Ramones get lifetime achievement

Lifetime achievement award recipients Tommy Ramone (L) and Marky Ramone attend the Recording...

Lifetime achievement award recipients Tommy Ramone (L) and Marky Ramone attend the Recording Academy Special Merit Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 12, 2011. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

DARRYL STERDAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:54 PM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Gabba Gabba Yay! The Ramones finally got their due.

Some 15 years after they disbanded -- and more than five years after the deaths of most of the band's original lineup -- the punk rock pioneers (or at least their surviving members and widows) were finally presented with their first Grammy on Saturday: A Lifetime Achievement Award.

"This is amazing," said Marky Ramone, accepting his award. "I never expected this. I'm sure Johnny, Joey and Dee Dee would never have expected this. I'm extremely honoured."

The 54-year-old drummer, still sporting his trademark black hair and clothes, paid tribute to his late bandmates' abilities, personalities and contributions to music.

"Joey Ramone was the perfect histrionic singer. Dee Dee Ramone was a whirlwind hurricane. Johnny Ramone definitely influenced thousands of guitarists around the world. If it wasn't for this group, there wouldn't be the genre that we call punk rock."

Original drummer Tommy Ramone was also on hand for the ceremonies, as was drummer Richie, who said it was the first time all three men had been in the same room together. (The Ramones are like the anti-Spinal Tap; only the drummers survive.)

Joey died of lymphoma in 2001. Dee Dee ODed in 2002. Johnny died of cancer in 2004. Their trophies were accepted by family members such as Johnny's widow Linda, who quipped "God bless America and God bless Johnny Ramone."

Singer Joey's brother Mickey Leigh -- author of the memoir I Slept With Joey Ramone -- suggested the Grammy producers reconsider the lineup of Sunday's televised Grammy ceremonies.

"This should be televised tomorrow night. You should bump Justin Bieber," Leigh said to a rousing ovation from the crowd inside the lavish Wilshire Ebell Theatre.

The Ramones were one of several honourees at the annual Special Merit Awards, handed out the day before the rest of the Grammys. Singer and actress Julie Andrews, country singer-songwriter Dolly Parton, jazz drummer Roy Haynes, long-running classical outfit the Juilliard String Quartet, pinstriped folkies The Kingston Trio and 102-year-old Canadian gospel singer George Beverly Shea all received trophies. All but Parton (and two deceased Kingston Trio members) showed up to claim their prizes.

"When I looked online and saw who the other people here were, I thought of the farmer that wanted to put his mule in the Kentucky derby," joked Shea. "Look at the company he's keeping."

Trustees Awards were also handed out to record executives Al Bell, Wilma Cozart Fine and Blue Note Records' Bruce Lundvall, while Technical Grammies were presented to drum machine pioneer Roger Linn and Waves Audio.

Nine albums and 21 songs, including works by The Beatles, Ray Charles, Prince and Willie Nelson, were also inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame:

Songs:

-My Mammy | Al Jolson (1927)

- Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground | Blind Willie Johnson (1927)

- Frankie | Mississippi John Hurt (1928)

- Steel Guitar Rag | Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys Featuring Leon McAuliffe (1936)

- Rockin' Chair | Mildred Bailey (1937)

- Summertime | Sidney Bechet (1939)

- Ko-Ko | Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra (1940)

- Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me | Duke Ellington & His Orchestra Featuring Al Hibbler (1944)

- Lovesick Blues | Hank Williams With His Drifting Cowboys(1949)

- Walking to New Orleans | Fats Domino (1960)

- Please Mr. Postman | The Marvelettes (1961)

- We Gotta Get Out of This Place | The Animals (1965)

- I've Been Loving You Too Long (Single) | Otis Redding (1965)

- Penny Lane | The Beatles (1967)

- The Letter | The Box Tops (1967)

- Many Rivers to Cross | Jimmy Cliff (1969)

- Cissy Strut | The Meters (1969)

- I'll Be There | The Jackson 5 (1970)

- Take Me To The River | Al Green (1974)

- Cat's In The Cradle | Harry Chapin (1974)

- On The Road Again | Willie Nelson (1980)

Albums:

- Schumann: Carnaval Op.9″ | Sergei Rachmaninoff (1929)

- Brigadoon | Original Broadway Cast (1947)

- Joan Baez | Joan Baez (1960)

- Genius + Soul = Jazz | Ray Charles (1961)

- Sunday At The Village Vangaurd | Bill Evans Trio (1961)

- The Koln Concert | Keith Jarrett (1975)

- Bogalusa Boogie | Clifton Chenier (1976)

- Heavy Weather | Weather Report (1977)

- Purple Rain | Prince & The Revolution (1984)


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