28 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Hey!” Joey Ramone yells. “We’re the Ramones. This one’s called ‘Rockaway Beach’!” New York’s phenomenal pop combo presented It’s Alive as the ultimate answer to the ’70s craze for double-live LPs. Recorded on New Year’s Eve 1977 before an adoring London crowd, it finds the punk godfathers offering 28 classics from their first three albums in less than 54 minutes. Often even fleeter than the studio renditions, these are an apotheosis of American rock and roll, equal to the Beach Boys’ great singles or maybe even those of Chuck Berry. Despite the double edges of many of their lyrics — the comic Cold War playlet of “Havana Affair,” the anti-“Desiderata” plea for sanity of “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” — the Ramones’ major aural message was instruction for a return to fun. It continues to ring on this unstoppable set.

EDITORS’ NOTES

“Hey!” Joey Ramone yells. “We’re the Ramones. This one’s called ‘Rockaway Beach’!” New York’s phenomenal pop combo presented It’s Alive as the ultimate answer to the ’70s craze for double-live LPs. Recorded on New Year’s Eve 1977 before an adoring London crowd, it finds the punk godfathers offering 28 classics from their first three albums in less than 54 minutes. Often even fleeter than the studio renditions, these are an apotheosis of American rock and roll, equal to the Beach Boys’ great singles or maybe even those of Chuck Berry. Despite the double edges of many of their lyrics — the comic Cold War playlet of “Havana Affair,” the anti-“Desiderata” plea for sanity of “Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment” — the Ramones’ major aural message was instruction for a return to fun. It continues to ring on this unstoppable set.

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