THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: Rockaway Beach (On The Beach)

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as the take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

This entry originally appeared as part of a larger post, and is not currently intended for my long-threatened book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1).


Written by Ramones and General Johnson

Produced by Ben Wolff and Andy Dean

Single, Forward Records, 1994

I first heard about this beach-music team-up of Joey Ramone and former Chairmen of the Board singer General Johnson when Joey Ramone called to tell me about in 1994. Yes, I am cooler than you are. (I should probably let that illusion stand in place, but Joey’s call to me was just a follow-up to a Goldmine interview we’d done within the previous week, as he wanted to make sure I was aware of a number of projects he was doing outside the Ramones‘ aegis. He never called again. My claim to being cooler than you are is, y’know, suspect at best.)

But: back to the record! It’s an ongoing testimony to the greatness of Ramones songs that they can thrive in different interpretations. The Swedish girl-pop group Shebang did a girl-pop bubblegum version of “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker.” Ronnie Spector covered “Here Today Gone Tomorrow” and “She Talks To Rainbows.” KISS did “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio?” with more kitchen-sink Phil Spector than the Spector-produced original. The Nutley Brass and the Ramonetures did entire albums of Ramones covers, in the respective styles of elevator music and surf instrumentals. It all worked. These Blitzkrieg bops remain more versatile and universal than anyone realized at the time.

Remaking the power-pop bubblepunk of “Rockaway Beach” as a soulful slow-groove Carolina beach shag would seem a preposterous notion…until you hear it. Whoa! Grab a blanket, grab your honey, and snuggle by the fire as the sun descends. It’s not hard, not far to reach. Hitch a ride, baby.

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Pop-A-Looza TV

The Ronettes / Be My Baby

Released as a single in 1963, The Ronettes, with their international smash, Be My Baby. The song would be their biggest hit, and is often cited as one of the greatest pop songs of the 1960’s.

Quick Spins

Eddie Money/Take Me Home Tonight

Eddie Money

Take Me Home Tonight – The Best Of (Cleopatra)

2019 was a pretty rough year for Eddie Money. With the past 15 years clean and sober, Money contracted pneumonia after heart valve surgery. The following month, it was discovered that he had stage 4 esophageal cancer. By September the gregarious big man was no longer with us.

This “Best Of” is actually a rerecording of his biggest dozen hits, recreated with love and care. While I would normally avoid a release like this in favor of the original recordings, Money’s family will undoubtedly see a bigger portion of the proceeds than they do from his Sony catalog. I grew up in the 80’s, so these songs, and Eddie Money, will always bring a smile to my face.