Album: End of The Century
Yesterday, I called End of the Century “a mess,” which is true, but at least it gave us Joey’s heartfelt and ultimately tragic “Danny Says,” on the shortlist of Prettiest Songs Ever Recorded, Ramones Division.
Danny says we gotta go
Gotta go to Idaho
But we can’t go surfing
‘Cause it’s 20 below
Starting off with a tick-tock drumbeat, a plucked acoustic guitar and ringing keyboards — none of which were played by any Ramones, I’m sure — “Danny Says” doubles as Joey’s love letter to his girlfriend Linda, and slice-of-life song about the making of End of The Century, so in that way, it’s kinda like other songs that are about making the record they end up on, like “Jigsaw Puzzle” and “Smoke on the Water”
Sound check’s at 5:02
Record stores and interviews
Oh, but I can’t wait
To be with you tomorrow
So figure this as Christmas, 1979, Joey is stuck at the Tropicana Motel in Los Angeles, bored as shit while they’re making the record, and putting the onus for all of it on their manager, Danny Fields, though he later said that he really titled it that to riff on various Velvets songs like “Candy Says” and “Lisa Says,” which just added to the layers, since Fields was a throughline from the Velvets to the Ramones.
Hangin’ out in 100 B
Watching Get Smart on TV
You and me and you and me
At this point the song starts kicking in: Jonnny starts kicking noisy chords on his guitar and Marky playing a big chomping beat, while Spector lays on more guitars and keyboards and even though it’s all incredibly artificial, it’s also incredibly poignant.
Hanging out in L.A
And there’s nowhere to go
It ain’t Christmas if there ain’t no snow
Listening to Sheena on the radio
And hell, maybe KROQ actually even played “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” while they were there, and in any event, as “Danny Says” fades outs with long “ooooh-ooooh-oooooohs,” while the wall of sound is continues to well, it’s just fantastic.
Why is this song different from all other Ramones songs?
With the possible exception of the story of Spector pulling a gun on Dee Dee and holding him hostage, ‘t’s by far the best thing to come out of the Ramones / Phil Spector collaboration. A perfect meshing of their sensibilities, and while a whole album of swelling ballads would have been too much, “Danny Says” could have been a one-off single which would have been cherished to this day.
Also, Joey once said that it was his favorite Ramones song.
“Danny Says” performed live by Joey Ramone
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