Updates and noteworthy anniversaries involving Classic Rock musicians fill this page, but we also occasionally make note of those events in the lives of people that were instrumental in those musician's lives. In the case of Henry Goldrich he, was literally instrumental. Henry joked with customers who asked about his favored instrument or his skill level by saying, "I play the cash register", something he did from 1969 - 1999 as the owner of Manny's Music, the legendary musical instrument shop at 156 W 48th St. in New York City. A multitude of musicians from virtually every genre of music made that register sing, too, but it was especially true of guitar players. Wall space that wasn't covered with guitars and other equipment was scarce, but there you could peruse the personally signed photos of thanks from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, the Beatles, David Gilmour, the Who and dozens of other iconic musicians that crossed the threshold of what they came to consider a musical Mecca.
The namesake of the store was a saxophone salesman who opened the original location in 1935 at 120 West 48th. At the outset, it was only 20x20 feet, but by 1954 had swelled to fill the whole building. Rockefeller Center was interested in taking over the building eleven years later and offered to buy the building up the block that Manny's later occupied. Unfortunately, Manny passed away before the move was made. His son Henry and daughter Helen ran the business from 1969 until the early 90's when they handed the reigns to Manny's grandchildren. By then, online competition and franchised instrument mega stores were getting the lion's share of the sales. Manny's ceased to be a family run business in 1999 when Ian and Judd Goldrich sold Manny's to rival Sam Ash Music - although it was operated as a subsidiary, keeping the Manny's name and employees until 2009.
Henry Goldrich wasn't a musician, but from his childhood to well into adulthood he spent his days in the nearly constant company of them. He and his staff were highly knowledgeable and had little patience for novices or indecisive buyers, and people that wandered in to browse were subject to disdain. But their love for hooking-up accomplished musicians with just the right gear made Manny's Music the place almost all of the greats wanted to go.
We learned this week that Henry passed away on February 16th in Florida at 88. Manny's is gone, but one of its favorite customers and a world renowned guitarist and instrument and amp collector Joe Bonamassa, now owns the vertical sign with the clock at the bottom of it generations of musicians kept an eye out for when in Manhattan.