Tommy Erdelyi, also known as Tommy Ramone, died at home on Friday after suffering from bile duct cancer. He was 62.
Tommy Erdelyi was the drummer for the band from 1974 through 1978 and helped handle their management and record production. He wrote “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” and co-wrote “Blitzkrieg Bop” with bassist Dee Dee Ramone. He had also been an assistant engineer on the Jimi Hendrix album Band of Gypsies and later went on to produce the Replacement’s Tim as well as Neurotica by Redd Kross. In more recent years he had been performing with Claudia Tienan as a bluegrass duo known as Uncle Monk.
Despite being part of the Ramones in the early years, Tommy was untouched by the kind of demons that plagued bandmates Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee. A lot of sources are mentioning that Tommy is the last of the “Original Ramones” to die, and this is true. However, the group went through a number of line-up changes over the years, so there are still surviving members of the Ramones from later years including drummer Marky Ramone (Marc Steven Bell) who joined the band in 1978.
When promoting the double DVD set It’s Alive: 1974-1996, Tommy said of his bandmates “They gave everything they could in every show. They weren’t the type to phone it in, if you see what I mean.”
Tommy Erdelyi was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1952 to Jewish parents who had recently survived the Holocaust. He grew up in Queens, NY where he met John Cummings (later Johnny Ramone) in high school.