The Ramones first recorded this song with producer Ed Stasium, who helmed their previous album Road to Ruin
. The band started working with Phil Spector soon after, and Spector "remixed" the song (it sounds to us like he just added echo) for the film. This is the version that was released as a single and included on the film's soundtrack.
When Spector produced the Ramones End of the Century
album, he had them record a new version, employing his "wall of sound" technique. While the original begins with eight seconds of drums, this rendition opens with the sounds of students mulling about at school, a class bell, and a sustained guitar note played by Johnny Ramone.
This guitar note became the stuff of legend when tales were told of Specter making Johnny play it over and over for eight hours. When Johnny walked out, Spector ordered him back in, and Johnny retorted, "What you going to do, shoot me?" (this exchange is captured on tape).
Spector is often said to have brandished a gun either at this point or at another point in the session, but Marky Ramone tells us
that this is overblown - Spector carried a gun but never threatened them with it.
The album took about six months to make, which was an eternity by Ramones standards, although most of that time was Spector working without the band. The album was a modest success, going to #44 US and outselling previous Ramones efforts, but it left the band divided - Joey and Marky loved it, but Dee Dee and Johnny felt traumatized by the experience.