This timeline is intended to provide a quick overview of the history of punk in Chicago.
This timeline should be limited to Chicago bands, clubs, publications, and so on. The only exceptions are a few "milestone" events that have been included in italics to provide wider context.
This Timeline should not grow to the point where it is too long to be an overview. Please only list one or two significant events for any given entity. Events involving other bands coming to Chicago, or other activities where Chicagoans are not the lead characters, should not be listed here. They can, however, be included on the specific page for that year.
Please add events to the timeline in chronological order with exact dates where possible. Try to limit your entries to a single line. Footnotes should be added where facts are in dispute or indisputable sources are available. Also include links to web sources as part of the footnote if available.
Where a part of a date is not known please indicate that with "??". Unknown dates are listed after known dates. Where an exact month isn't known the season can be used instead using a two letter code.
SP = Spring, SU = Summer, FL = Fall, WN = Winter. Example: summer of 1981 where exact date is not known = SU/??/81
- 03/22/70 - Robb Baker interviews Ed Sanders (x-Fugs) in the Chicago Tribune. Ed Sanders described his 1969 solo album, Sanders' Truckstop as "punk rock", possibly the first published mention of the term.
- 07/27/73 - New York Dolls record and release "New York Dolls."
- 03/31/74 - Punk at CBGB's begins with Television's first performance there. (4)"
- 02/??/76 - Skafish begins performing in Chicago.
- 04/23/76 - Ramones release first album, tour London later in July spawning British Punk. (6) (7)
- 05/05/77 - La Mere Vipere opens. The first punk discothèque in the whole wide world. (1) (5)
- 06/21/77 - Ramones play B'Ginnings in Schaumburg with Skafish as warm-up. (9)
- 07/03/77 - First issue of Gabba Gabba Gazette. Chicago's first punk fanzine shared La Mere Viperes address. (8)
- 10/28/77 - Sex Pistols release first album "Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols."
- 11/28/77 - Wire releases first album "Pink Flag".
- ??/??/77 - The Greenleaf opens in Rogers Park as a gay bar that plays punk rock music at night.
- ??/??/77 - Silver Abuse forms.
- 03/??/78 - The Greenleaf is renamed Oz, creating the first of what will be 3 locations.
- 04/27/78 - La Mere Vipere burns down. (2)
- 06/??/78 - O'Banions opens. Along with Oz a focal point of early Chicago punk.
- 10/??/78 - NYC's Mudd Club opens inspired by Steve Mass's visit to La Mere Vipere. (5)"
- 11/25/78 - Wax Trax Records opens.
- 04/27/79 - Patti Smith releases last album ("Wave") before retiring with husband ex-MC5 guitar player Fred "Sonic" Smith
- 07/12/79 - Disco Demolition Night takes place at Comiskey Park.
- ??/??/79 - The Space Place opens. An important practice space with inexpensive all-ages shows.
- ??/??/79 - Neo opens. It still survives as Chicago's longest running punk/new wave/goth/alternative night club.
- 04/??/80 - Club 950 Lucky Number, aka "Club 950" and "the Lucky Number", opens.
- 05/18/80 - Ian Curtis of Joy Division hangs himself.
- 06/21/80 - Naked Raygun (as Negro Commando) plays their first show at 222 S. Morgan St. (3)
- 06/??/80 - The Wayouts form.
- 08/08/80 - Oz relocates to second location on Hubbard Street near O'Banions. (10)
- 11/9/80 - the Effigies play their first show at Oz.
- 12/8/80 - First issue of Coolest Retard is published. THE premier Chicago punk fanzine. (8)
- 12/31/80 - The Wayouts play their farewell gig at Oz.
- 02/??/81 - Oz relocates to third location on Broadway.
- 03/11/81 - "Busted at Oz" live recording sessions completed.
- 05/09/81 - Oz closes final third location.
- 05/??/81 - Da releases "Dark Rooms / White Castles" single on Autumn Records
- 10/??/81 - Bad Brains finish recording first album "Bad Brains" for a RIOR cassette-only release
- ??/??/81 - Wax Trax Records releases Strike Under's "Immediate Action."
- ??/??/81 - Articles of Faith forms.
- ??/??/81 - The original Exit on Wells street opens in the former location of Wizards.
- 02/03/82 - O'Banions closes.
- 12/??/82 - Big Black releases its first EP "Lungs."
- ??/??/82 - Space Place closes.
- ??/??/82 - First issue of Bullshit Detector is published.
- 01/??/83 - Matter publishes its first issue.
- 07/02/83 - Both Breaking Circus and Silent Language debut at the Cubby Bear
- 08/23/83 Minor Threat plays their last show
- ??/??/83 - Silver Abuse breaks up.
- ??/??/83 - Second (final) issue of Bullshit Detector is published.
- 03/??/84 - Silent Language breaks up.
- 07/??/84 - The Crass play their final gig at a benefit for striking miners in England
- ??/??/84 - The Effigies release their first LP "For Ever Grounded" after earlier EPs and a single.
- 07/??/85 - Articles of Faith play their final show at the Cubby Bear.
- ??/??/86 - Touch and Go Records relocates to Chicago.
- ??/??/86 - Dreamerz (aka Club Dreamerz) opens in Wicker Park.
- 07/07/87 - Hüsker Dü release their last studio album "Warehouse: Songs and Stories"
- ??/??/87 - Big Black breaks up.
- ??/??/88 - Breaking Circus breaks up.
- ??/??/99 - Rapeman forms.
- ??/??/90 - Pegboy forms.
- ??/??/90 - Rapeman breaks up.
- 05/??/92 - Naked Raygun breaks up.
- ??/??/92 - Shellac forms.
- ??/??/92 - Exit closes its Wells Street location.
- ??/??/93 - Dreamerz closes.
- 12/??/00 - The original Club 950 Lucky Number closes.
- ??/??/00 - Pegboy disbands, but later has various reunions.
- 12/01/12 - The Fugs return to Chicago after a 44 year absence playing a show at City Winery.
- (1) Date according to Gantry.
- (2) Date according to Gantry.
- (3) Liner notes to the Basement Screams reissue
- (4) According to Wikipedia 
- (5) According to Monica Lynch. Article calls LMV "first punk disco in the country". 
- (6) Ramones hisory page in Finland 
- (7) Ramones meet the Clash in 1976 
- (8) Coolest Retard date based on unnumbered issue in the Dementlieu archive. Also note information about the Gabba Gabba Gazette. 
- (9) Deduced from information in Gabba Gabba Gazette #3 and Ramones: An American Band
- (10) Date recorded in Marie Kanger-Born's date book.