Opened in 1973 by Hilly Kristal in Manhattan, New York, CBGB (originally standing for Country, Bluegrass and Blues), the venue soon became an iconic and famed venue of punk rock and new wave that championed the early days of such acts as Talking Heads, Ramones and Blondie to name a few.
From the 1980s onward, the venue was most well known for hardcore punk as live shows became a mainstay for the venue. The Damned played the club in April 1977, marking the first time a British punk band had ever played America. It became famed from appearances from Misfits, The B-52's, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts in addition to many others.
In 2005, the club was hit with a rent accusation, despite no formal claim that there was a demand in a rent increase. After a deliberation, the CBGB had plans to close and reposition themselves at Las Vegas, but founder Hilly Kristal died of lung cancer prior to this becoming a reality.
In the CBGB's last days, many punk bands booked shows there in hope to keep the venue alive. A New York promoter booked a string of shows in its last weeks by many of the band's the helped make it famous and kickstarted the careers of. The final show was headlined by Patti Smith, alongside Red Hot Chili Pepper's Flea and Television's Richard Lloyd.