Tributes pour in after death of punk club founder

  • 31 August 2007

Musical heavyweights have paid their tributes to Hilly Kristal, the founder of New York punk club CBGB, who died after battling lung cancer for more than a year.

Blondie singer Debbie Harry said: “I am very sorry that Hilly is gone. He was a big help to Blondie and to the New York music scene for many years. His club CBGB’s has become a part of New York lore and rock n’ roll history.”

The club was founded in 1973 and is credited for discovering Patti Smith and the Ramones, but the venue lost its lease last year over a rent dispute.

E street guitarist Steven Van Zandt, who campaigned against the closure of the club, did not mince his words. “There would be no Ramones without Hilly Kristal. And who would want to live in a world without them? He loved this city and in the end, the city spit in his face.”

He added: “CBGB was a tragic loss New York will never recover from and maybe its better Hilly doesn’t have to watch the town that invented personality slowly turn into the Mall of America.”

A private memorial service is planned for Kristal, with a public service expected at some point in the future.

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