Goodbye to Manny's Music

  • For those of you who live in the NY area or have visited here, you may be aware that the stretch of 48th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue has been known for decades as Music Row. Dating back to the Forties, a string of music stores including Sam Ash, Rudy's Guitars and several others have been the destination for musicians and enthusiasts alike...and standing head and shoulders above them all was the store founded by Manny Goldrich back in the late 30's..Manny's Music.

    You name it..they shopped there. The custom of putting artist's photos on the walls was initially to cover up a dodgy paint job but it became a calling card for the store.....I am sure that Glenn is in one of the countless pictures in the store....

    Manny Goldrich was a man of many firsts; he was the first white man to sell instruments in Harlem, he was the first to offer a steep discount on manufacturers list prices and he gave musicians credit on a regular basis. His son Henry took over the store in 1968 and ran it for more than 30 years before the family sold the store to Sam Ash who at one time were his biggest rivals. The Rockefeller real estate group has had its eye on the property for years and recently refused to renew the lease which spells the end for an icon.

    I remember going into the store for the first time in 1977....the endless rows of guitars was just jaw dropping....I visited there several times over the years and was shocked to hear of its impending closure.

    I tip my hat to them....

  • The loss of another NY tradition ~

    Bill, here's the article that was in May18th issue of
    The New Yorker Magazine, pages 23, 24

    The Fat Lady Sings Dept.
    The Wall

    Manny's Music, one of the largest of the West Forty-eighth Street
    musical-instrument stores, is closing soon, and among the matters
    yet to be resolved between Manny's owner, Sam Ash Music, and
    Manny's founding family, the descendants of Manny Goldrich,
    is the fate of the hundreds of publicity photographs of musicians
    that line the store's walls. Many of them are inscribed with personal
    notes to Manny, who died in 1968, and to his son Henry, who is
    seventy-six and retired.

    It was Holly Goldrich, Henry's daughter, who, together with a film-maker
    named Sandi Bachom, had the idea for Manny's Virtual Wall,
    a social-networking site. Holly and Sandi are working with Kodak to scan
    the photos and to get camcorders into the hands of longtime Manny's customers,
    who include many of the world's best-known rock musicians. Their idea was that
    those musicians who couldn't make it into the store for interviews could film
    themselves talking about their memories. The images and the interviews will be
    posted on Manny's Virtual Wall.

    One afternoon last week, three musicians gathered in the electric-guitar showroom
    at the back of the store to help build the Virtual Wall. John Sebastian, a founder of
    the Lovin' Spoonful, arrived first, and was soon joined by Tom Chapin and Leslie West,
    the guitar player from the Vagrants and, later, Mountain. Sebastian, who was wearing a
    fedora, and Chapin, who had on a blue work shirt, played some country blues, while West,
    in a black shirt with a samurai sword embroidered on the back, tried out guitar effects.
    All three have been coming to Manny's since they were teen-agers, fifty years ago.

    Bachom asked Sebastian, who wrote "Do You Believe in Magic" on a Gibson J-45
    that he bought from Henry, what made Manny's special. "Other stores, they wouldn't
    be as rude. It was more fun to call up Henry and then insult him, and then he'd insult you,
    than 'Hello, Guitar Center,' " Sebastian said, in a simpering voice.

    Soon Henry turned up, and he sat at the center of the group.
    West moved in closer to him.

    "Get out of my face," Goldrich said. "Seriously. You're bothering me."
    West retreated.

    Manny's is a vestige of a vital cultural industry that once flourished just north
    of Times Square - session musicians and band members used instruments purchased
    at Manny's to perform songs written in the Brill Building, on Forty-ninth Street,
    and in the recording studio and ballrooms around Fifty-second Street. Manny's,
    founded in 1935, provided not just the instruments but a place for players to hang out
    between gigs. Under Henry's management, with the rise of the electric guitar, the store
    grew larger. Jimi Hendrix bought many of his guitars there. Ringo Starr got the Ludwig
    drum set used in the Beatles' "Ed Sullivan Show" performance from Manny's. 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. But there was a bracing in-your-faceness about the experience which felt
    like real New York.

    "Henry would never let you turn the knobs up above two," West complained.
    "That was just you," Goldrich said. ""I let these guys."

    "These guys played acoustic!" West said. "Did you ever play an instrument?"

    "I played cash register," Goldrich replied.

    After busting each other's chops for an hour or so, the group walked to the front
    of the store to look at the pictures. Sebastian found himself in an eight-by-ten glossy
    of the Lovin' Spoonful. West examined a shot of Keith Moon thrusting his tongue into
    West's mouth. "Do I look fat?" he asked.

    Goldrich was content to settle into his old spot, on a stool near the counter.
    "Every piece of popular music ever recorded was by people on these walls," he said.
    "Only one who never came in was Elvis. He wanted the stuff delivered to the hotel -
    he stayed at the Warwick, I think. The Beatles - the Beatles were always very courteous.
    Almost all the rock stars were. Don McLean, Tim Hardin, Soupy Sales. The Who.
    John Entwistle - now there was a gentleman. He invited my wife and me to his house - his castle,
    I should say - in England. It took us forty-five minutes to go through it!" On and on, until it was
    hard to tell where the Wall ended and Goldrich's memories began.

    - John Seabrook

    Soupy Sales was a rock star? :huh:
    Who knew? :lol:


  • Back in 2001 I was trying to buy some Ritchie Blackmore Engl amps and I well remember calling Manny's. The guy on the phone was totally cool with that great NY accent. Of course I remember the store over the years from reading countless articles that mentioned the store. As for Engl, they took too long with my order (which I placed elsewhere) so I ended up getting a refund and going with the Mesa Boogie MKIV , which was the second amp I tried in a long day of amp shootouts in Hollywood in 2001. I still one day want to get an Engl, got to hear Steve Morse play one at GC in Hollywood yesterday.


  • Love the story Grace. That was actually vintage Leslie. He's never had a problem busting chops.

    It is such a shame. Music stores and book stores are going by way of Amazon, and things will never be the same; and I certainly don't see this reliance on technology as a positive step. I our lifetimes we went from 78 RPMs to LPs to 8 Track to cassette to CD to the MP3 we have now. No one can tell me they would rather download an MP3 and play it on an iPod above listening to the old scratchy LP of "Meet the Beatles" you've been cherishing forever.

    Things get smaller, sleeker and faster and memories are all we have left to remember when the world was a large place, "bad" actually meant BAD and "Fat" was a term for being tubby. That is why we love it here so much; it keeps the true music lovers alive to share so many great things.

    "if only we'd turn around and notice the door to the cell is open"

  • .......and let's not forget shoe repair shops,
    hardware stores, "mom and pop" anything.

    Like I actually know how to buy /rent /burn /scan /download /whatever :huh:
    to get my hands on the "Childline Rocks" performance.

    I don't even know how to "transfer" that GREAT PHOTOGRAPH
    of our boy and Jon Lord after a rehearsal, that was on the Home Page
    a few days ago. Yeah, it's on the Twitter site right now, but it belongs
    permanently on under "Purple Days" or "News" or "Media."

    I already printed a copy of it, for the place of honor on my refrigerator :hi5:


  • Now would that be in "The Picture Gallery," filed under "Musicians," with the sub-title,



    That category, David? :)

    Thanks again!


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