The Ramones' debut album, you know, the one with the iconic black-and-white cover art (above) and those three classic cuts—"Blitzkrieg Bop," "Beat on the Brat," and "Judy Is a Punk"—that start it off, has finally sold 500,000 copies according to the RIAA. It happened 37 years and one week after the album was released (April 23, 1976).
Recorded for a little more than $6,000, the record only got to 111 on the U.S. charts. Still, it solidified the band—along with the Sex Pistols—as a vanguard of the then burgeoning punk development. The Sex Pistols famously imploded shortly thereafter, but the Ramones kept touring and cutting albums for 20 more years. And not all of those records were crap. (Para example: 1995's Adios Amigos is surprisingly strong for such a late-career release.) Now Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny—three of the four original members—are dead, survived only by Tommy Ramone, who smartly bailed in 1978, only rejoining the band sporadically over the next two decades. For more on all that, do check out the documentary End of the Century—which is conveniently located right here on Youtube with Spanish subtitles.*
Converse to that record, the Ramones' Mania, a 1998 collection of 30 singles from the band's first 10 albums, went gold only six years after its release. And I'll admit, Mania was my introduction to the Ramones, all the way back in high school. But that was before I became an album person, meaning I think it's important to listen to albums whole, even if it's only to figure out what the best songs are. I suspect that I am in the minority with this opinion, and clues over the years suggest I'm right.
*Apparently everything is conveniently located on Youtube these days, copyright be damned. Maybe you want to buy or rent the documentary and records, though.