Manny’s Music, probably one of the most famous music stores in the United States, is closing it’s doors at the end of May. Located on West 48th, the store was the supplier of choice among Jazz and Rock’s most famous players. Dizzy Gillespie and Barney Kessel both shopped there and were good friends with the store’s owner Manny Goldrich. Later when the store was run by Manny’s son, Henry, everyone from The Beatles to Jimi Hendrix to The Who came to Manny’s to buy equipment and try out the latest gear.
Manny’s Music had been around nearly 75 years and over that time the store had amassed a gigantic collection of signed photographs of all the musicians who have shopped there over the years. The New Yorker recently ran an article about the store and the efforts of Henry’s daughter, Holly Goldrich and filmmaker Sandi Bachom who have started to build a site called Manny’s Virtual Wall using the social networking site Ning. Goldrich and Bachom are collecting videos, photos and stories from just about everyone who has had the pleasure of shopping at Manny’s Music.
Our favorite little tidbit from the New Yorker article describes Manny’s famously gruff sales staff:
Generations of guitar-besotted teen-agers followed their heroes through the doors, where they were greeted with thinly veiled hostility by the sales staff. The store didn’t encourage you to play the instruments unless you were famous, and you didn’t get to keep the pick when you were finished. “You gonna buy it today?” the head salesman, Carl, would ask menacingly.
Classic New York, but I think that just about describes every music store sales person I encountered growing up. Former employee Blinky Philips also has a great piece on the closing of this legendary store.
Head over to Manny’s Virtual Wall and check out some of the videos and stories. It’s a very cool site and it’s a nice homage to a great music store.
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