Lists

Ten essential albums from the CBGB scene

It's easy to look at what's become of rock music over the last three and a half decades and find countless traces of the CBGB micro-culture and the fast-and-loud aesthetic it cultivated. During their now-legendary years at CBGB, bands like the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie and Patti Smith were disrespected weirdos that found a home in a filthy, drug-infested club in New York's Bowery district. They found the freedom to develop a look and sound that could finally distance itself from the peace and love generation and become it's own small but infectious underground movement.

Any band today that plays fast-tempo music with discordant, feedback drenched guitars, or heavily saturated noise-pop with synthesizers and drum machines most likely owes a debt to something that happened in this dive bar several decades ago. So we're taking a look back at the CBGB albums that made things happen, the ones that may have only shipped a few units in their time, but have gone on to unarguably shape the sights and sounds of music today.

See also: - Ten essential albums of the 1960s - Ten essential jazz albums if you know squat about jazz - Ten essential gangsta rap albums

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Josiah M. Hesse
Contact: Josiah M. Hesse