Music
2.2k voters

The Best Bands That Got Their Start at CBGB

Updated June 6, 2021 11.4k votes 2.2k voters 96.2k views56 items

List RulesBands that achieved mainstream popularity after they played CBGB; mostly bands who played there in the '70s and '80s

List of bands that got their start at CBGB--70s punk bands that became famous by playing at CBGB in NYC. CBGB was a legendary music club located at 315 Bowery at Bleecker Street in Manhattan. While it was originally intended by its founder, Hilly Kristal, to feature Country, Bluegrass and Blues (hence the name CBGB), it became a forum for American punk and New Wave bands that launched the careers of some of the most famous musicians of our time.

A new film that shares the club's namesake, CBGB, follows the story of Hilly Kristal’s New York club from its conceit to what it ultimately became: the birthplace of underground rock ‘n roll and punk.

Kristal had one demand of the acts he booked; they could only play original music. No top 40′s, no covers. It was the credo he lived by, support the artist at whatever the cost. Hilly Kristal ironically became known as the godfather of punk giving a chance to such bands as Blondie, Television, Ramones, Talking Heads, Dead Boys and The Police.

For more information about the film, visit: CBGB Film.
Photo:
...more
  • 1
    764
    128

    Talking Heads

    Stop Making Sense, Remain in Light
  • 2
    829
    148

    Ramones

    Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 3
    647
    104

    Blondie

    Parallel Lines, Heart of Glass
  • 4
    584
    157

    The Police

    Synchronicity, Ghost in the Machine
    The band played its first two North American shows at the legendary venue on October 20 and 21, 1978
  • 5
    428
    108

    Patti Smith Group

    Easter, Radio Ethiopia
  • 6
    360
    101

    Television

    Marquee Moon, Television
  • 7
    306
    77

    The B-52's

    The B-52’s, Wild Planet
  • 8
    380
    114

    Misfits

    Legacy of Brutality, Famous Monsters
    First two shows were at CBGBs
  • 9
    233
    47

    Violent Femmes

    Violent Femmes, Add It Up (1981–1993)
  • 10
    447
    146

    Beastie Boys

    Paul's Boutique, Licensed to Ill
  • 11
    232
    70

    The Cramps

    Stay Sick!, Smell of Female
  • 12
    197
    59

    The Runaways

    Queens of Noise, Live in Japan
  • 13
    210
    68
  • 14
    253
    103

    The Dead Boys

    All This and More, Night of the Living Dead Boys
  • 15
    167
    60

    Richard Hell & The Voidoids

    Destiny Street, Funhunt: Live at CBGB's & Max's
  • 16
    106
    31

    Bad Brains

    God of Love, I Against I
  • 17
    118
    45

    Youth of Today

    Break Down the Walls, We're Not in This Alone
  • 18
    88
    26

    White Zombie

    La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1
  • 19
    140
    71

    Johnny Thunders

    So Alone, Hurt Me
    Solo career, not his time with the New York Dolls
  • 20
    127
    62

    Richard Hell

    Destiny Street, Time
  • 21
    86
    30

    Plasmatics

    Coup d'État, Maggots: The Record
  • 22
    95
    40

    U.S. Chaos

    Complete Chaos
  • 23
    107
    55

    Suicide

    Suicide, Suicide: Alan Vega and Martin Rev
  • 24
    74
    27

    The Waitresses

    The Best of The Waitresses, Just Desserts: The Complete Waitresses
  • 25
    44
    2

    Devo

    Freedom of Choice, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!