The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is notorious for getting it wrong, sparking yearly lists of snubees. (For starters, Sonic Youth and the Pixies have yet to be honored, though Kim Gordon’s and Kim Deal’s basses are currently displayed in the museum’s Guitar Gallery.) Of course, you can’t always get what you want– unless you’re the Rolling Stones, in which case you get a ton of display space. But you’d think the Rock Hall would at least get their shit straight with bands that have been inducted. Not so with the Ramones.
The New York punk scene gets pride of place in the Rock Hall; the CBGBs awning is pretty much the first thing you see before entering the exhibit area. And the “Cities and Sounds” exhibit– which groups together punk-era New York, Los Angeles, and London– features choice artifacts like Joey Ramone’s leather jacket (designed by Vanson Leathers, FYI) and a Marky Ramone drumstick. (Hey, it’s not touring a Ramones exhibit with Johnny’s widow, but it’s something.)
But what’s up with the “Where Did Punk Start?” video that plays on loop? It shows Sid Vicious in a swastika shirt, and for punk fans that might not even be the most offensive thing about it. As the Ramones sing “Blitzkrieg Bop,” the closed captioning informs us that the lyrics are “N! O! Let’s go!”
Part of me is tempted to forgive this, since botching lyrics is appropriately punk rock. But you know what? N! O! My friend was sent home from middle school because our headmaster thought the “HEY HO” on his Ramones t-shirt had something to do with hoes, and I am tired of people getting this wrong.
Do better, Rock Hall. And induct Blowfly while you’re at it. Does getting “rusty trombone” into the New York Times count for nothing?