Joey Ramone

NEW YORK (AP) _ Singer Joey Ramone, the punk rock icon whose signature yelp melded with the Ramones' three-chord thrash to launch an explosion of bands like the Clash and the Sex Pistols, died Sunday of lymphoma. He was 49.

The Ramones _ its four members adopted the common last name after forming the band in 1974 _ came out of Queens, a motley collection of local losers with limited musical skills. Joey Ramone became the lead singer only after his drumming proved too rudimentary to keep up with his bandmates' thunderous riffs.

Since the band's demise in 1996, Ramone kept a fairly low profile _ occasionally popping up to perform or host shows at Manhattan clubs, making occasional radio show appearances and working on a solo album that was never released.