(3/19/02, 12:30 a.m. ET) -- The Ramones, who pioneered punk in New York City with such songs as "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Blitzkrieg Bop," were inducted by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame last night in their hometown.
Vedder noted in his induction speech that while they may have pioneered punk, none of the Ramones members ever had a mohawk. "They were just a bunch of guys from Forest Hills, Queens," Vedder said. "Commercially, they were never embraced... Punk bands now sell in their first record 10 times more records then the Ramones did through their careers."
After Vedder's 17-minute speech, Johnny Ramone, Marky Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone, and Tommy Ramone expressed thanks to the industry for the honor.
Tommy took a moment to recognize the late Joey Ramone by saying, "Believe it or not, we really loved each other, even when we weren't acting civil to each other. We were truly brothers. The honor of our induction to the Hall of Fame means a lot to us. But it's really meant everything to Joey. Thank you very much."
A bit of controversy swirled moments later in the backstage press area, after the Ramones left the stage. Joey Ramone's mother Charlotte Lesher and brother Mickey Leigh were asked by a reporter why they did not go on stage to accept Joey's award on his behalf. The family members replied they had not been invited to go on stage with the group. To make matters even more uncomfortable, Lesher and Leigh had not been asked to sit at the Ramones' table during the gala.
In spite of the controversy, Joey Ramone's spirit was indeed alive when Green Day performed the Ramones classics "Teenage Lobotomy," "Rockaway Beach," and "Blitzkrieg Bop" for the punk pioneers' performance segment. The surviving Ramones have vowed never to perform again following the death of Joey Ramone, who succumbed to cancer last April.
The Ramones formed in 1974, and based their career on short and punchy songs played at a breakneck speed. They focused on bringing rock back to its original motivations of frustration, rebellion and lust, and their crude instrumentation sometimes hid clever humorous lyrics and the band's love of classic '60s rock songs. They broke up in 1996, after perfecting a "punk" aesthetic of both looking unattractive and singing about unattractive topics, and influencing everyone from the Sex Pistols and the Clash to Pearl Jam and Green Day.
-- Chad Dougatz, New York