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What does The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” mean?


What does The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” mean?

Released by the American Punk Rock band The Ramones in 1976 on their classic self-titled debut album, “Blitzkrieg Bop” became one of the most famous and influential Punk songs of all time.


Written by the drummer Tommy Ramone and the bassist Dee Dee Ramone, the track was also released as a single at the time and really became one of the high points of every Ramones show in the following decades. But what does “Blitzkrieg Bop” mean?

The meaning of The Ramones song “Blitzkrieg Bop”

When the band got together and started working on the material for their debut album, Tommy Ramone wanted to contribute. So he wanted try to write something but the rest of the band wasn’t always receptive to his compositions. Especially Dee Dee, who was really competitive at the time. So he came with “Animal Hop”, which would soon be renamed to “Blitzkrieg Bop”. As he told Legs McNeil in 2003, the song was too good to be rejected by the rest of the group.

“So, I wrote ‘Blitzkrieg Bop,’ only I called it ‘Animal Hop’. It was too good to be rejected. But it wasn’t about Nazis. It wasn’t about gassing Jews, it was about kids going to a show and having a good time. It went: ‘They’re forming in a straight line, they’re going through a tight wind. The kids are losing their mind, the Animal Hop.’ I also had a line that went, ‘Hey Ho, Let’s Go! They’re shouting in the back now’.”

He continued:

“But Dee Dee said, ‘Animal Hop’? Let’s call it ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’!’ He was already sabotaging the song. He goes, ‘I don’t like that line, ‘they’re shouting in the back now’. Let’s say, ‘Shoot them in the back now.’ He wanted to do the Nazi thing, so that it would never get played on the radio. But now it’s a TV commercial. Who knew?” Tommy Ramone said.

The German word “Blitzkrieg” actually means “Lightning War”. It was used in the Second World War II to describe a combined arms surprise attack to try to break through the enemy lines of defense, making a quick response more difficult. And the word “Bop”, according to the Cambridge Dictionary means “to dance to pop music”. So that title was really a combination of what The Ramones could later be defined: an aggressive sound and image but with Pop melodies and influences from the 50s and 60s music.

What inspired the line “Hey, Ho, Let’s Go”

The track was inspired by the Bay City Rollers hit song “Saturday Night”, which was also a chant-type song. That track inspired Tommy to write something similar and he came up with the phrase “Hey, Ho, Let’s Go”. That line was inspired by The Rolling Stones song ‘Walking The Dog’, where Jagger sings “High Low, Tippy Toe”. Tommy and his bandmates used to change the line of the song to ‘Hey Ho’ whenever they listened to that track from the British group.

Tommy Ramone was a member of the group from 1974 until 1978 when he decided to leave. Besides playing the drums, he was also the co-producer on the band’s first four albums and also on “Too Tough To Die” in 1984.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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