Sheena Is a Punk Rocke
By Ron Powers
This month I’d like to focus on one of my all-time favorite songs by the legendary Ramones. “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” was released in 1977 and quickly became a punk rock classic. It tells the story of a young girl who rebels against the status quo and embraces the punk lifestyle. The song is a prime example of the Ramones’ trademark sound, with its fast-paced, aggressive guitar riffs and upbeat drumming.
Since their formation in New York City in the early 1970s, the Ramones have been a major force in the punk rock movement. They have inspired countless musicians and fans alike with their no-holds-barred approach to music, and “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” is no exception.
The Ramones kick things off with a fast and swaying guitar riff and a straightforward rock drumbeat. After a quick musical intro, we hear Joey Ramone sing the lines, “Well the kids are all hopped up and ready to go / They’re ready to go now / And they’re going to the Discotheque Au Go Go”. The music and vocals mix together to create a feeling reminiscent of The Beach Boys and the sound of a growling dog. “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” is a prime example of how punk rock reignited the spirit of rock and roll. The Ramones presented the basic feeling and joy at the center of 50s and 60s rock music with an image and grit that resonated with a new generation.
For the chorus, the band introduces a new and faster-paced chord progression that kicks up the energy of the song. On top of the music we hear the hook, “Sheena Is a punk rocker” repeated over and over by Joey. Under the top line, Dee Dee Ramone adds a vocal harmony that gives a boost to the scrappy power of the melody. Everything about this song is fun, fast, and catchy. It’s particularly enjoyable to listen at extremely high volume while letting the Ramones’ wall of sound envelop you.
When “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” was released, it was met with mixed reactions. Some criticized the song for its seemingly simplistic lyrics and aggressive sound, while others saw it as a masterpiece of punk rock. Nevertheless, the song quickly gained a following among punk rock fans and continues to be a staple of the punk rock genre today.
The Ramones’ impact on the music world cannot be overstated. They paved the way for countless punk and alternative bands that would follow in their wake, and their influence can still be felt in the music of today. “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” is a prime example of the Ramones’ influence and their ability to craft a powerful and enduring punk rock classic. If you’d like to listen to “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker” you can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places music is streamed or sold. If you’d like to learn more about the Ramones you can find them on Wikipedia, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
About the Author: Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent.