The Ramones remembered what the pretentious shit contigent wishes to forget--that rock music is pop music, that it's fun... To uptight, small-minded people, their social/ sexual/ sexist/ racial/ class distinctions weigh so heavily that they have no imagination. Listening to the Ramones is like the first time you listen to someone's collection who likes music and doesn't worry about what other people think.
They were in so many ways a gift to those who came afterwards, a way to give the finger to the Boomers and their attempts to own everything, even claim ownership over the rebellion of rock music even as they began to vote Republican and buy minivans and give up every semblance of rebellion in themselves.
The Ramones get picked on by the haters because they play simple chords and poppy songs--no depth, at least in theory. But that's because people don't want to admit that they played like no one before and while everyone worth listening to since tries to capture it, they miss it. For all their legendary personal animosity, they are cohesive in a weird, hard to articulate, but beautiful way. No one before or since has held together noisiness the way they can; Dee Dee and Johnny could tease louder and crazier sounds out of each other without losing each other and hit highs that no one did before or since. They made shitty drumming sound good. They reimagined their instruments. To call them either good or bad is to miss the point entirely.
Nick Mamatas has a good photo here.