The Mudd Club was a SoHo nightclub that was opened in October 1978 by publisher Steve Mass, art curator Diego Cortez and singer Anya Phillips. The Mudd Club was located at 77 White Street in downtown Manhattan, New York and quickly became a major fixture in the city's underground music and counterculture scene. It was named after Samuel Alexander Mudd, a doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln's assassination.
In order to secure the space for the Mudd Club (a loft owned by artist Ross Bleckner), Steve Mass described the future venue as cabaret. Mass claims to have started the nightclub on a budget of only $15,000.
The Mudd Club acquired a chic, often elitist reputation and was frequented by many of Manhattan's up-and-coming cult celebrities. Individuals associated with the venue included Jean-Michel Basquiat, David Byrne, Lydia Lunch, Klaus Nomi. The Ramones mentioned it in the song The Return of Jackie and Judy and Frank Zappa poked fun at it with a song titled after the club that appeared on his albums You Are What You Is and Thing Fish. It is also mentioned by the Talking Heads in their 1979 song, Life During Wartime, released as a single and on the album Fear of Music, and co-written by David Byrne.