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Joey Ramone

From Academic Kids

Jeffrey Hyman (May 19, 1951April 15, 2001), better known as Joey Ramone, was the vocalist for the legendary punk rock group The Ramones. He and fellow band-mate Johnny Ramone were the only two members who stayed with the band until their retirement in 1996.

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Joey grew up in Forest Hills, Queens. His mother, Charlotte, encouraged an interest in music in both Joey and his brother Mitchell Hyman a/k/a Mickey Leigh. Joey was a fan of The Who, among other bands (particularly "oldies"). He took up drums at 13, playing throughout his teen years, and was originally the drummer for the Ramones. Upon Tommy Ramone's suggestion that some particular parts of the band didn't work, he became the vocalist. Joey and his bandmates attended Forest Hills High School.

He was said to be the "heart and soul" of The Ramones, and his favorite songs they had performed were often the ballads and love songs. CJ Ramone called Joey the "hippie of the group".

After the heyday of the Ramones in the mid-70s, they remained only an underground act throughout the 80s and 90s.

Joey was distinctive due to his towering height of 6 feet 6 inches, unbelievable skinniness, and long shock of black hair that almost completely obscured his face. Joey was known to have suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Joey was born sterile, so he never fathered any children. He also never married.

Joey died of lymphoma on April 15, 2001. He apparently had had the disease for a long time; he was sighted at a New York City cancer clinic that specializes in lymphoma in the mid 1990s.

Joey was the first mainstream-acknowledged punk star to die whose death was not due to a drug overdose or suicide, though his addiction issues were much publicised in various books on the Ramones. His passing was a sad shock to many, and seemed to signal the end of a generation. Countless memorials, both by fans and the rockers he influenced, followed.

His solo album Don't Worry About Me was released in 2002 and features the single What A Wonderful World, his cover of the Louis Armstrong chestnut.

On November 30th, 2003, Joey Ramone Place (http://www.officialramones.com/joeyplace/main.html) was officially named a new street in New York City. It is located alongside the block where The Ramones got their start at CBGB. His birthday is annually celebrated by rock and roll nightclubs, hosted in New York City by his mother and brother.

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