Saturday, September 15, 2012

Celebrity Grave: Musician Johnny Ramone 2004


John William Cummings (October 8, 1948 – September 15, 2004), better known by the stage name Johnny Ramone, was the guitarist for the seminal punk rock group The Ramones. He was a founding member of the band, and remained a member throughout the band's entire career. In 2003, he appeared as #16 on Rolling Stone magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and listed on Time magazine's 10 Greatest Electric-Guitar Players.


On September 15, 2004, Cummings died in his Los Angeles home at age 55 after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. Many of his friends and musical contemporaries came to pay their respects. After his death, his remains were cremated.

A cenotaph was built in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, near the gravesite of former bandmate Dee Dee Ramone, who died of a heroin overdose in 2002.



Posthumous honors

In 2006, the remake of the horror film The Wicker Man was dedicated to Johnny Ramone's memory, as he was a close friend of the film's producer and star, Nicolas Cage. The lyrics for Pearl Jam's 2006 single "Life Wasted" were written by Eddie Vedder in honor of Cummings while driving home from his funeral. They also made their first video in 8 years for this song.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked Johnny Ramone 16th on their list of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

In 2009, Time magazine included Johnny Ramone on its list of the "10 Best Electric Guitarists of All Time."

An annual Johnny Ramone Memorial is held every October at Hollywood Forever Cemetery Hollywood, California. The event which has taken place 5 years now, has included appearances by surviving band members Tommy and C.J. Ramone.


Lisa Marie Presley recorded a cover of the Ramones' song, "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" on her 2005 album Now What. She stated in the liner notes of the CD that: "Five years ago, Johnny Ramone picked me to sing Here Today, Gone Tomorrow. He wanted me to sing it on a Ramones tribute record where many of his friends and other artists were covering his songs. Johnny was one of my best friends, and I promised him before he passed away that I would include that song on my record. He was very sick but wanted to play guitar on it as long as he was sitting down. Unfortunately, while we were recording the basic track, he died."

Green Day's song "Wake Me Up When September Ends" is dedicated to the memory of Johnny Ramone, though the song was not written about him.



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