53rd & 3rd

If songs about streets and roads are about a sense of place, home, belonging and how far you can go from home, then Dee Dee Ramone’s 53rd & 3rd is surely a measure of how far a person can fall. Dee Dee’s narrator stands on the corner of 53rd and 3rd ‘trying to turn a trick’ and is dismayed he’s also ‘the one they never pick’. This two minute buzzsaw tale of male prostitution ends in murder. It wasn’t all fun round The Ramones way y’know.

Hey Is Dee Dee Home?

Johnny Thunders may either be the cockiest, coolest, guitar slinging ex-New York Doll who inspired a legion of imitators (Steve Cook for one), or the dick who introduced heroin to the London punk scene, sewed bad vibes throughout and ultimately caused the whole scene to splinter, but he did leave behind at least two punk rock classics- You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory being one, and the other being Chinese Rocks. Written by Richard Hell and Dee Dee Ramone, Chinese Rocks was an attempt to write a drug song that was better than The Velvet Underground’s Heroin. There followed a bitch and blame session about who wrote what, what Johnny Thunders contributed (‘nothing’ according to Richard Hell) and much sniping in the way that only punk bands could snipe at each other. What is pretty clear though is that Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers recorded the definitive version.