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Why I Cover: “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones

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Why I Cover: “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones

Photo courtesy of Seventies Music

Photo courtesy of Seventies Music

Photo courtesy of Seventies Music

Photo courtesy of Seventies Music

Milo Paul, Web Staffer

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Blitzkrieg Bop is easy. It’s infamous for being easy. When you’re the most well-known song off the Ramones catalogue then there’s hardly anything to it—you are really fucking easy to learn, and not just for guitar. A baby burping onto a bass could play you, a man banging his head against a wall over questionable pictures his wife found could probably keep your drumbeat, and who in their right mind actually bothers carrying a note when they sing? Anyone can play Blitzkrieg Bop.

In my article on Iggy Pop’s “The Passenger”, I emphasized that the most endearing aspect to that song—and to punk music in general—was its accessibility through novice instrumentation. “Blitzkrieg Bop” uses 4 chords throughout, in total. To put that into perspective, “The Passenger” used 5. Obviously, I must’ve had my head screwed on the wrong way when I decided to learn the latter song instead of the former but, either way, I know them both now. And, because I do, there’s yet to have been a band or musical project that I have been in that hasn’t practiced with this song during band practice at least once.

I love the rough and tumble in this one. “Blitzkrieg Bop” provides the listener with distorted guitar at its finest, not too rich and not too dull. It’s like a wall of thrashing noise when you listen to the song in mono and the lack of it on occasion just punctuates its return, never truly allowing you a moment to settle down. The “Bop” is a wild ride from start to finish; to stop moving to it is to commit grievous sin.

This is all why the song is such a great starter. Given almost nothing to complicate the music-making process, the typical newborn band can eat, chew, and spit out their personal head-banging variant at the cost of, again, literally nothing at all. The bare minimum in delivery would be to stop playing altogether and cut the music short, but, so long as you chugging the “Bop” juice, I firmly believe the crowd will respond extremely positively. If not then it could be argued that yes, you are messing up; however you do so, though, makes me inclined to think that you are no step ahead of a bunch of brain-dead bricks on the evolutionary scale. Rocket science, this isn’t.

What it is, is classic. In the 40 years to follow since its first leap out of the birth canal, everyone and their mother has performed covers of this song. Remembering lyrics be damned, musical talent be destroyed and thrown into the trash where it belongs. I joined the happy family and so should you.

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Why I Cover: “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones