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"Pet Sematary" is a single by American punk rock band Ramones, from their 1989 album Brain Drain. The song, originally written for the Stephen King 1989 film adaptation of the same name, became one of the Ramones' biggest radio hits and was a staple of their concerts during the 1990s.[2]

"Pet Sematary"
Single by Ramones
from the album Brain Drain
Released1989
GenrePunk rock, horror punk
Length3:30
LabelSire (US)
Chrysalis (UK)
Songwriter(s)Dee Dee Ramone, Daniel Rey[1]
Producer(s)Jean Beauvoir, Bill Laswell, Daniel Rey
Ramones singles chronology
"I Wanna Live"
(1987)
"Pet Sematary"
(1989)
"I Believe in Miracles"
(1989)

King is a huge Ramones fan and invited the band to his Bangor, Maine home as they played in New England. During the visit, he handed Dee Dee Ramone a copy of his Pet Sematary novel, and the bassist retreated to the basement. One hour later, Dee Dee returned with the lyrics to "Pet Sematary". Shortly afterwards, drummer Marky Ramone said that Dee Dee's attitude that day showed that he could achieve his plans to leave the band and attempt a career at hip hop music. He likened Dee Dee to King, saying that both wrote things people could relate to because they "penetrated to the curiosity, fears, and insecurities carried around with them and couldn't put into words."[3]

Producer Daniel Rey became a co-writer by assisting with the structure of the song, while producer Jean Beauvoir of the Plasmatics helped give the song a more commercial style fit for radio play and film inclusion. As "Pet Sematary" sounded closer to the rock ballads of the period, it was a struggle for Johnny Ramone to play the arpeggios and chords, despite Dee Dee's guidance.[3]

The music video for "Pet Sematary" was filmed at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in the eponymous New York village. Shot on a cold night in January 1989, the video features black and white shots of the Ramones walking through the graveyard, as well as color footage of the band and various others miming to the song alongside an open grave. The video ends with the band playing on a hydraulic platform placed inside the open grave, which is gradually lowered until a group of undertakers covers the grave with a headstone that reads "The Ramones."[3] It was the last video featuring Dee Dee Ramone, who would depart the band and be replaced with C. J. Ramone. The video features cameos by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie, as well as members of The Dead Boys.[4] An alternate edit of the video features the aforementioned scenes interspersed with scenes from the film, with the opening footage of the band walking through the graveyard now appearing in color.[5]

Reception for the song was not entirely positive, as it was nominated for the now-defunct Razzie Award for Worst Original Song in 1989.

A cover version by Plain White T's was included in the Frankenweenie Unleashed! album.

A cover version was released for the 2019 film adaptation, performed by American punk rock band Starcrawler.[6]

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1989) Peak
position
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[7] 4
US New Rock (Radio & Records)[8] 6

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Allmusic review by Stewart Mason
  2. ^ MattFini's Halloween Top 10 Lists: Most Memorable End Credit Songs
  3. ^ a b c Ramone, Marky (2015). Punk Rock Blitzkrieg. John Blake Publishing. pp. 276–8. ISBN 1784188301.
  4. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7f2LZK3zsY
  5. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3J0iwwsq-w
  6. ^ https://twitter.com/starryguys/status/1114612236796944384
  7. ^ "The Ramones - Chart history: Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  8. ^ "New Rock" (PDF). Radio & Records. Retrieved May 21, 2018.