Paul Morrissey, Andy Warhol, Janis Joplin, and Tim Buckley holding court
at Max’s Kansas City — a home for the art crowd — in 1968.
The Ramones played their earliest shows at CBGB. “They were all wearing
these black leather jackets. And they counted off this song. And they
started playing different songs, and it was just this wall of noise…
They looked so striking. These guys were not hippies. This was something
completely new,” music journalist Legs McNeil said of
the group’s first show there. In 1977, they returned to the stage
(pictured) — as did a number of now famous punk bands who first got
their start there.
The experimental, psychedelic nightclub hosted bands (popularly, The
Velvet Underground) between 1967 and 1971. “Like Woodstock, if you
remembered much of what happened at the E.C. you weren’t really there.” The club was recently referenced on an episode of Mad Men.
Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and John Lennon were just a few of the
notable acts who shared the stage with Jim Morrison (pictured, in 1968)
at the iconic rock music venue.
Coney Island High
It was short-lived, but Coney Island High became a 1990′s hotspot for punk bands. Sublime played their first New York City show there and as the club’s rep grew, larger acts like Iggy Pop and The Misfits graced the stage.
Madonna’s career blossomed at Danceteria, also a hangout for New Order, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Run-DMC.
Linda Stein, who helped launch The Ramones’ career, is pictured (top) at
the Mudd Club with Joey Ramone, David Bowie, and Dee Dee Ramone after a
Ramones show in 1979. Then up-and-coming artists like Lou Reed, Klaus
Nomi, and Jean-Michel Basquiat became regulars at the no wave and new
Photo credit: Peter Cunningham
Photo credit: Peter Cunningham
Greenwich Village club the Bottom Line hosted an eclectic group of
performers during the 1970s and ‘80s. “It’s been essentially my living
room. I was very comfortable on that stage. I never really had to think
before I walked out; it came naturally to me,” New York Dolls singer
David Johansen said of the club when it closed in 2004.
Photo credit: Pennie Smith
The massive concert hall made music history on several occasions — like
the time The Clash’s Paul Simonon smashed his guitar on stage in 1979
(below) and the photo became the band’s famous cover image for theirLondon Calling LP.
Photo credit: Tina Paul
The Limelight was club kid central where the likes of Disco Bloodbathauthor James St. James, whose book was adapted for the film Party Monster, and designer Richie Rich loved to hang out (both pictured).
Everyone from Tennessee Williams and Betty Ford, to Dolly Parton and
Grace Jones rubbed elbows at Studio 54. Diana Ross stormed the DJ booth
while Bianca Jagger made a grand entrance on a white horse. Anything
seemed possible, and you weren’t someone unless you were there.
“Paradise Garage (1977-1988)
was a Manhattan nightclub for Gay men and their allies. It is
remembered as a mythic utopia for people whose spirituality is grounded
in the performance of communal Gay male folk’s dance, an iconic space in
the history of underground dance music, and the professional residency
of the legendary DJ, Larry Levan.”
DJs like Sasha, Paul van Dyk, Danny Tenaglia, and John Digweed ruled
Twilo, which helped popularize international house/trance in American
The “Rock Capitol of Brooklyn” was a mecca for hard rock/heavy metal
acts during the late 1980s and early ‘90s. Faith No More, Murphy’s Law,
Life of Agony (pictured), and other well-known bands played alongside
underground groups from across the country.
Photo credit: Catherine McGann
Tunnel was one of several venues shut down by mayor Rudy Giuliani’s
“quality of life” campaign, but it was a favorite spot for club kids,
celebrities, and DJs in the ‘90s. Tunnel even nabbed a spot in Bret
Easton Ellis’ novel American Psycho.