Joey Ramone's signature bleat was the voice of punk rock in America. Sporting a leather jacket and torn jeans (like his bandmates) and hiding his face behind a pair of sunglasses and a thick shock of dark hair, the lanky Ramone helped define punk's early image as well, and his two-plus-decade tenure as frontman of the Ramones made him a countercultural icon.
Ramone was born Jeffrey Hyman on May 19, 1951 (though he frequently claimed the year was 1952) in Forest Hills, part of the Queens section of New York City. Rock & roll gave the teenaged Joey Ramone an escape from his parents' divorce and he began playing in glam-influenced bands in the early '70s. He co-founded the Ramones in 1974 with friends John Cummings and Douglas Colvin, upon which point all three adopted Ramone as their stage surname. Joey Ramone initially served as the group's drummer before switching to vocals and having his former spot taken by manager Tommy Erdelyi. The Ramones quickly became regulars at the Bowery club CBGB, and their brief, rapid-fire concert style became the stuff of legend.