CBGB Founder Hilly Kristal Dies

Hilly Kristal, who founded the legendary CBGB club, died Tuesday (Aug. 28) in New York at age 75 after battling lung cancer. Kristal opened the club in New York’s Bowery area in 1973 because of his love of acoustic music. The club’s name stood for country, bluegrass and blues, but it gained its ultimate reputation as a punk club following early performances by the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith and others. Still, country-oriented acts occasionally appeared at the tiny venue that might best be defined as a hole in the wall. When he and his band played a special show there in 2002, Alan Jackson wiped the sweat from his face and said, “Hey, Hilly, I’ll give you back the $200 for playing tonight if you turn on the air conditioning.”