53rd & 3rd


53rd & 3rd

Infobox Single
Name = 53rd & 3rd
Type = Single
Artist = The Ramones


Background = yellow
Released = 1976
Recorded = 1976
Genre = Punk
Length = 2:21
Label = Sire
Producer = Craig Leon
Reviews = _
Last single = "Blitzkrieg Bop"
(1976)
This single = "53rd & 3rd"
(1976)
Next single = "I Remember You"
(1977) |

"53rd & 3rd" was the second single by punk rock band The Ramones. It was released in 1976.

Lyrics

The song, written by bassist Dee Dee Ramone, refers to what was then called a famous spot for male prostitution in New York. There is speculation that Dee Dee himself had been a "hustler" there, using the money earned there to pay for the heroin habit that he immortalized in "Chinese Rocks", and which ultimately killed him as he died from an overdose in 2002. In the movie "", Dee Dee does not acknowledge hustling on that corner, although other members of the band claim or at least imply that he did.

The verses, which are sung by Joey Ramone, are somewhat ambiguous. Some have suggested the song's protagonist introduces himself as a former Green Beret in the Vietnam War, now a prostitute on the corner of 53rd and 3rd. Others have said the song's protagonist does not emerge until the third line and that the Green Beret is another hustler or a client attempting to pick him up, and the protagonist responds to the claims of service in Vietnam with the words "no more of your fairy stories". During the chorus, the protagonist complains that he is never chosen, and that the fact that no one does "makes [him] feel sick".

In the bridge, sung by bassist Dee Dee Ramone, he is finally chosen but he kills his customer with a razor blade. The police are now chasing him, but at least he "proved [he's] no sissy".

Shortly after the song was written, the site was cleared to make way for one of Manhattan's most famous skyscrapers, the Citigroup Center.

Record label

The song also lent its name to an influential [All Music Guide Entry about The Pastels by Ned Ragget "...in addition, their influence helped bring international notice to a resurgent Scottish musical community, with frontman Stephen Pastel's legendary 53rd and 3rd label helping to launch the careers of bands including the Jesus & Mary Chain, Shop Assistants, BMX Bandits, the Vaselines and the Soup Dragons." at [http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:5jd8vwnva92k~T1] ] British indie pop label. It was run by The Pastels' Stephen Pastel and friends, and released records by the likes of Talulah Gosh, Shop Assistants, The Vaselines, The Soup Dragons, and BMX Bandits.

Cover versions

The song was covered by Metallica on the "We're a Happy Family" tribute album, with frontman James Hetfield singing the verses and chorus and drummer Lars Ulrich singing the bridge.

Shotgun Messiah covered the song on their EP "I Want More".

On the live album "We're Outta Here", Lars Fredriksen and Tim Armstrong of Rancid join the Ramones in performing this song, with both playing guitar and Lars singing the bridge.

References


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