The club really got underway in 1974/5, building on its combination of original music and serious sociability. Mike Thorne’s involvement started in 1977, but he had already built up a serious collection of recordings bought in London and during previous reconnaissance trips to New York. This is a selection from them, connected with his personal reminiscences.
Some scenes are fun when you look back on them, but the music doesn’t always last or continue to convey a message. And, of course, music can still emerge healthily from non-social backgrounds. CBGB & OMFUG had it all. Even more unlikely, given the volatile and changing mix of music, it lasted nearly 33 years, far longer than most others in its flexible genre.
Arguably, the period from 1975 to 1982 was the club’s glory days, when it hadn’t been granted establishment status and was consistently surprising and unexpected. It was a musical hothouse. Although it would experience some periodic declines, it also had subsequent periods of prominence until its final closure, at which point it had for many years been a favored showcase venue, especially with the folding of other such clubs like the Bottom Line.
Here are a set of musical reminiscences mostly from that first burst of glory days. We hope to post one set per month, in an order trying to contrast musicians’ contributions rather than to group them into similar styles. Then and now, the only consistency was their difference, as original aspirants tried to stand out and find something new.
We provide mostly full-length streaming audio and a link to the music on Amazon if available. There, you can check out further details and purchase if you get over-excited. We don’t offer file downloads, since the music mostly isn’t ours to distribute. In most cases, single-song downloads are available at Amazon.com.
CBGB at the Stereo Society (selected links)
To the CBGB home page (all links)
To the 1987 interview with Hilly Kristal
To the interview with lighting manager Cosmo Ohms
To the interview with sound manager and booking agent Charlie Martin
To the interview with long-time front of house BG Hacker
To the interview with CBGB mainstays Tish and Snooky
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