Ramones – The KKK Took My Baby Away

This and I Want To Be Sedated are my two favorite songs by the Ramones. I’ve been apprehensive about posting this one because of obvious reasons. UK #1s blog (Stuart) and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about how much we liked this song. It has a couple of really interesting stories that go with it as you might imagine.

There are two stories about how this song came to be. The most popular (but probably not true) is this one.  Johnny Ramone, the politically conservative member of the group, stole away liberal Joey Ramone’s girlfriend Linda Daniele, and Joey wrote this song about it. So Joey made the comparison of the KKK to Johnny in the song…not because Johnny was a racist but because of his conservative views and being a tad upset about the Linda thing. Johnny eventually married Linda, causing a huge strain on his relationship with Joey. 

More likely it’s this one. Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh, has said that the song was written before he knew about Johnny and Linda. Leigh said their parents disapproved of interracial relationships. Joey was dating a black woman at the time and one day Leigh noticed they weren’t together anymore. He asked Joey what happened to the girl and Joey responded by saying “the KKK took my baby away.” The KKK was Joey’s parents who broke them up.

I seriously doubt if Johnny would have played on a song with him being referred to as the KKK. That being said…the marriage did cause a huge strain on Joey and Johnny’s personal relationship. Even before this, they were extreme in their political beliefs so they didn’t have an easy relationship anyway.

Monte Melnick the band’s tour manager on Joey and Johnny after the marriage: “They came to an agreement where they kind of tolerated each other, It’s like a business. You’re working with someone you don’t particularly like, but you’re still working there because you like your job.”

Linda Daniele: “So when it came time for Joey and me to break up, we understood. It was time to move on. Johnny was in love with me, I had been falling in love with Johnny. Joey knew that. For the first couple of years, I didn’t speak to Joey and then of all a sudden, this guy was doing a Ramones book. And out of the blue Joey called me. From that moment on, me and Joey always stayed in touch. I know people go, ‘Oh, you broke his heart.’ But Joey got another girlfriend right away after I left!”

The song was on their 1981 album Pleasant Dreams. The album peaked at #58 in the Billboard Album Charts.

Here are the Drive-By Truckers with a cover

The KKK Took My Baby Away

She went away for the holidays
Said she’s going to L.A.
But she never got there
She never got there
She never got there, they say

The KKK took my baby away
They took her away
Away from me
The KKK took my baby away
They took her away
Away from me

Now I don’t know
Where my baby can be
They took her from me
They took her from me
I don’t know
Where my baby can be
They took her from me
They took her from me

Ring me, ring me ring me
Up the President
And find out
Where my baby went
Ring me, ring me, ring me
Up the FBI
And find out if
My baby’s alive
Yeah, yeah, yeah

She went away for the holidays

The KKK took my baby away

They took my girl
They took my baby away

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

24 thoughts on “Ramones – The KKK Took My Baby Away”

  1. kind of catchy, like most Ramones tunes. I’d read before that some of the Ramones were remarkably conservative, though I can never keep track of which Ramone is which!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The Ramones were ranked #26 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”, but I see them as average musicians that really knew how to put down a beat and milk it for all it was worth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Musicians yea…they would not rival jazz musicans by any means….but coming up with all of those catchy songs…. That was a strong point.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is pretty interesting. My friend Tat was a big Ramones fan and got me onto The Smiths. Ramones, from the scant I have heard are a bit punky and radical for my musical tastes. But I did like The Prodigy a gritty and an English electronic punk band. ‘Breathe’ is one of the best hard punk songs I have heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve listened to bunch of Ramones songs and generally like their combination of raw sound with catchy melodies. I haven’t really read up on them, so had no idea about the complicated relationship between Johhny and Joey.

    It seems rock & roll frequently complicates family relationships. Perhaps the most notorious example is Ray Davies and Dave Davies of The Kinks. John Fogerty and Tom Fogerty of CCR come to mind as well. Also, didn’t Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis have a tense relationship?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Liam and Noel were really bad…of course the Ramones are not real brothers… just band mates but still…yea that would be rough.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I thought the same thing beore I read about them!
        Every time some one would leave…they would give the new person a new name…. XXXX Ramone lol.
        I think they only had to replace one

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Blitzkreig Bop
        Beat On The Brat
        Sheena is a Punk Rocker

        We could go on and on!

        Like

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