Sunday, July 7, 2013
SUZY IS A HEADBANGER-- Leave Home 6
When JOHNNY stated that CARBONA NOT GLUE had been heavily influenced by EDDIE COCHRAN, it was difficult not to imagine that perhaps he was referring to this song instead. The main riff is clearly derived from C'mon Everybody, one of the 50's rocker's most recognizable hits. (Interestingly, the post-Johnny Rotten SEX PISTOLS would later convincingly cover the track, as well as another COCHRAN classic Something Else, with Sid Vicious on vocals.) The one string, one fret riff which precedes the verses also recalls another of EDDIE's trademarks, feautured prominently not only on this early rock 'n' roll party anthem, but also on his biggest hit, Summertime Blues.
Here the RAMONES return to what was shaping up as their second major running gag, the descriptive designation of a string of specifically identified female fans (the first being their intentionally ludicrous overuse of the word 'WANNA.') The later repackaging of LEAVE HOME featuring SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER added to the impression that this gimmick was building up some steam, but in actuality the practice was about to be abandoned, with just a revisit from Jackie and Judy on END OF THE CENTURY and a much later appearance from a similarly monikered HEIDI looming for the future.
Concocted in the days before Heavy Metal's mainstream ascendance, the reference to 'headbanging' here refers not to the typical male's stadium concert activity, but to said SUZY's habit of actually knocking her head against cement walls (if JOEY's recollection is to be believed.) The only other offered detail refers to 'geeks,' presumably of the circus sideshow variety and not the generic high school disparagement. We are, after all, a mere song away from the FREAKS-derived PINHEAD.
Speaking of PINHEAD, the running order proximity of that beloved standard somewhat undermines that SUZY closes with a similarly superb repetitive chant, perhaps their most underrated application of this tactic. Kicked off by another tribal drum intro, this coda forgoes the usual fadeout in favor of an explosively exciting, relentlessly built up climax to a brutally abrupt ending. One of LEAVE HOME's best mixed tracks, TOMMY's engineering input here is commendable. Deeply echoed floor toms, densely charged guitars, perfectly utilized woodblocks and effective background vocals all amplify a powerful-- and somewhat inadequately regarded--classic. But it is a testimony to the caliber of quality material featured on the RAMONES' early releases that a track such as this could be unfairly rated just a little less great, and a little less often, than it deservedly should.
RAMONES SUZY IS A HEADBANGER