Estate of Joey Ramone sells $10M stake in late punk rocker’s music catalog

The estate of Joey Ramone has agreed to sell a $10 million stake in the punk rocker’s music publishing rights to Primary Wave Music, multiple news outlets reported Thursday.

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The acquisition was part of a $2 billion partnership, Rolling Stone reported. Primary Wave, an independent publisher, combined with investment company Brookfield Asset Management, according to The Wall Street Journal. Primary Wave also secured non-exclusive rights to use Ramone’s name and likeness, Variety reported.

The deal includes such early punk standards written by Joey Ramone for the group, including “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio,” “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker” and “Rockaway Beach,” according to Billboard. It does not include one of the Ramones’ signature songs, “Blitzkrieg Bop,” as Joey Ramone is not listed in its writing credits, the website reported.

Joey Ramone, born Jeffrey Ross Hyman in 1951, died April 15, 2001, in New York City, from lymphoma. He was 49. Original bassist Dee Dee Ramone died a year later of a drug overdose, and guitarist Johnny Ramone died from prostate cancer in 2004, Billboard reported. Founding drummer Tommy Ramone died in 2014, also of cancer.

A pair of posthumous solo albums were released after Joey Ramone’s death, Rolling Stone reported.

“I’m happy to welcome Primary Wave as partners in my brother’s interests in Ramones,” Joey Ramone’s lone surviving brother, Mitchel Hyman, said in a statement. “I’m thoroughly convinced of their eagerness to perpetuate his legacy, and their sincerity about doing it in a way that will never compromise his credibility. I, very much, am looking forward to working with them.”

The timing of the acquisition is noteworthy because Netflix and STXFilms are preparing to release a biopic about Joey Ramone, starring Pete Davidson in the leading role, according to Billboard.

Formed in 1974 in the New York City borough of Queens, the Ramones were initially criticized for their music’s simplicity, Variety reported. However, the group got past the critics with its anthem-like “Hey, ho! Let’s go!” lyrics on “Blitzkrieg Bop,” the entertainment news outlet reported.

The Ramones were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002 and also earned a Grammy lifetime achievement award in 2015.

“Joey Ramone was a total original -- his songwriting, style, and voice are all undeniably unique and immediately recognizable still today,” Lexi Todd, a vice president for business affairs and legal at Primary Wave, told Variety. “A counterculture icon and prime mover of punk rock, Ramones demonstrated first-hand the power of music in influencing culture and built a foundation that has influenced decades of musicians.”

The deal also brings on Creative Artists Agency as a strategic partner and minority investor in Primary Wave, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“It means there isn’t any good acquisition that we couldn’t do in the music business,” Larry Mestel, Primary Wave’s chief executive officer, told the newspaper. “We’re not limited by size or opportunity.”

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