Poison Heart – Ramones

Early 90’s Ramones is a heady mix of metal guitars and punk rock heart. They’re not in the best of shape by 1992. Dee Dee is no longer playing in the band but he did write Poison Heart the single from the album Mondo Bizarro. Slower and croonier than most Ramones singles, legend has it that Dee Dee exchanged the song with his former band members as part of a deal to get bail posted and him sprung from jail.

Dee Dee wrote it and so many classic punk alumni were impressed by it the track has been covered by Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys, that Finnish fella who makes records as H.I.M and P. Paul Fenech of Ramones influencers The Meteors.

“No one ever thought this one would survive, helpless child, gonna walk a drum beat behind, lock you in a dream, never let you go, never let you laugh or smile, not you.”

I love Joey’s vocals on this one. After all I said about Frank Sinatra and New York and crooning lacking sincerity the other day, there’s this. He always wanted to be a big star. He always wanted to be mainstream legitimate famous. He always wanted to be a household name. It just took a decade or two after his death for the universal agreement that they were truly the best we could have ever had.

“You know that life really takes its toll and a poet’s gut reaction is to search his very soul, so much damn confusion before my eyes, but nothing seems to phase me and this one still survives.”

I do this every time I post a Ramones song. They should have been the biggest band in the world, they were after all the best. Instead they struggled for decades until the Metalheads, Motorheads, Grungers, Pearl Jammers and the 90’s alternative scene held them up as elder statesmen of so much that had gone before.

Poison Heart is a real highlight from late in their career. It stands out on their retrospective box set Weird Tales Of Ramones as a high water mark of that era. It has a promo video and a real weight behind it that many Ramones classics didn’t get. The fact Joey gets to be all cool and croonerish on the track like he tried back in the End Of The Century days just makes it all the cooler. No longer fixated with Basements, Glue, Punk Girls or Chainsaws. This ones about the human condition.

“Well, I just want to walk right out of this world, ‘Cause everybody has a poison heart”

If there was a fire in my record collection and I had to save only one item, I’d grab Weird Tales Of Ramones.

A proper promo video for a late classic
Ain’t this fun?
H.I.M making it a Hymn.
A Meteoric Cover Version.

13 thoughts on “Poison Heart – Ramones

  1. Aaaaah. Ramones. I was an early adopter [“Rocket To Russia”] who was disappointed by “Road To Ruin” but loved “End Of The Century.” However, when “Pleasant Dreams” happened, I heard “We Want The Airwaves” and was agog at the blatant rip off of Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law” with the added insult that Ramones had played the riff more slowly! That was it! A line in the sand had been crossed.

    I had nothing to do with Ramones for a decade! The shows with Dee Dee I didn’t bother with now vex me, but that was how I rolled back then! I freaking missed their 1981 tour with HOLLY + THE ITALIANS opening up!!! But I digress. It was not until seeing the video for “Poison Heart” in 1992 as Ramones had shockingly jumped ship from Daddy Sire to their manager’s new label, that I noticed how attractive the song was. Joey’s crooning was informed by Iggy, I suspect, and the track resonated with me. It was time to re-investigate Ramones. I bought “Mondo Bizarro” and wondered why I had cast Ramones from my Record Cell for a decade in the wilderness?

    I have subsequently bought almost every Ramones album [I still need “Animal Boy,” “Loco Live!” and “greatest Hits Live”] and never missed the band for the rest of their tours. Okay, so I didn’t meet my wife at their gigs. We went to them separately, except for the final tour, when we were a couple. I still have that autographed tour poster in a tube with the rest of my poster collection. Not having Dee Dee was different, but he kept his word and still gave them songs, and CJ kept them going until they could go no more. Without “Poison Heart” I might have missed out on the bands final act and have nothing but regret to show for the error of my ways!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing. A fantastic write up. I only saw them once and it was right near the end on a feral night in Madrid with a bunch of crazy drunk art students. Might write about it one day


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