July 4, 1976 was the two hundredth anniversary of America’s battle for independence. It was also the night the Ramones played in London at The Roundhouse. This Fourth of July marks the fortieth anniversary of that landmark concert.
Formed in 1974, the Ramones made their mark in New York and regularly played at CBGB. Whenever they tried to play outside of their home city, however, they had little success. Until they played The Roundhouse. That hugely successful night, many of the top players in the English punk scene — Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Damned, and the Pretenders, among others — were in attendance. According to Mashable, that performance “was followed the next night by a gig where the American punks were introduced to members of the Clash and the Sex Pistols”.
One of the things that helped make the Roundhouse gig such a massive success was the creation of Punk magazine by John Holmstrom, Ged Dunn, and Legs McNeil. According to the Village Voice:
“Equally inspired by the world of underground comics and the exhausting/exhilarating critical rants of Lester Bangs, Punk would document the history-making events of the day through a lens of irreverent teenage fandom. It would also help set the stage for the Ramones’ Roundhouse gig by spreading the word. ‘I always tell people, ‘Of course the scene in England was bigger, because they had three newspapers devoted to music coming out every week,’’Holmstrom recalls. ‘So every band in England would get more coverage than a band in America. The amount of press you got back then really mattered.’ This was certainly the case for the Ramones, after a cover story in issue no. 3 of Punk quickly created a stir in Britain. ‘The thing about England is Rough Trade was distributing Punk all over the place, so there were more copies of Punk in England than New York”.
So what was the setlist for the Ramones’ Roundhouse gig?
2) “Beat on the Brat”
3) “Blitzkrieg Bop”
4) “I Remember You”
5) “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”
6) “Glad to See You Go”
7) “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment”
8) “53rd & 3rd”
9) “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend”
10) “Havana Affair”
11) “Listen to My Heart”
12) “California Sun” (Joe Jones cover)
13) “Judy Is a Punk”
14) “I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You”
15) “Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World”
16) “Now I Wanna Be a Good Boy”
17) “Let’s Dance” (Chris Montez cover)