Recorded October 1976 in New York City at Sundragon Studios through Sire Records, Leave Home featured increased sound quality through more advanced output methods. Sire set their budget at about $10,000 hiring Tony Bongiovi to produce the album, and Tommy Ramone to co-produce. More emphasis was placed on the album’s mixing and engineering than their debut album, which received merely $6,400 to record and produce. With a more fine-tuned and exceptional sound, Leave Home also presented a production value superior to other punk rock bands at the time. Author Joe S. Harrington called the band’s production “brilliant”, and noted that it “put them ahead of the run-of-the-mill garage band.
The title Leave Home refers to the Ramones leaving New York City to go on tour around the world. The album cover was designed by Moshe Brakha, who had worked with the Rolling Stones to yield the Black and Blue (1976) cover art, and would later work with artists like Devo and Iron Maiden. The back cover of the album was a drawing of a bald eagle by graphic designer Arturo Vega. The image would soon become the band’s logo.