Along with the Stooges' Ron Asheton/James Williamson, the New York Dolls' Johnny Thunders, and the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones, the Ramones' Johnny Ramone was one punk rock's first guitar heroes and remains one of the most influential guitarists of the genre. Born John Cummings on October 8, 1948, in Long Island, NY, (and raised in nearby Forest Hills, Queens), Cummings was taken by the rock sounds of the '60s -- Rolling Stones, the Who, etc. -- but discovered a real connection with such proto-punk bands as the Stooges, MC5, and Velvet Underground. It wasn't until the early '70s that a friend (Douglas Colvin) and he purchased their first instruments -- Cummings a Mosrite guitar and Colvin a bass, intent on learning their instruments and forming a band reminiscent of their garage rock heroes. By 1974, the duo had hooked up with local fellow musical upstarts Jeffrey Hyman (vocals) and Tom Erdelyi (drums), and the Ramones were born.