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Vintage Photos Capturing CBGB’s 1970’s Punk Scene

Neil Patrick

The great legendary punk and new wave scene offered by famous New York club, CBGB. Since 1973, the club had featured famous bands such as Patti Smith, Blondie, Talking Heads and the closely associated band, Ramones. After 33 years in 2006, the club closed down due to rental issues. Patti Smith did a ceremonial punk goodbye of the club by wrecking havoc on the stage and room. It was a sad moment in history for this generation’s punk music enthusiasts. And a melancholic moment for those who had spent most of their years enjoying what the underground club had offered.

What has the world lost? Well, here are some amazing photos that give us a glimpse of what the 70’s punk scene was like in the halls of CBGB.

A view from across Bowery Street showing the usual crowd of the “dark incubator” (1977). [Via]

Hilly Kristal, the famous owner of the club in one of his candid pictures during daytime in Manhattan, 1976. [Via]

The crowd brings down the house with legendary parties at the CBGB. [Via]

Lester Bangs documents the parties going on at the famous CBGB (1977) [Via]

Legs McNeil, one of the founders of Punk Magazine, taking a moment to pose for a picture at the club’s entrance (1977). [Via]

Punk Sex Girls linger invitingly at the back steps of the famous punk club, CBGB (1977).  [Via]

The band Ramones was one of the frequent players at the club. Here is one of their photographs sometime in 1976. Left to right: Tommy Ramone, Johnny Ramone, Joey Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone. [Via]

Ramones, as featured by Godlis. “The Ramones were my favorite band to photograph,” Godlis said. “A wave of sound and a thrust of energy in that very small club. This is the view from the side of the stage, barely a couple of feet off the ground. I was trying to shoot the band and the audience at the same time.” [Via]

The Ramones with their spectacular and electrifying performance— a big band in a small room of CBGB’s in NYC, 1977.  [Via]

Outside CBGB, Danny Fields, Arturo Vega, Joey Ramone, David Johansen & Friends enjoy a break from the crowded interior of the club. (1977) [Via]

The Talking Heads was another famous band that played at the CBGB. (1977) [Via]

Arturo Vega of Ramones, Chris Stein of Blondie and Debbie Harry in a casual pose during a benefit gig for Dead Boys’ Johnny Blitz. (1978) [Via]

The Cramps’ Lux Interior featured in one of the band’s performance in 1977. The club was not just famous for punk and new wave. It was known in the 80’s for being a haven of hardcore. Remember Youth of Today, Agnostic Front and Gorilla Biscuit?[Via]

Blondie in one of her famous dramatic performance.[Via]

Blondie performs at a benefit show of Punk Magazine held in CBGB. This photograph was taken in 1977. [Via]

Big names that frequent the club include, David Johansen, Lenny Kaye, Dee Dee Ramone and Andy Paley. Imagine what it felt like to have these guys in one room. (1977) [Via]

Pat Ivers of Metropolis Video documents the club scene with Orchestra Luna in 1975. [Via]

Group members of the band The Cramps loiter outside the club. (1977) [Via]

Patti Smith arriving at the club when the club opened. 1976  [Via]

 Patti Smith was one of the influential bands that loved to perform at CBGB in the 70’s. [Via]

A live electrifying performance during the Divine and Dead Boys – Blitz Benefit, 1978. [Via]


Neil Patrick

Neil Patrick is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News