Upon hearing the Ramones for the first time, CBGB owner Hilly Kristal simply said, "Nobody's gonna like you guys, but I'll book you anyway." Little did he know that the disheveled-looking kids before him, who sported ripped jeans and leather jackets and barely knew how to play their instruments, would become some of the most important figures in the punk rock movement both in the US and overseas. The Ramones made their debut at the Bowery music club CBGB on the night of August 16, 1974, marking the first of countless performances they would play at the venue throughout their musical career.
Contrary to Kristal's prediction, the band was an instant hit. The Ramones had a unique energy that made them stand out from other bands. Part of the appeal was their raw delinquency. The band members, originally from Forest Hills, Queens, had an authentic street sensibility; among the four of them, they had experienced hardships from dropping out of school to drug addiction to male prostitution. Unlike some other bands on the scene, the Ramones' punk image was far from an act.
Aside from their rebellious lifestyle, however, the Ramones also had a unique, innovative sound. None of them had very much experience in playing instruments, so their early music consisted of simple chord progressions complemented by very fast and loud strumming, which resulted in a noisy, buzzing quality. Their lack of musical training allowed the band to take punk rock in a direction that had never been explored before, amazing the crowd and shooting them to fame.