Morrissey at 17 – ‘The Ramones? A Bumptious Band Of Degenerates’

An interesting bit of music history surfaced today, via Prefix magazine: a July 1976 letter to music paper Melody Maker from one Steve Morrissey of Kings Road, Stretford, Manchester. Yup, it’s that Morrissey.

The future Smiths singer wrote to Melody Maker to proffer his opinion on The Ramones, who he describes as a “bumptious band of degenerate no-talents”. The then-17 year-old continues: “Musically, they do not deal in subtlety or variation of any kind, their rule is to be as incompetent as possible”.

Morrissey was far more impressed by another New York act – he was president of the UK New York Dolls fanclub, and in 1977 wrote a feature about them – oddly titled “Poor Little Faggot… Sealed With A Kiss” – for fanzine Kids Stuff. He signed that one “Steve ‘I Heard The New York Dolls And Cried’ Morrissey” .

Interestingly, despite saying that The Ramones should be “rightly filed and forgotten,” Morrissey later told The Quietus that their 1976 debut, ‘Ramones’, was one of his 13 favourite albums of all time. Guess some things just get better with age.