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Thursday, February 16, 2006

29 Years Ago Today

It was a wild and crazy week at the Whisky A Go Go in 1977. From February 9 through February 12, there was a sultry blonde double bill. How many Angelenos remember that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers opened these shows for Blondie? I remember vividly. I was there. And this photo of Debbie Harry was taken on one of those nights. That's original bass player, Gary Valentine in the background.

We had been reading about Blondie for ages in the various magazines such as New York Rocker, Creem, and of course Punk. We also had their eponymous debut record, which we adored and played relentlessly. We knew all the songs inside out.

But our excitement over Blondie did not take away from at least my enjoyment of seeing Tom Petty. Not a punk rocker at all, but certainly a guy with some punk attitude, Tom Petty was quoted as saying "If you call me a punk, I'll cut you." Nuff said. Do you feel lucky punk? Tom Petty's career would go on a stratospheric climb, surpassing just about everyone who'd every played at the Whisky, including his own idols, The Byrds, you could see, hear and feel his star quality. I think Tom Petty's greatest hits album has sold in excess of 20 MILLION copies. I must hand it to him, even when he was headlining the 20,000 seat Forum, he came back to do a surprise show at the Whisky the very next night. And about 20 years later, played about 20 nights at the Fillmore in San Francisco. You may call him classic rock, but he's a man of the people. One last thing about Tom Petty before I get back to telling you about this date in history, 29 years ago. During a one-week stand at the Universal Amphitheatre, during his Rock n Roll Caravan Tour, TP & the HB's did play a cover of the Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go." Well done, too.

Anyway, back to 1977. The Ramones had been in LA the previous August. They'd made some friends, they stayed at the Tropicana, ate at Duke's and did all the things that one does when one comes to LA to get their punk on. They also incited a Beatle-mania level of excitement amongst me and my friends.

Joey Ramone

They just stood there and didn't say very much in between songs except 1 2 3 4 and then Johnny launched into his power chords.

Johnny Ramone

And pretty much, the rest is history! Everyone who hit that Whisky stage that week in February 1977 got their turn at hit radio as well as a place in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. What a track record, what a great week it was for music!

This is just a reminder that the photo of Johnny Ramone that you see above is available in a Limited Edition Consumer Print til the end of this month, in commemoration of this anniversary. If you want one of your very own, please go to my Sale Site and click on the shopping cart. We take Paypal here at Punk Turns 30. Johnny Ramone in his consumer-priced edition will only be available til the end of February. Then his stock goes up because he'll be in gallery hands.

Gabba gabba hey!

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