The Night the Ramones Played Their Last Show
The Ramones never let up, giving all they had every time they stepped on stage for more than 20 years. It all came to an end on Aug. 6, 1996 at the Palace in Hollywood, after 2,263 shows.
"I got very mixed feelings about the whole thing, because on one hand, there’s nothing better than the Ramones," singer Joey Ramone told Billboard in 1995. "But on the other hand, there’s a lot of resistance, a lot of crap, a lot of frustration and a lot of politics."
The writing had been on the wall as cracks within the band kept getting larger. Never able to break into the "big leagues" in terms of sales, the band chugged along but fewer and fewer were taking notice. Despite the obvious influence the Ramones had on "Generation X"-era era rockers like Nirvana, Green Day and others, to the kids of the era, they were old news. By the mid-'90s, the end was inevitable.
The band issued a final LP, Adios Amigos, in July 1995 and joined the Lollapalooza tour of 1996 for a month of dates with Metallica and Soundgarden headlining.
"If this is the last show the Ramones do, then it's an insult to the intelligence of the world and a shame for rock and roll," said Lemmy of Motorhead in an interview on the night of their final gig. "They are one of the best bands you've ever seen. Neglect them at your peril. They will teach you everything about rock and roll. Everything about rock and roll was in those songs, and if they're gone, then it's a damn shame."
Watch Ramones Perform in 1996
The final show wrapped up with a cover of the Dave Clark Five classic "Any Way You Want It," with guest Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam (a close friend of guitarist Johnny Ramone). "We did the show, then afterwards, nobody said a thing," drummer Marky Ramone later recalled. "Nobody said goodbye to each other."
After the last chords rang out, the band just walked away. "I said nothing to the other guys, I just walked out – it was the way I lived my life," guitarist Johnny Ramone told Rolling Stone. "Of course, I was really feeling loss of some sort. I just didn't want to admit it."
Within five years, Joey Ramone would succumb to cancer with the bad blood between he and Johnny – reportedly over Johnny dating, and subsequently marrying, Joey's girlfriend, Linda – never settled. Drummer Marky was the only Ramone to visit Joey as he battled the disease.
"You need to visit him," Marky later told Johnny. "The window is closing." "Let it close," replied Johnny. "He's not my friend." Three years later, Johnny would also die of cancer. Bassist Dee Dee Ramone died of a heroin overdose in 2002, and original drummer Tommy, of cancer, passed away in 2014. The original foursome are all gone.