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Archive for the ‘Club Owner’ Category

Died On This Date (August 28, 2007) Hilly Kristal / Owned CBGB’s

Posted by themusicsover on August 28, 2010

Hilly Kristal
September 23, 1931 – August 28, 2007

Hilly with Little Steven

Hilly Kristal with Little Steven

Opened in 1973, Hilly Kristal’s CBGB became the epicenter of the punk and new wave movement thanks to his early bookings of such acts as Blondie, Talking Heads, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Television and the Ramones.  After moving to New York City after serving in the Marines, Kristal became manager of the storied Village Vanguard jazz club where he booked such acts as Miles Davis.  In 1968, he co-founded the Central Park’s Schaefer Music Festival which, over the next decade, hosted the likes of the Who, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, the Doors and Aerosmith.  In 1973, he opened CBGB – OMFUG, which stood for  “Country, BlueGrass, Blues and Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers.”  He closed the club during a much publicized rent dispute in 2006.  Hilly Kristal died of lung cancer at the age of 75.


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Died On This Date (August 14, 2005) Esther Wong / The Godmother Of Punk; Owned Madame Wong’s in L.A.

Posted by themusicsover on August 14, 2010

Esther Wong
August 13, 1917 – August 14, 2005

Esther Wong was a Chinese immigrant who landed in Los Angeles in 1949.  By the mid ’70s, Wong and her husband were running Chinese restaurant that presented a Polynesian floor show in L.A.’s Chinatown.  When business started to slow down by the end of the decade, Wong reluctantly allowed a local promoter to start booking local punk bands on her stage.  At the time, most of the city’s venues were banning such acts.  The promoter and Wong soon parted company and Wong started bringing music she enjoyed – the more pop leaning new wave.  In 1985, the club was seriously damaged in a fire and within a few years, Wong opened Madame Wong’s West in Santa Monica where she continued building her reputation as the “Godmother of Punk.”  The list of acts that played Madam Wong’s during their early years includes Guns ‘N Roses, Black Flag, Blondie, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Oingo Boingo, Fear, the Ramones, the Go-Gos, and the Police.  Esther Wong died of emphysema on August 14, 2005, the day after her 88th birthday.



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Died On This Date (August 13, 2009) Sherwood Cryer / Owned Gilley’s Honky Tonk

Posted by themusicsover on August 13, 2010

Charley Sherwood Cryer
September 2, 1926 – August 13, 2009

Photo by Christopher Gray

Photo by Christopher Gray

Along with partner Mickey Gilley, Sherwood Cryer owned the Pasadena, Texas honky-tonk, Gilley’s which became world-renowned thanks to the hit 1980 film Urban Cowboy, starring John Travolta and Debra Winger.  Cryer discovered Gilley performing in a local club and convinced him to open up the club in 1971.  With Gilley on stage, cold Lone Star beer, and several mechanical bulls, the club helped launch a pop-culture phenomenon that was second only to disco less than a decade earlier.  During its heyday, the bar’s stage featured some of the biggest names in country music.  Gilley, himself becoming one of those stars, thanks in part to Cryer’s business savvy.  When the Urban Cowboy filmmakers wanted to recreate the bar on a sound stage, it was Cryer who convinced them to film the now-famous scenes right there in the club.   After the movie’s release, Gilley’s became one of the biggest tourist attractions in Texas.  Unfortunately, the club’s new popularity drove away the regulars, and eventually caused the break-up of Cryer and Gilley’s partnership and the closure of the bar.   The building burned down in 1989 in what was ruled arson.  Sherwood Cryer passed away at the age of 81.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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Died On This Date (August 12, 2009) Rashied Ali / Drummer Who Played With John Coltrane

Posted by themusicsover on August 12, 2010

Rashied Ali (Born Robert Patterson)
July 1, 1935 – August 12, 2009

rashied-aliBorn into a musical family, jazz drummer Rashied Ali began to come into his own after moving to New York City in his late 20s.  Within a short time, he was playing behind the likes of James Blood Ulmer, Pharoah Sanders, and eventually John Coltrane.  He played on Coltrane’s final recordings.  Ali went on to become one of world’s highest regarded avant garde jazz musicians.    During the ’70s he opened a Ali’s Alley, a popular jazz club in New York while continuing to play with the likes of Don Cherry and  Bill Laswell.  Ali continued to play and record up until his passing on August 12, 2009.  He died after a heart attack during heart surgery.

Thanks to reader James Dean for the assist



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Died On This Date (August 10, 2007) Tony Wilson / Co-founded Factory Records

Posted by themusicsover on August 10, 2010

Tony Wilson
February 20, 1950 – August 10, 2007

tony_wilsonA man of many hats, Tony Wilson is best remembered as co-owner of Factory Records, home the one-time home of Joy Division, New Order and OMD.  He also owned The Hacienda, which became  the epicenter of the Manchester music scene of the late ’80s and early ’90s.   Before his foray into music, Wilson was a journalist and BBC television peronaility, most notably hosting So It Goes and After Dark.  Suffering from advance stages of renal cancer, Wilson, age 57,  died of a heart attack in a Manchester hospital.


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