20 Years Ago Today, The Ramones Played Their Last Show

Looking back, the final Ramones performance on August 6, 1996, was anti-climactic. Given the love and respect the Ramones have achieved since then, you might find it surprising that show number 2,280 was a club gig, not in New York but in Los Angeles. Sure, there were plenty of guest appearances, but the whole thing was…quieter than a band of the Ramones’ influence deserved.

All four original Ramones are gone, but Marky–the second longest-serving member behind Joey and Johnny–is keeping the flame alive. He remembers that final gig with this animated video via Rolling Stone.

Here’s the setlist from that night.

We have to remember that Joey was sick at the time, dealing with lymphatic cancer. People in the Ramones’ circle knew all about it but kept it a tight secret, much like Bowie’s associates would keep news of his liver cancer quiet, too. After that final gig, Joey went back to his New York apartment and spent a lot of time learning to day trade stocks by watching CNBC. Anchor Maria Bartiroma was such a big favourite that he wrote and recorded a song about her.

Around this time, Joey and I spent time on the phone. My publisher at the time came up with the idea of having Joey write a forward for it, so I managed to get his home phone number. He spoke of not feeling well and having a wound on his foot that wouldn’t heal, but Joey had a reputation of being sickly, so few of us thought much of it. How wrong we were. By April 15, 2001, he was dead.

I still have Joey’s number in my phone. I will never, ever delete it.

(Thanks to Tom for the links.)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “20 Years Ago Today, The Ramones Played Their Last Show

  • August 7, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Because they never achieved that rock stardom, I always had the ability to see them when they came to town. I’m happy to say that since I saw them every time they came to DC, I have no regrets about skipping a show. Thanks for the reminder of their greatness. THAT SETLIST LOOKS GREAT.

  • August 7, 2016 at 9:28 am

    So sorry they’re all gone and yes they were a huge band, but slightly overrated in comparison to other bands. My fave songs, among others are, Happy family, Pet sematary, etc.


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