Tuesday, October 25, 2011

World Tour: It's A Long Way Back To Germany

Ramones: It's A Long Way Back To Germany (link now working)


As a German living outside Germany, the title of the Ramones song appeals to me. The track turned up as a bonus track on the 2005 remastered edition of the Ramones’ 1977 album Rocket To Russia. It is billed as a UK b-side, without any further information. It seems it was also a b-side elewhere, to 1978’s “Do You Wanna Dance”.

“It's A Long Way Back To Germany” was written by Dee Dee Ramone, whose mother was German and who spent much of his formative years in West-Berlin, until he returned to New York City at the age of 15. He also sang a bit in German on “Born To Die In Berlin”, the final track of the final Ramones album in 1996. Dee Dee died six years later, not in Beelin but in LA.

Rocket To Russia featured a song that has been covered twice by German bands. “Rockaway Beach” was first done in 1979 as “Müngersdorfer Stadion” by the Zeltinger Band, a punk rock band fronted by the balding, overweight and often kaftan-wearing Jürgen Zeltinger, one of West Germany’s first openly gay recording artists. Performed in Kölsch, the dialect that is unique to the city of Cologne, the setting of Rockaway Beach in the Ramones song became the public swimming baths adjacent to the football stadium of the same name, and hitching a ride there in the Ramones song became fare-dodging on public transport. (You can get the song HERE.)

In 2005, another German punk band, Die Toten Hosen (from Düsseldorf, just down the road from Zeltinger’s Cologne), covered “Rockaway Beach” in English, as the b-side for their “Alles wird vorübergehen” single.

You might find it quite easy to sing along to “It’s A Long Way Back To Germany”. Just sing this: “You by the phone, you all alone. It’s a long way back to Germany. It’s a long way back to Germany.”

(Image borowed from 45cat.com)

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