Bleecker Bob’s Records / 8:45 pm
One of the many things that the internet is killing is the record store. Most people download their music now, thereby eliminating the middleman, the record store. It’s too bad, because I’ve always loved hanging out in record stores and flipping through albums. There’s not that many left in Manhattan, so I thought I’d start spending every Sunday visiting record stores that are still left. Tonight’s destination is one of Manhattan’s more famous record stores, Bleecker Bob’s in the heart of Greenwich Village (though ironically, it’s not on Bleecker St.) It’s been featured in films and in an episode of Seinfeld.
Here we are, Bleecker Bob's records in Greenwich Village.
Let's go inside and check it out.
John was minding the store this night and I asked him to pose with one of his favorite albums. He chose the "Velvet Underground and Nico," which was a nice pick, seeing that the first nightcap video on the blog was the Velvet Underground. John has worked here for twenty years and has seen everyone from Keith Richards to David Bowie to Rick Rubin to Frank Zappa walk through the door. Speaking of Zappa, the owner, Bleecker Bob is Godfather to Zappa's daughter, Moon Zappa.
Okay, let's take a look around Bleecker Bob's.
Here's some posters and records in the front window.
Boxed records are labeled and stacked up on one another behind the counter.
John Lennon's last single, "(Just Like) Starting Over" hangs next to an early Beatles album on the VJ label.
A wall of vinyl.
Separated at birth moment: The cash register at Bleecker Bob's...
And the cash register at the Mars Bar.
I love all the hand-lettering in here.
Yes! Cheap Trick! My heroes!
Johnny Thunders and Jayne County, would've loved to have seen that show!
Rachel Sweet! I had this album back in the day, I wonder what ever happened to her?
The very first album I ever bought was "The Best of Herman's Hermits." That's what I love about record stores, all the memories that start coming back.
There's a nice crowd in here on a Sunday night and that's good to see.
Irony at its finest hour. The punk rock section behind "Guitar Heroes!"
Here's the Jacksons with many of their influences stacked behind them.
John's a regular in the store and here he is posing with one of his favorite albums, Cream's Disraeli Gears.
A poster of The Clash hangs on the wall.
Records to get you "in the mood."
Some vintage rock 'n' roll magazines and newspapers.
And on the way out, time to play, spot the MAD card. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.
118 W 3rd St. (Between 6th Ave. and Mac Dougal St.)
Record Store Memories
The first record store I ever hung out at regularly was the one in the mall in Louisville, Kentucky. My family lived in Louisville from 1963 to 1969. In 1965 my brother Jim and I traded a box of bubblegum cards to a neighbor for a Dave Clark Five 45 rpm single, titled, “Catch Us If You Can,” and we became vinyl junkies from that moment on.
I believe Louisville was one of the first cities to have a mall. When our family went there, we’d all split up. Everybody went to their own stores of interest and my brother Jim and I would go and hang out at the record store which was located smack-dab in the middle of the mall.
We couldn’t afford to buy records often, but we loved flipping through the albums and picture sleeve 45’s in the store and talking to the kids that worked there. We thought they were really old, but looking back there probably wasn’t anyone on the staff over 18-years-old at the record store. They all got a kick out of the fact we were just kids (we started hanging out in there in 1965, I was seven and my brother Jim was nine), but we really were into music. Especially The Beatles.
One day we were talking to a lanky kid who worked there and my brother Jim asked him who Chuck Berry was. We had seen his name via song credits on Beatles and Rolling Stone albums and wondered who this mysterious songwriter was.
I remember the kid laughing and telling us that Chuck Berry was to the Beatles, what the Beatles were to us. He said Chuck Berry was a big influence on the Fab Four. We were confused and he told us to go to the “B” section and we’d find some albums. We dutifully went and studied some of Chuck Berry’s albums. I can’t remember all the Chuck Berry albums they had in stock, but I do remember looking at one called, “St. Louis to Liverpool” and “Chuck Berry’s Greatest Hits.”
It took about three months, but my brother Jim finally saved up enough money to buy “Chuck Berry’s Greatest Hits” at the record store. I remember that kid behind the counter giving us an all-knowing smile as he took my brother’s money, letting us know we were doing the right thing.
We went home, put it on our parents fake-wood console stereo and immediately became Chuck Berry fans. We also learned about Bo Diddley, Phil Spector and Little Richard in that record store, among others. I’ve never bought anything from iTunes, but I can’t imagine it’s the same experience at all.
Some Things I Did Today
Cursed the idea of Daylight Savings Time.
Opened a Twitpic account.
Ate some Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Beefaroni.
Read a feature article about teen sensation, Justin Bieber in Rolling Stone.
Paid my bills.
Drank two bottles of Dasani Lemon Water.
Got a haircut.
Flipped through the new Best of New York magazine.
Read the Charlie Sheen story in that issue of New York magazine.
Felt bad about wasting more time reading about Charlie Sheen.
Checked Charlie Sheen’s Twitter page.
I've got no kick against modern jazz,
Unless they try to play it too darn fast.