The first two bonus tracks on the RAMONES cd are demos made in September 1975 after MARTY THAU had been secured as their manager. Earlier in the year the group had recorded an album's worth of songs with TOMMY at the helm (including another earlier version of this track.) These blistering, raw attempts (see RAMONES: THE EARLY DEMOS) succeeded in securing a single offer from SIRE for YOU'RE GONNA KILL THAT GIRL, but the band wanted to hold out for an album contract. Towards this end they re-recorded two of what were apparently felt to be their most commercial compositions, this and JUDY IS A PUNK. They shopped this new, more polished demo around to other labels with little success, and were no doubt relieved when SIRE finally came back with an offer to do a entire LP.
Perhaps due to varispeeding, almost none of the early demos are in the eventual keys which they were officially recorded. All of the altered are in a lower key, and in some cases there is little doubt they have been slowed down. Whether this was done to accommodate easier vocal overdubs, or to simply minimize what were once considered the RAMONES' relentless tempos is unclear. I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND, however, is the track which reflects the greatest amount of tampering.
The initial version was attempted in C. This attempt is a step up in D, and on the album the key is yet another step higher in E. While there is an attractive plea in JOEY's voice as he struggles in each higher register, what motivated these changes is a mystery. Both JOEY and DEEDEE are clearly more comfortable in the lower keys. (Note how early the background vocals commence on the demos--for the LP DEEDEE is minimized until later in the song.)
No doubt wanting to accentuate the pop viability of this tune, the BYRDS-style guitar overdub is mixed higher here than in the other takes (and if nothing else, is certainly more comfortably played in the position of D.) The extended coda of this version (the longest of the three) also displays some extremely out of place folk fingerpicking, one of the most incongruous overdubs in any of the original lineup's recordings--save, perhaps, the pipe organ of LET'S DANCE or the closing chimes of this song's final version. The shambolic ending which the band arrives at indicates that a fadeout was clearly part of the design.
RAMONES I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND (DEMO)
Photo by Roberta Bayley