The Ramones are one of the most influential bands of all-time, birthing an entire genre of music as the fathers of punk. 40-plus years since their 1976 debut, the Ramones remain musical icons, and their logo is one of the most recognizable band logos ever created. Here are 10 awesome facts about the history of the Ramones' seal.
1. The man who designed their logo was the “fifth” Ramone
Arturo Vega, the man who designed the iconic Ramones logo, was widely considered the “fifth” Ramone. He was the band's creative director, archivist, and was responsible for creating the seal and t-shirt that propelled the Ramones’ image in their early years. Vega was also a close confidant of the group, even letting Joey and Dee Dee live with him before the band had recorded their first album.
2. The Ramones have sold more shirts than albums
The legendary Ramones classic logo t-shirt was actually the band’s primary source of income for several years, and overall, they've sold more shirts than albums. The Ramones seal continues on as a piece of living history, transcending music culture and becoming iconic around the world.
3. The “ultimate” all-American band
Vega saw the group as the “ultimate” all-American band, so he decided to use the US presidential seal as the foundation for the Ramones’ official logo. This design has stood the test of time, first created in 1976 and still going strong over four decades later.
4. “Beat on the Brat” with a baseball bat
The eagle holds a baseball bat in one of its talons. This was meant to symbolize Johnny Ramones’ love for baseball, replacing the arrows traditionally held by the eagle. It was also a play off of the track Beat On The Brat.
5. As American as apple pie
The eagle’s other talon, which holds an olive branch as a peace offering in the presidential seal , is actually holding an apple tree branch. This ties back to Vega’s belief that the Ramones were “as American as apple pie.”
6. “Hey Ho, Let’s Go!”
The banner held in the eagle’s beak reads “Hey Ho, Let’s Go,” which are the famous lyrics from the band’s first single “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Vega initially had the idea of using the text “Look out below” instead, but decided to go with the now-iconic lyrics.
7. Capturing the Ramones’ sound
The Ramones’ logo is filled with imagery, and while Vega did remove the arrows from the eagle’s talons, he still included them as a way to represent the band’s “aggressive” sound. Instead of the star design above the eagle’s head, arrows are striking outward.
8. Replacing the red, white and blue shield
The red, white and blue shield at the center of the presidential seal was also replaced by Vega. The use of arrowheads was another way to symbolize the edgy punk sound the Ramones created.
9. The founding members
While Vega may have been the “fifth” Ramone, the final detail of the seal was the inclusion of the four founding members names. Dee Dee, Tommy, Johnny and Joey — the original Ramones — each had their names included around the seal. The logo would update these names as lineup changes occurred over the years, but the original founding members’ names are the finishing touch on the world-famous logo.
10. The logo’s debut
The Ramones’ seal logo was a part of the band from the very start. The seal appeared on the back of the Ramones’ self-titled debut album and has been a part of the band’s identity ever since.