No-one can ever agree on anything. That was the beauty of the form.
A recent article on LTW by Randall Doane identified The Ramones as the single most important band that changed Punk Rock as after their debut album came out, claiming that all English bands tripled their speed overnight. Laura Birch is not so sure…
I believe that claim, which has been made a number of times previously, to be something of a myth.
Of the few Punk bands which existed at that point, The Damned were already playing at break-neck speed and the Sex Pistols didn’t alter their tempo from what they’ve been doing prior to hearing the Ramones.
As for The Clash themselves, their debut album contains one track which was from a tempo-perspective clearly influenced by The Ramones, White Riot. The rest of the album maintains a speed much the same as that heard on the band’s pre-Ramones live bootlegs.
The only band I can think of who notably cranked things up a gear were The Stranglers. Bootlegs from 1974/1975 reveal them performing demos at half the speed they would later appear as singles and album tracks. Whether that change came from the Ramones is highly debatable.
Next time somebody makes the claim that The Ramones turbocharged the London Punk scene overnight, I’d like to see some solid examples please.