120 Reasons To Live: The Ramones

Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.

#57: The Ramones “I Wanna Live”

Nobody was really excited about the Ramones in 1987. Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and, uh, Richie were doing pretty much the same thing as always on 10th album Halfway To Sanity, but something about lead track “I Wanna Live” puts it in the rarefied 1976-debut-album company of “Blitzkrieg Bop” or “Judy Is A Punk.” A similar thing happened with 1989’s Brain Drain and “Pet Sematary”—proof the Ramones could turn out a great song under the goofiest of circumstances and lowest of expectations. The Ramones were a legendary band not because they always made excellent music—even by the early ’80s, listeners could expect one keeper song per album—but because somehow the world needed them around to be reminded of a shift that took place in rock music. Remember that the next time you snicker about the Strokes’ latest (maybe their last) album. At least it’s got one good song (“Under Cover Of Darkness”) going for it. Of course, the Strokes lack the vision, work ethic, dedication and perseverance of the Ramones, but then again so does every other organized group of beings in the universe.