Historic NYC shop Manny’s Music Closes

by Kathy Davis on June 1, 2009

An article in the New York Times alerted us to the sad news that after 74 years, legendary New York City music store Manny’s closed down on May 31st.  As music fans, it’s sad to lose such an institution; as Pearl Jam fans, it matters to us since it’s the shop responsible for the birth of PJ influences, friends & mentors The Ramones. 

Johnny (Cummings) Ramone and Dee Dee (Colvin) Ramone visited the shop in January 1974 where John purchased his original white Mosrite Ventures II electric guitar for $54; Dee Dee bought a Danelectro bass (which he later smashed).   Johnny previously played bass in a band called the Tangerine Puppets and bought the Mosrite as he switched to electric guitar to play in The Ramones. The guitar was stolen in the 70′s, though John continued to use the brand throughout his career. 

About the closing:

 After 74 years, Manny’s — at the heart and soul of Music Row on West 48th Street — closed its doors for good on Sunday. The store will be converted by its owner, Sam Ash Music, into a giant Sam Ash guitar shop, and all of the photos will be taken off the walls and put in storage.

Manny Goldrich, who sold brass instruments in the early 1930s, opened the shop on West 48th Street, known as Music Row because of its proximity to Broadway, recording studios and the Brill Building, where many music publishers had offices.  The store hit its heyday in the 1960s, when British Invasion bands like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who made Manny’s a must-stop destination upon landing in America.

“It’s amazing how many people have shopped here; the Beatles bought their guitars here,” Irina Nazarenko, 44, a visitor from London, marveled on Sunday as her partner, Hauser Wolfgang, 59, bought a $3,500 electric guitar.

Before his death in 1968, Mr. Goldrich passed the store on to his son, Henry Goldrich, now 77. Ian Goldrich, Henry’s son, took over in the early 1990s, around the time that business slowed because of record labels investing less in new artists, several nearby recording studios closing, and more shoppers turning to catalogs and the Internet, he said.

Recently, artists like Neil Diamond, Eddie Vedder and Keith Urban have come to Manny’s for a final visit, Mr. Goldrich said.

This brief post on It’s Only Rock & Roll, a Rolling Stones discussion forum, details Ed’s visit to the shop:

I was in Manny’s music in NYC on Tuesday (April 7th) and ran into Eddie Vedder, he told me he was in Hawaii and did some work with Ronnie (Wood) for the (upcoming) album (More Good News).  I have met him before and he is very cordial and in my opinion a good guy.

We salute Manny’s and won’t forget the store’s place in musical history.

Kathy Davis ( Twitter: @CrookedArm23 )
A Bay-Area based entrepreneur, co-editor Kathy conceives and writes her share of TFT’s articles and sections. She was co-editor/co-founder of one of the first Pearl Jam fanzines "Footsteps" (1992-1997). Kathy’s first Pearl Jam show was at the Bridge School Benefit on November 1, 1992.

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