gave the hardcore kids a baseline to surpass.

Why is this Ramones song different from all other Ramones songs?

A co-write between Dee Dee and Johnny, “Commando” has one of my favorite choruses on all of Ramonesdom:

First rule is: The laws of Germany
Second rule is: Be nice to Mommy
Third rule is: Don’t talk to commies
Fourth rule is: Eat kosher salamis

I love the contrast between the barking out of the order of the rules and what the actual rules are, which alternate what might be actual rules (don’t break German laws or fraternize with the enemy) and the absurdity of telling a Commando to “be nice to Mommy” and “Eat kosher salamis”. Not to mention that its the only song in the history to rhyme “Germany,” “Mommy,” “Commies” and “salamis.”

“Commando (London, 1977)”

Did you miss a Certain Song? Follow me on Twitter: @barefootjim

The Certain Songs Database
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

[from https://ift.tt/2lwcL5j]

No comments: