Published Aug 29, 2007Hilly Kristal, founder of legendary NYC punk venue CBGBs, has died of cancer at the age of 75.
Opening the bar as Hilly's On the Bowery in 1970, Kristal eventually changed the name to Country Blue grass and Blues & Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers and then to just CBGBs eventually.
The venue is remembered for launching the careers of everyone from Ramones and Blondie to Talking Heads and Television in the '70s, as well as Patti Smith, who played its final show last year on October 15.
For years Kristal fought to keep CBGBs open after the Bowery Residents' Committee fought to shut the club after discovering he owed them more than $300k in back rent.
Diagnosed with lung cancer in June of 2006, Kristal was planning on re-launching CBGBs in Las Vegas, to include some of the original fixtures, including the bar and urinals.
Ramones at CBGBs