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Album: Rocket To RussiaReleased: 1977Charted:
This was the first punk song to hit the pop charts. The name "Sheena" came from Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, who was kind of a female Tarzan character. It was a popular comic book and TV series in the '40s and '50s.
Joey Ramone: "'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker' first came out as a single. I played it for (Sire Records President) Seymour Stein. He flipped out and said 'We gotta record that song now.' It was like back in the '50s; you'd rush into the studio because you thought you had a hit, then put it right out. To me 'Sheena' was the first surf/punk rock/teenage rebellion song. I combined Sheena, Queen of the Jungle with the primalness of punk rock. Then Sheena is brought into the modern day: 'But she just couldn't stay/she had to break away/well New York City really has it all.' It was funny because all the girls in New York seemed to change their name to Sheena after that. Everybody was a Sheena."
This runs 2:45, which is fairly long for a Ramones song.
Tommy Ramone helped produce this track. He his credited on the album under his real name, Tommy Erdelyi.
While this was the first punk rock song to hit the Hot 100, it was not the first song on the chart with the word "Punk" in the title: Barry Mann made #78 in 1976 with "The Princess And The Punk," a song that about mismatched lovers that was certainly not a punk rocker.
The Polish band Armia (translation: The Army) covered this, with most of the lyrics translated to Polish. It appears on two of their albums: Antiarmia
and the concert album Soul Side Story