Weekly Playlist: Best of CBGB


At this point I’m fairly certain that anyone who has ever read my blog knows just how much I adore the mid-seventies New York City music scene, especially CBGB. I’ve read dozens of novels about the era, the bands who graced the stage of the club, the magazines who reviewed the shows, and the famously disgusting bathroom. I’ve watched countless performances by musicians who made CBGB into a destination for punk and new wave music, and I’ve spent hours and hours imagining how it would have felt to have been part of that. The images I have of that world are so vivid that I can almost feel myself trying desperately to get a word in with Patti Smith – probably something about Arthur Rimbaud or Sylvia Plath – or standing front row at a Voidoids show fawning over Richard Hell. Without being cliché and moaning about being born in the wrong era, I’m just going to say that I wish I could have lived through such a pivotal point in music history.

Music that came out of CBGB probably makes up at least fifty percent of what I listen to. Talking Heads are an obvious go-to, I listen to one Blondie song or another at least once a day, Patti Smith means the world to me, and Richard Hell & The Voidoids are the masterminds behind “Blank Generation,” which is arguably one of the best tracks ever created. The list of seventies New York bands that I love with my whole heart is bottomless, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I could go on forever about all the weird, kind of messed-up magic and badass-ness of CBGB, and I often feel like I know more about the musicians who played there than I know about myself.  Rather than spend ages (and ages and ages) talking about the history that was made at a little club on the Bowery or the bands who crafted the very first ideologies of punk, I figured it was easier to just make a playlist. So here we are. Most of the time it’s easier to let the music itself do the talking, am I right?


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