The Ramones are known for a lot of things. But a similar look was just as big a part of who they were as their sound. And the long hair for most of them was a big part of that look. But did The Ramones wear wigs?
Here’s what I discovered looking into it:
Joey Ramone and Marky Ramone each called the other out for wearing a wig, but there is no photographic evidence to support this. However, both Joey and Johnny lost their hair battling cancer towards the end of their lives.
Seriously though, I can’t help but wonder how the hell they maintained their iconic rock and roll punk hairstyles.
How did the Ramones settle on such an iconic look? How did they maintain it for so long? And really, did any of them secretly suffer from the dreaded male pattern baldness?
Let’s take an inside look!
The Ramones were the first rock band to
wear leather jackets, long hair and tight jeans,
and play very short concerts,
and be very good at it.
I will be the first one to ____________, and be very good at it. pic.twitter.com/sZDYiSfrDJ
— Thomas 🛳 (@TBrouchet) May 6, 2021
Who invented the Ramones Hairstyle?
Joey Ramone’s lifelong hairdresser, Huck Dill, takes credit for creating the Ramones’ iconic hairstyle look. However, the shaggy bowl cut with bangs was also popular at the time with many glam bands such as The Sweet.
The Ramones iconic hairstyle cannot be isolated outside of the context of the entire Ramones’ uniform’. Ripped jeans, sneakers, the leather jacket, and long black hair… It was a complete look.
The hairstyle was a part of a unified image as much as the shared last name.
But I wanted to know who invented the Ramones hairstyle? Who was the first to sport the shaggy bowl cut with thick bangs? Which of them decided that it was an essential part of the Ramones style?
In an interview published by AMNY magazine in 2005, Huck Dill said:
“It was long and straight, I thought it should be more rock n’ roll.” Dill gave Joey his signature bangs and a layered cut that made his naturally wavy hair turn somewhat curly.
By the time they were ready for press pictures and playing their first shows at CBGB, the band had officially made a few rules about their look and among them were the requirement for long hair.
Johnny Ramone, who was famously a staunch republican, an astute businessman, and a brilliant marketer, was also very controlling and domineering in managing the band.
What Johnny said was the law, and he insisted on long hair for everyone.
He is often credited with making the long black hair part of the official uniform and incorporating the look into the band’s rulebook. Of course, in later years, Dee Dee cut his hair shorter, and latecomer Ritchie Ramone’s hair was a little shorter as well.
Happy Birthday, Joey Ramone. He started a revolution with 14 songs in under 30 minutes for the Ramones’ debut album. pic.twitter.com/TodM7qRoLu
— Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) May 20, 2021
Were any of the Ramones Secretly Bald?
Both Johnny and Joey Ramone became bald later in life due to the treatments they received battling cancer. But Joey Ramone also claimed in a Howard Stern interview that Marky Ramone wore a wig and was bald.
If you look back at the classic pictures of the Ramones, it’s obvious that they were all sporting their natural locks when they were young.
However, by the late 80s and early 90s, you can notice a shift in their image. Their hair color became really black and seemed to defy aging. At this point, the evidence starts to suggest that maybe the members of the band had something to hide.
Johnny Ramone famously lost his locks in the early 80s.
In a legendary street fight with Seth Macklin (the singer of punk band Sub-Zero), Johnny ended up on the wrong side of a kick to the head and nearly died. After emergency surgery to fix a fractured skull, he woke up with a shaved head and a renewed distrust in humanity.
He didn’t appear in public again until late 1984, with a noticeably different haircut.
He also lost his hair toward the end of his life as he battled the cancer that eventually killed him. He wore a wig, but was his baldness a secret or a side effect?
Joey Ramone also became bald during the latter part of his life.
When he went through radiation therapy to treat his lymphoma cancer, all of his hair eventually fell out, and he had a wig.
I think it’s safe to say that both Johnny and Joey Ramone hiding their baldness had more to do with their cancer treatment than fragile egos.
🎉🎉🎉Happy 65th birthday Marky Ramone!!🎉🎉🎉 pic.twitter.com/82F83bqxc1
— Rock N Roll Pictures (@RockNRollPics) July 15, 2021
Does Marky Ramone Wear a Wig?
It is unclear if Marky Ramone wears a wig as he has never admitted it, nor are there any photos of him bald. But Joey Ramone did tell Howard Stern that Marky wore a wig.
So, there has never been an official confirmation that Marky wears a wig, but his unchanging hair has become something of urban legend.
Heck, there is even an Instagram account called @markyramoneswig.
There is a notorious interview with Howard Stern from the mid-90s, where Joey Ramone rips hard on Marky for his wig.
