Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

Album: Rocket To Russia (1977)
Charted: 22 81

Songfacts®:

  • 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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Katie - Gasoline Alley, Australia
  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Krzysiek - Lublin, Poland

Comments: 30

  • Zero from The Abyss, NjAs far as female rockers, what about Joan Jett? Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart? Lita Ford maybe? I'm more curious why there aren't more female guitar heroes. All I can really think of is that Orianthi (sp?) girl that was going to be Michael Jackson's lead guitarist before he died. Usually girls/woman play bass, keyboards or sing. Or play acoustic/rhythm guitar. Maybe it's because rock is a predominately male genre as there are probably more female Jazz, flamenco, and classical guitarists. Idk....
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI don't know about you guys, but occasionally I'll start randomly singing this song, especially the chorus. Lol.
  • Deadflo from Spokane, WaI want to second LJ's story about there being a real Sheena, and she did live in Moscow Idaho in 1979. I've been looking for years for any reference to this! We must have met at one point Lj. I recall the real Sheena was one real HOT punk rock girl.
    I remember her last name and have tried to google for more info, without any luck.
    It would be very cool to find out more about this history. The girl was very connected,she moved to San Francisco and we didn't hear much about her after that.
  • Sc from Anchorage, AkGreat song! As Tre Cool once said, "The world is a better place because of Joey Ramone".
  • Sheena from Salineville, OhThis is a GREAT song!! just b.c it has my name in it SHEENA!! love it!!

    Sheena*
  • Pynes from Military Brat, Currently In Al,everytime i hear Shena, i love the pure contempt during the line ''got their surfboards & they're goin' to the discoteque-a-go-go''. when i sing along i cant help but sneer & knash my teeth!...absolutely adore the ramones!
  • Michelle from Linden, NjI love the Ramones and this song is one of my favorites...unfortunately everytime I listen to it the first image that comes to mind is from the movie Stephen King's Pet Sematary when little Gage Creed (Miko Hughes) gets hit by that damn Orinco truck!!!! (For whoever didn't watch the movie,there is a scene when the truck driver was singing along to this tune before he ran over the baby.)
  • Malicious Matt from SquatneyI love this song. No matter what you call it, punk, rock n' roll, pop, whatever, its the best of all those worlds. A great record in my opinion!
  • Dave from San Antonio, Tx"But she jus couldn't stay she had to break away"
    the way its beautifully and painfully sung hooked me instantly! I CANT IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT THE RAMONES.
  • Vinnie from Manhattan, NyTha Ramones rock. Good tune to party to all nite
  • Lj from Moscow, IdI meet Sheena in Moscow Id. in the early 80's. Man that girl could party...She was a one of a kind person, could (deleted) like a tiger...Good fun memories...Thanks Sheena
    lj Moscow Id.
  • Judy from Rochester, NyI discovered the Ramones way back in high school and loved them. I recently rediscovered them when my son started listening to them and fell in love all over again. Sheena is the ultimate surf/feel good song!
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI know Janice Joplin is considered a blues singer, she's loved by rock audiences as well. As far as female rock legends goes, I guess Grace Slick could fit in that category? I don't know.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScAs far as rock legends, Galena, you missed one Janice Joplin. She's a female.
  • Brandon from Malvern, ArDon't forget Patti Smith.
  • Galina from New London, CtTo say something to matthew,way down at the bottom, I have noticed that many rock legends are male, (in exeption to The Bangles). Doesn't that seem a little wierd? If there are anymore female rock legends that I have missed, please tell me.
  • Galina from New London, CtWhen I did horse back riding I got to wear cool boots that went up to my knees, and my dad saw me then said "you are a punk rocker", then he hummed the song for the rest of the day.
  • Sarah from Kalamazoo, MiI first heard this song when I was 15 on a mix tape someone loned me, and fell in love with it. When I was 21 I was given a kitten as a gift and named her Sheena. She is a punk rocker.
  • Maria from Los Angeles, Cathis song is amazing i love the ramones
  • Maya from San Francisco-ish, CaAlso it got to #81 on the charts-- the most successful Ramones song. u_u
  • Maya from San Francisco-ish, CaThis song has the coolest guitar part; if you've seen the music video, you can see Johnny's spazzing hand. I think this was one of the Ramones's first big hits. Great, catchy song.
  • Yolanda Morphinite from Bountiful , Utif you love a band you can cover their songs all you want thats just showing respect. amen.
  • Michael Picard from Lapwai, IdThis song is so massive
  • Amelia from Kremmling, Coi agree, Sbrmf, i don't think that anyone should copy songs that are really popular because everyone obviously liked it the way it was so no matter how well you do it they'll always be like, "oh that's that queen song, those posers."
  • Sbrnrmf from Norfolk, VaRamones is the band! Nobody can compare! Every band pays tribute and covers the Ramones, but they will never be the Ramones!!! Tribute bands can be cool, but most have done really crappy jobs!!!
  • Steph from Ottawa, CanadaLet's face it, Rancid (I love 'em) is just one big Ramones tribute band. 'Sheena' is my favorite Ramones song. It's amazing that a song as repetetive as this can be so enjoyable.
  • Tanner from Pleasant View, Utthe return of Jackie & Judy is not the sequel to this. it is the sequel to Judy is a Punk.
  • Matthew from New York, NyAccording to legend, Joey Ramone felt that every genre had its female hero: Soul had Aretha Franklin. Motown had Diana Ross. Blues had Janis Joplin. Jazz had Ella Fitzgerald. Folk had Joan Baez. And so on. He wanted to create a female hero for punk, and since he felt he couldn't create a "real" hero, he'd just write about one. Hence, Shena was born.
  • Andy from Halifax, EnglandThis song was covered by Rancid , the Tribute To Ramones - We're A Happy Family album.
  • Lucas from Buenos Aires, South Americacheck out it's sequel, the return of jackie & judy
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Adele

AdeleFact or Fiction

Despite her reticent personality, Adele's life and music are filled with intrigue. See if you can spot the true tales.

Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins

Tom Bailey of Thompson TwinsSongwriter Interviews

Tom stopped performing Thompson Twins songs in 1987, in part because of their personal nature: "Hold Me Now" came after an argument with his bandmate/girlfriend Alannah Currie.

Ian Astbury of The Cult

Ian Astbury of The CultSongwriter Interviews

The Cult frontman tells who the "Fire Woman" is, and talks about performing with the new version of The Doors.

Songs Discussed in Movies

Songs Discussed in MoviesSong Writing

Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, Willy Wonka - just a few of the flicks where characters discuss specific songs, sometimes as a prelude to murder.

Hawksley Workman

Hawksley WorkmanSongwriter Interviews

One of Canada's most popular and eclectic performers, Hawksley tells stories about his oldest songs, his plentiful side projects, and the ways that he keeps his songwriting fresh.

AC/DC

AC/DCFact or Fiction

Does Angus really drink himself silly? Did their name come from a sewing machine? See if you can spot the real stories about AC/DC.