In January 1977 the Ramones released album number two, entitled Leave Home. It was another high-quality slab of straight-ahead punk in the acknowledged Ramones style. The album had fourteen songs, the longest of which clocked in at 2:42. Six of the songs, sublimely, didn’t even make it to the 2-minute mark. This was rock and roll at its purest and simplest. The most famous song on the album is probably “Suzy Is a Headbanger,” which, interestingly, was not released as a single. “I Remember You” was the first single off of the album, but “Swallow My Pride” as the only single from the album to crack the singles charts anywhere in the world (#36 in the UK).
The band got into some predictable minor trouble over the song “Carbona Not Glue” due to the fact of Carbona being a registered trademark. On later pressings the song was replaced with “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.”
To promote the album, Sire made a special switchblade-style letter opener with the words “Ramones Leave Home” on it. A letter opener is not as cool as an actual switchblade, but the real thing most likely would have been highly illegal to give away to antisocial punk rock fans. And switchblades actually were a part of the Ramones’ daily life. According to Marky’s memoir, Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone, in 1980 there was an incident after a show at Six Flags in New Jersey in which Dee Dee “pointed” a switchblade at Marky, to which the drummer replied (after wresting the weapon out of his hands), “Do it again, ever, and the knife’s going into you.”
An auction has popped up on eBay for one of the switchblades. It’s not in mint condition—far from it—because the letter opener actually saw use at the offices of Punk Magazine. As of this writing, after 13 bids the price is at $305—the seller indicates in the body of the auction that there is a reserve of in excess of $1000 in effect.
The switchblade is not the only amusing Ramones promotional item in existence. In 1976 Sire created special Louisville Slugger baseball bats to promote “Blitzkrieg Bop.” (Sire publicist Janis Schacht wanted the bats to publicize “Beat on the Brat” but someone at Sire sensibly realized that might be one step too far.) Above is a picture of two of the bats, located at the Ramones Museum in Berlin, which I didn’t know existed until today.
Pics after the jump…...