Simply put, Ron Asheton paved the way for the Ramones and then for everyone after. No Ron means no Ramones or Clash or Sex Pistols, no REM or U2 or Sonic Youth, no Nirvana, no who knows what else.
Iggy was the face of The Stooges, but Ron was the sound, that loud, chunky, aggressive Fender Strat that just always sounded so dirty and surly and cocksure. You might not know Ron Asheton’s name as well as those of Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, or Les Paul, but Rolling Stone ranked him higher than any of them in their 100 greatest guitarists.
In terms of sheer influence, he ranks much higher. Just listen to “Dirt” from the Fun House album (Jack White called it the greatest rock album of all time, and Henry Rollins said that everyone should own a copy), and you’ll know what the fuss is about.
He wasn’t a saint (though he was the only member of the band without a heroin problem). He wasn’t even a nice guy. But man, did he embody that sound — the sound of the biggest revolution in rock history coming just a few years down the road. Rest in peace.
– Michael Dunaway