The first time I met Joey Ramone was in the early ’80s, right after the Ramones covered the Ronettes’ ”Baby, I Love You” on End of the Century. They asked me to come down to the studio where they were shooting a video. The first thing I saw was Joey. He was so tall with that hair and the glasses—handsome and adorable. I was really impressed. I used to go down to CBGB’s a lot and I saw a lot of punk bands, but the Ramones really stood out, so meeting Joey was very exciting. He said, ”I can’t believe I’m meeting Ronnie Spector!” I remember saying ”I can’t believe I’m meeting Joey Ramone!” We liked each other instantly.
Almost 20 years later, he produced my CD She Talks to Rainbows. He was so great; he let me do whatever I wanted in the studio. It was the first time any producer or writer let me do that. It was amazing how well Joey knew my voice. He would bring out songs for me to sing, like Johnny Thunders’ ”You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.” When I heard Johnny Thunders’ version, I said, ”I can never do this, Joey.” But he said, ”Trust me, you can,” and I did. It was like ”Wow!”
Everything was ”wow” with Joey. He was so easygoing and nice and warm. He never bulls—-ed you or came on like he was a big shot. He was just a real guy. No ego, no phoniness. That’s why we were friends as long as we were. There was not a phony bone in him.
(Joey Ramone died of lymphatic cancer in New York City.)