We know that there was a lot of internal conflict in the group, but Joey really took things to a new low by directly calling out Marky.
Joey Ramone said:
“He wears a wig. You know, he’s bald,” in addition to some low-hitting insults like, “He’s the wigman.” He also revealed intimate backstage details like, “During Lollapalooza, he would wear all these different headpieces and everybody was just laughing behind his back” and “Even his wife was saying his hair looked bad.”
Marky (unsurprisingly) responded defensively and fired back at Joey:
“You’re the one who wears the wig! You wear extensions, and everyone knows that.” He also claimed that Joey was just “jealous of his good looks” and finished the interview by childishly saying, “Your hair is falling out, and your whole family wears wigs, too. So stop it.”
I would also like to call your attention to a ballsy interview that MOISST did with Marky Ramone that is downright hilarious.
In it, the interviewer point-blank asks the question that is on everybody’s mind.
Again, Marky avoids answering the question with another attack on Joey (earlier in the interview, he had mentioned Joey getting a ‘fat ass’ as the reason why he couldn’t keep up with the band). Here’s the exchange:
MOISST: What is the deal with the wig?
Marky: Joey wears hair extensions. He does.
MOISST: And your hair, is that a wig?
Marky: It’s not a wig. No way.
I wonder if Marky knew that Joey was battling cancer? Of the four original Ramones, Joey was the first to pass in 2001.
It was only in hindsight that fans were able to put two and two together and realize that when the Ramones officially retired in ’96, Joey was already fighting what would come to be a losing battle.
But is it ironic that all 4 original Ramones are dead, despite being relatively young?
I did a recent article where I looked at all 4, how and when they died, and whether the constant touring and infighting in the band may have contributed.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
I also wonder why Marky Ramone can’t just admit the obvious. The guy is nearly 70 years old, and his hair hasn’t changed in nearly 40 years. As one of the last surviving Ramones, he obviously looks older.
But his hair is the same now as it was when those interviews took place in the early 80s.
#JohnnyRamone #Ramones pic.twitter.com/DKR5gIrZs2
— Nissy Ramone (@Nissy_Ramone) August 21, 2021
Did Johnny Ramone Use a Curling Wand?
The often pristine look of Johnny Ramone’s bangs suggests that a curling iron was likely used. But there is no official report of how Johnny Ramone styled his hair and whether he used a curling wand.
Johnny Ramone maintained the same hairstyle for nearly his entire career… that distinctive bowl cut defined by a thick fringe of bangs and a bob of perfectly straight hair with a subtle curl at the bottom.
Sometimes it was longer, sometimes it was shorter, but it was always distinctively Johnny.
Try as I might, I wasn’t able to learn the beauty secrets of how he maintained such a distinctive helmet-like ‘do. As he got older, I’m sure he dyed his hair before resorting to the wig he sported at the end of his life.
But aside from their iconic look, what else made the Ramones so popular?
And when did they get popular, and how much money did they actually make when they were still around? Luckily, I got into all that and more, including the current net worth of the band members and their estates, in a recent article.
Just click that link to read it on my site.
I straightened my brothers hair and he looks like the guy in the Ramones! the first one on the second row pic.twitter.com/RkfBOI9Bin
— Pretty In Pop Punk (@prettyinpoppunk) April 22, 2013
What Other Rock Stars Wear Wigs?
Here is a list of some of the most popular musicians who wear/wore, or are reported to wear wigs:
- Elton John
- Little Richard
- Joe Lynn Turner
- George Clinton
- Steven Tyler
- Axel Rose
- Bruce Springsteen
- Gene Simmons
- Gary Numan
But it’s important to point out that it’s just a guess or urban myth in some of these cases, and not everyone on the list for sure wears a wig.
A big part of what makes a person a “rockstar” is their image. I’d never really thought of it before, but I bet that aging rock stars end up feeling insecure about their image as their hair thins and styles change.
It wasn’t surprising to find out that most famous musicians don’t admit to keeping up appearances though others proudly sport their wig as part of their look.
If I could have a word with Marky Ramone, I would definitely recommend that he come clean with the public and gracefully age into the legendary status that his last name affords him.
After all, there are plenty of rock stars or actors who are bald or partially bald who still look great (Rob Halford, Tom Morello, Billy Corgan, Woody Harrelson, Pete Townsend).
In the grand scheme of things, I guess it doesn’t matter if the Ramones wore wigs or not. They accomplished so much in such short lives that it would be ridiculous to detract from their legacy.
Photo which requires attribution:
IMG_4115 ramones do you remember rock ‘n’ roll radio? by apriliars50 is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a graphic and text overlay added.