Image Courtesy Interscope RecordsFamily and friends of Joey Ramone have nothing but kind words for U2, who honored the late singer with the song “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone),” the lead single from the band’s just-released album, Songs of Innocence.

“I’m not sure grateful is the right word, but awestruck is a better description,” Ramone’s brother, Mickey Leigh, told MTV News.

“It’s so beautiful. I loved it. It’s Bono‘s interpretation and his spirit, but it also captures Joey’s spirit,” he said. “He described my brother’s spirit well. I think he got just what Joey would have wanted out of it.”

Longtime Ramones drummer Marky Ramone felt the late singer would have been “honored” by the song, which never mentions his name, but tells the story of how Bono and the boys sneaked in to see the band in their teens in what was a life-changing event in their musical lives.

Former D-Generation singer Jesse Malin, who became a close friend of The Ramones when the band took D-Gen out on tour, recalled the time the punk rocker called him out of a recording session and invited him to go see U2 at their appearance on Saturday Night Live in 2000.

“The thing I respect about U2 beyond this song is how they’re giving a shout-out to Joey as their inspiration,” he said. “They’re not on a bandwagon of ‘now we’ll be into the Ramones because they’re dead.’ He [Joey] got to feel the love and respect from them and this song is coming from truly the right place and I totally back it after seeing how they were with him.”

Ramone passed away on April 15, 2001 of lymphoma at the age of 49; the last song he heard in the hospital was U2’s “In a Little While.”

U2 paid their respects to the singer three days later during a show in San Diego, performing The Ramones’ “I Remember You” and their own “Walk On” in his memory.

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