The Ritz on East 11th Street opened in 1980, and had a nine-year run until its closing in 1989. U2 performed for the first time in the States at the Ritz on December 6, 1980; MTV taped its debut show there in 1981.  Public Enemy caused a riot in 1981 when lead singer John Lydon (former of the Sex Pistols) and the others in the group performed behind a screen that showed a video of them playing a different song. Run-DMC taped a concert there in 1984 for MTV, and Sting made his debut as a solo artist (when he left The Police) at the Ritz in 1985. Talking Heads gave their final live performance there in 1989. The nightclub hosted a lot of hot new (at the time) acts, from Sonic Youth  to Great White, Soundgarden, Ministry, and Guns N’ Roses.


Leslie Wells has edited forty-nine New York Times bestsellers in her thirty-year publishing career. She is the author of Come Dancing, a novel about publishing and rock and roll set in New York City in the 1980s. Visit her at www.lesliewellsbooks.com

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