10 Remarkable Punk Bands on the 50th Anniversary of CBGB

Posted on December 8, 2023

by Eric S

Celebrated as one of the greatest, most influential hubs of punk rock in the United States, CBGB has gained an almost mythical status that has made it so much more than a mere music venue to fans over the past 50 years. Opened on December 10th, 1973, on the Bowery in Manhattan by Hilly Kristal, CBGB was originally intended for country, bluegrass, and blues acts, but the venue would quickly become the site of the earliest shows by some of punk and new wave’s most important bands, including The Ramones, The Talking Heads, Patti Smith, and Blondie. In the ‘80s, CBGB embraced New York’s hardcore scene, featuring groups like The Misfits, Gorilla Biscuits, Reagan Youth, and The Beastie Boys. Sadly, the venue would shut down in 2006, and is currently occupied by a high-end fashion retailer—much to the dismay of punks everywhere. Although CBGB will likely never return to its former glory, it remains a significant touchstone for disaffected youth…or the disaffected in general. To me, the legacy of CBGB is its history of showcasing a diversity of music that deviated from mainstream tastes at the time—especially in the early years. So, on its 50th anniversary, what better way to celebrate CBGB than listening to the bands that, along with the venue itself, helped define a major period of rock music?

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