The infamous bar CBGB (full name CBGB & OMFUG) is the birthplace of punk rock and new wave! It’s a NYC icon where some of the pioneers of punk performed their first gigs. The club owner Hilly Kristal helped bands such as Ramones, Iggy and The Stooges, Bowie, and Dead Kennedys kick start their careers by giving them a stage where they could rock as hard as they want! CBGB was the rock mecca of New York and naturally due to its enormous impact and importance in punk history, most Americans are quite familiar with it. However, to many people outside America, the club and its significant role in the formation of the underground rock scene is almost unknown.

CBGB's The birthplace of punk - In the beginning, it was a biker bar, named Hilly’s on the Bowery. Overtimetime the owner started booking rock acts and by doing so, he changed the course of music history forever.

Originally, the idea of the club was to promote U.S. root music such as country, bluegrass, and blues music, along with poetry readings. But during the 70s, the bar began hosting shows by local punk rock legends, including Ramones, Blondie, Talking Head, Television, the Patti Smith Group, the Shirts, the Heartbreakers, the Fleshstones and many more. In addition, it also became the place where out-of-towners such as the Police and B-52’s made their New York debuts.

CBGB in the 70’s

When unsigned artists were having a hard time finding clubs that would allow them to perform their own original music, Hilly decided to allow some local promoters to bring their artists to the club, if they follow 2 rules – the bands had to move their own equipment by themselves, and they couldn’t play any cover songs.

In under a year, the club became a central figure in New York’s rock scene. Bands and fans were coming from every corner of the city to experience the raw energy and loud authenticity of punk rock music.

In the 80s, CBGB became the hardcore punk mecca of New York. Due to the aggressive nature of hardcore music, such concerts would almost always end up in violent “disagreements” and fights. Hilly Kristal had no choice but to end up those hardcore bookings. The club was closed in 2006 after a heavily disputed rent controversial. Now, the location of the club is occupied by John Varvatos fashions.

One year after CBGB was shuttered, Hilly Kristal died. The famous CBGB awning was given to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The entrance of CBGB the day it was closed
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