Hilly Kristal

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Hilly Kristal (1992)

Hillel "Hilly" Kristal (born September 23, 1931 in Manhattan , New York City , † August 28, 2007 there ) was an American club owner and musician. He owned the legendary New York club CBGB , which became the nucleus of American punk and new wave from 1974 .

life and work

Hillel Kristal - named after the historical rabbi Hillel - was born in Manhattan in 1931 as the successor to Jewish-Russian US immigrants. However, he and his family moved to New Jersey's rural Hightstown , also known as Jersey Homestead , a Jewish settlement project when he was still a child . Starting with his school enrollment, he learned to play the violin . He studied music at a young age and eventually attended the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia . He also worked for the Marines for a while , where he worked as a DJ, among other things. At the age of eighteen he moved to New York, where he played in a number of bands in the 1950s and 1960s and made his living as a singer. Among other things, some appearances in the Radio City Music Hall are recorded. He later became the manager of the legendary jazz club Village Vanguard , where he organized, among other things, a performance by Miles Davis .

Opened in 1970 Kristal in the street Bowery in downtown Manhattan, a bar that he Hilly's on the Bowery called. In 1973 he changed the name to CBGB & OMFUG , an abbreviation ( acronym ) for the music styles he wanted to see played there: " Country , Bluegrass , Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers" . The club became known as the nucleus of punk and new wave and spawned artists such as the Ramones , Talking Heads , Patti Smith , Television and Blondie .

The club closed in October 2006 after the rent was to be increased significantly. Many well-known musicians have performed here over the years, and the CBGB remained very popular among music fans from all over the world and tourists until it was closed, although it had lost its cultural relevance as the nucleus of innovative music in the early 1980s. After it closed, Kristal considered reopening the club in Las Vegas for a while .

Kristal died of lung cancer on August 28, 2007 . He left behind two children: Mark Dana Kristal and Lisa Kristal Burgman.


  • CBGB & OMFUG. Thirty Years from the Home of Underground Rock . Extensive, documentary photo book with foreword by Hilly Kristal and afterword by David Byrne (English). Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York 2005, ISBN 0-8109-5786-8
  • The Fiddler on the Bowery - Hilly Kristal sets up a DIY CBGB OMFUG . Biographical chapter in: Steven Lee Beeber: The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB's - A Secret History of Jewish Punk (English), pp. 77–86. Chicago Review Press, Chicago 2006. ISBN 978-1-55652-761-6

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Monte Melnick, Frank Meyer: On the Road with the Ramones (English),
    p. 51 ff., P. 282. Sanctuary Publishing Ltd., London 2003. ISBN 1-86074-514-8
  2. a b Beeber: The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s , p. 78 ff.

Web links