The Ramones’ Pet Sematary

The Ramones, Stephen King, Pet Sematary, Stephen King Films, Stephen King Movies, Stephen King Store
Stephen King is a huge rock and roll fan and he makes references to rock and roll songs in many of his books.

One of his favourite bands of all time is the Ramones, the New York punk band that is often said to have been the band that invented the punk rock sound.

If you were to ask anyone to name a Ramones song they would probably answer "Rock 'n' Roll High School", “Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," or “Blitzkrieg Bop".

However, one of the Ramones' biggest hits was Pet Sematary.






The Ramones' Pet Sematary was the rather unlikely crossover between punk and horror, which the Ramones recorded especially to accompany the closing credits of the 1989 film adaptation of Stephen King's Pet Sematary.



Pet Sematary is one of Stephen King’s darkest and most disturbing novels. It is the one book that Stephen King says even scared him and, for a long while, the author was reluctant to publish the work because the topic was so dark. The novel deals with the death of a young child, the difficulties of dealing with grief, and the horror of what might happen if you could, and you did, bring a dead child back from the dead.

Lines from The Ramone’s “Blitzkrieg Bop" are quoted in the novel and, in the film adaptation of Pet Sematary, which Stephen King wrote the screenplay for, Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" appears in one scene. The real coup for big Ramones fan King, though, must have been the Ramones writing and performing a song for the closing credits of the film.

However, the story of just how the Ramones came to record a song for the Pet Sematary film seems to vary according to who tells the tale. 

Pet Sematary was directed by Mary Lambert, who was better known at the time for directing music videos for the likes of Madonna, Mötley Crüe, and Debbie Harry. Mary Lambert already knew the Ramones through her contacts in the music business and some people say that it was Lambert who approached the band with the idea of recording a song for the film when she discovered that the Ramones were Stephen King’s favourite band.

On the other hand, a much more appealing story is that the idea for the Ramones recording of Pet Sematary came about after a Meeting between the horror author and the punk band. Stephen King did meet the Ramones when he invited the band to play a concert in Bangor.

According to Marky Ramone's 2014 memoir; Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone, the band visited Stephen King’s home in Bangor. He says that the catalyst for the song was when Stephen King gave Dee Dee Ramone a copy of his Pet Sematary novel. Marky Ramone also says that was on the same day that Dee Dee made the announcement that he was leaving the Ramones.

Stephen King tells the story slightly differently. He says that the band never came to his house at all, but that they ate lunch in a Bangor restaurant. He’s not even sure of Pet Sematary was discussed at all, but he does think that something may have been said about a song.

Despite the fact that it is a song that many Ramone’s fans would rather not mention, it was one of the band’s biggest hits. It may not have had the punk credibility of other Ramone’s tracks, but Pet Sematary reached number four on the Billboard 'Modern Rock Tracks' list.

Whatever the truth is about how the Ramone’s Pet Sematary came to be, it does seem quite apt that the legends of American punk and the King of modern horror should have collaborated in some fashion. It’s not the band’s best song, by a long way, and it’s not the best film adaptation of Stephen King’s work either, but the story of the Ramone’s Pet Sematary does make for a great bit of rock and roll legend.


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