How The Ramones’ Dee Dee Made Possibly The Worst Decision In Rock

Some decisions may take their toll on an artist’s entire music career. It might be an album, live performance, or just a single that may have a negative impact on their image. Fans often don’t like it when a band changes their lineup or shifts toward another genre that is way different from their original sound. Solo artists face the same challenge; if you want fans with you, you have to be extra cautious when switching to a different genre.

Rising to fame as a member of the Ramones since the band’s formation, Dee Dee Ramones contributed significantly to the band’s career with his songwriting, vocals, and talented bass playing. He wrote or co-wrote much of the band’s repertoire and continued writing songs for them after his departure in 1989. After some time, the musician wanted his career to take a different turn — he pursued a solo career as rapper ‘Dee Dee King’ with the album ‘Standing In The Spotlight.’

Released in 1989, ‘Standing In The Spotlight’ didn’t have the sound Ramones fans were used to. It featured songs varying from old-school hip-hop and doo-wop to rock and roll and punk rock. For the music critics, the album was unsuccessful as it wasn’t a rap album but a Ramones album with rapping verses. Dee Dee released ‘Standing In The Spotlight’ months after he left the band. He was already getting ready for his new rapper image during his final shows with the Ramones by wearing rap regalia to the concerts.

Dee Dee Ramones recorded the album at New York City’s Chung King Studios, one of the most popular rap studios of that time, thanks to their work with Beastie Boys and Run-D.M.C. He also had the support of Joey Ramone, who wanted the album to be well-received to kickstart the bassist’s solo career. However, Marky Ramone declined Dee Dee’s offer to play drums in the album as he wasn’t a rapper but a rocker.

Despite Dee Dee’s best efforts, ‘Standing In The Spotlight’ ended up being a disappointment. Various sources consider the album among the biggest failures in recording history. After the failure of his debut solo effort, Dee Dee decided to return to his punk rock roots and formed the punk rock band The Spikey Tops. So, leaving punk rock aside and going for rapping wasn’t a clever idea for the bassist.