The Ritz (rock club)

Coordinates: 40°43′54″N 73°59′21″W / 40.73175°N 73.98912°W / 40.73175; -73.98912
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The Ritz was a New York City rock club in the 1980s and early 1990s.


The Ritz was founded in 1980 by Jerry Brandt in the historic Webster Hall ballroom and concert space on 11th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues in the East Village neighborhood of New York City. The address was 119 East 11th Street. The Ritz focused primarily on live performances, often of newer acts, but also featured dancing. The Ritz was one of the first clubs to incorporate video screens into the club experience with a 30' screen and a projector which cost $120,000. MTV made its debut at The Ritz. In April 1989, The Ritz moved to the site of the former Studio 54 on 254 West 54th Street, where it was called "The New Ritz" and continued to host concerts for several years.[1] From 1990 onward it reverted to the name "The Ritz". The original 11th Street space reverted to the name Webster Hall after The Ritz relocated.

MTV's "Live at The Ritz"[edit]

MTV aired a series of concerts called "Live at The Ritz" on Saturday nights in the 1980s. Performers included Guns N' Roses, Gene Loves Jezebel, the Saints, the Cult, Nik Kershaw, the Smithereens, Oingo Boingo, Julian Cope, Great White, Hoodoo Gurus, White Lion, Iggy Pop, Eurogliders, Blancmange,[2] and Simon Townshend.

Public Image Limited appearance[edit]

The club received national attention after an antagonistic performance by Public Image Limited on May 15, 1981.[3] They were a late substitution for Bow Wow Wow, who were originally scheduled to perform.[3] The band was more interested in creating performance art than giving a traditional concert; to this end, they appeared onstage deliberately obscured by a projection screen and played their records through the club's public address system while playing entirely different music onstage.[3] Taunted by lead singer John Lydon (formerly of the Sex Pistols), the Ritz's unhappy patrons rioted, throwing bottles and garbage cans, and pulling on the video screen that covered the front of the stage.[3][4][5]

Notable shows and recordings[edit]


  1. ^ "Minor Musings: The Ritz – NYC!". October 13, 2012.
  2. ^ Blancmange – Live at The Ritz 1985 – Taped from MTV on Betamax on YouTube
  3. ^ a b c d "New York, Ritz, USA, May 15th, 1981 (Review and Setlist)". Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  4. ^ Ed Caraballo's account of Pil @ The Ritz.
  5. ^ Rolling Stone review + other remiscensenses of Pil @ The Ritz.
  6. ^ "Official Misfits Discography". Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  7. ^ Sarzo, Rudy (2017). Off the Rails (third edition). CreateSpace Publishing. ISBN 1-53743-746-1
  8. ^ Pareles, Jon (November 28, 1987). "Pop: Bo Diddley Tour". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Venom – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik". Encyclopaedia Metallum. Retrieved September 14, 2011.
  10. ^ "A Look Back at Guns N' Roses' Legendary Live Show at the Ritz in '88". InsideHook. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  11. ^ "Kiss – The Ritz on fire (Broadcast 1988) – (Vinyl LP) – musik". – Musik – Film – Retro (in Swedish). Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  12. ^ Living Colour Rocks The Ritz. East Village Eye. December 1986. p 6.
  13. ^ McLennan, Scott (June 3, 2019). "David Bowie & I: Socks, Sax & Sex Shops". Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  14. ^ "Sepultura Tour Dates". Retrieved July 10, 2021.
  15. ^ Bradley, Torreano. "Live at Budokan Review". Retrieved March 16, 2023.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

40°43′54″N 73°59′21″W / 40.73175°N 73.98912°W / 40.73175; -73.98912