Joey Ramone: Godfather of punk


Joey Ramone on the cover of his solo effort, "Don't Worry About Me."

Known as “The Godfather of Punk Rock,” lifelong New Yorker Jeffry Hyman, a.k.a. “Joey Ramone,” is buried in a nondescript little cemetery in Lyndhurst.

Jeffry Hyman in 1974 helped found the Ramones, a punk rock band that originated out of Forest Hills, Queens. Buddies John Cummings an Douglas Colvin adopted the stage names “Ramone” as their surname.

Cummings became Johnny Ramone, Colvin became Dee Dee Ramone and Jeffry became Joey Ramone. The name was used, according to various sources, because the group had heard that Paul McCartney used the alias to avoid drawing attention to himself when he checked into hotels.

Ramones on the cover of their second studio album "Ramones Leave Home."

The Ramones never achieved major success while they were together. However, they left an indelible mark on the world of punk rock. In 2001, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Ramones broke up in 1996. In the next 10 years, Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee would all be dead.

Joey Ramone died April 15, 2001 in a New York hospital after battling lymphoma for more than eight years. In the winter of 2000-2001, Joey played songs from his solo effort “Don’t Worry About Me” at the Continental, a small dive in Greenwich Village. Joey didn’t live far from the the bar.

In fact, while the other band members migrated to Southern California after the breakup in 1996, Joey continued to live in an apartment on Second Avenue. After his death, the city renamed part of the avenue “Joey Ramone Way.” The sign at the corner has been stolen many times; city workers have since re-installed a sign much higher off the ground to make it harder to steal.

On the way home from the Continental on that winter night, Joey slipped on ice and fell. Joey shattered his hip, his body weakened by many years of chemotherapy.

Hip replacement surgery followed, but Joey was taken off the lifesaving drugs for a period of time.

The cancer grew stronger and, within months, Joey was dead.

The rocker is buried under the name Jeffry Hyman in the New Mount Zion Cemetery on Orient Way in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. The cemetery is part of Hillside Cemetery, where poet William Carlos Williams is buried.

The grave of Jeffry Hyman, a.k.a. Joey Ramone.

It’s not really clear that Joey or his family had any connection to the area during their lifetimes. However, Joey’s grave appears to be part of the Hyman family plot.

Noel Hyman was Jeffry's father.

Ramones fans from across the world trek to the grave, even today. They leave hundreds of items, including CD covers, photos of Joey and other trinkets. Once someone left a full bottle of Yoo-Hoo, which was reportedly Johnny Ramone’s favorite soft drink.

For more than 10 years, a steady stream of fans have been leaving trinkets for Joey Ramone.

Joey’s grave boasts a pretty cool view of Manhattan, which you can see on clear days.

An archway leading up to the grave is marked “New York Social Club.”

Below, a tribute video:

 

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