Ramones - End Of The Century (LP)
The Ramones were in a rough spot after the release of Road To Ruin. Their 1978 album was intended to break the band into the mainstream and expand their fanbase; it not only failed in this effort, but brought about confusion from critics and their fans. Still aching for commercial success, the band turned to an unlikely benefactor; the legendary and reclusive producer Phil Spector, who brought with him more advanced engineering techniques, and an intricate and obsessive method of pop production. End Of The Century was the final result of the Ramones' sessions with Spector, which were rife with turbulence and hostility. It was the first Ramones record which featured no input from the band's previous drummer Tommy Ramone, and while the band had previously worked inexpensively and quickly, Spector's own perfectionism insisted upon multiple takes of the same parts, and contained a budget of $200,000, making End Of The Century the most expensive album the band recorded. Tensions emerged almost immediately as the band grew more and more impatient with recording their parts over and over again. Stories go that at one point Spector even brandished a pistol at the band, until they listened to him play piano until the very early morning. The final album was released in 1980s, and contained a sound even more pop-friendly than Road To Ruin, as well as elements unheard of in the contemporary punk music of the time, such as electric organs, saxophones, and even a string section. Even though the band didn't look back on End Of The Century fondly, it finally got the band the commercial success they were searching for, rendering the highest Billboard ranking of any of their studio albums. Though critics were baffled by its release, it's now looked at as a vibrant and mature (If gimmicky) item in the Ramones' catalog, and certainly one of Phil Spector's finest efforts.