Howard Remembers Joey Ramone in Honor of the 20th Anniversary of His Death

“I just loved his whole attitude, I loved the way he sang, I loved the way he came on our show and talked,” he said Tuesday of the punk icon

April 13, 2021

Nearly 20 years after Joey Ramone lost his battle with cancer, Howard on Tuesday morning spoke fondly of the Ramones lead singer, punk icon, and frequent Stern Show guest. “I was a huge fan of Joey’s,” Howard said. “I just loved his whole attitude, I loved the way he sang, I loved the way he came on our show and talked, and I grew to appreciate the music of the Ramones, I really did. I even put a song of the Ramones in my movie.”

Often mistaken as four brothers who went by their surname, Joey, guitarist Johnny, drummer Tommy, and bassist Dee Dee became the Ramones when the latter was inspired by one of Paul McCartney’s aliases, Paul Ramone. “Joey was Jeffrey Hyman,” Howard informed co-host Robin Quivers of the singer’s Queens origins.

After going through a list of adversities Joey endured, including being born with a rare tumor, bouts with drugs, alcohol and mental health issues, and even playing an entire show with second and third degree burns to his face and chest, Howard played audio of some of his more memorable connections to the show. “I think he’s a good sick guy,” Joey told Howard during his 1985 Stern Show debut of first seeing the host during one of his many “Late Night With David Letterman” appearances.

Along with a famous fight Joey had with Tommy’s replacement Marky Ramone on air, Howard also noted the message he left on executive producer Gary Dell’Abate’s answering machine around the time the two dated the same woman. “I think it was more like we crossed over … I don’t think we were dating at the same time. I think we were done dating and then she started dating him,” Gary revealed before admitting he almost erased the message. “I literally had my finger on the delete button and my roommate goes, ‘I think that’s Joey Ramone.”

Finally, Howard recalled Joey’s last moments in a story that apparently gave his wife Beth Stern “goosebumps.” “Joey’s in his hospital bed, he knows he’s close to the end … and he said, ‘I want to hear this song,’” Howard recalled of the singer’s request to listen to the U2 ballad “In a Little While.” “And as this song ended, Joey passed away. The last conscious thing he wanted to experience wasn’t a meal … it was this song. He loved music so much.”

“That’s a perfect ending,” Robin marveled.