Bleecker Bobs is closing.

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Not all messages are displayed: show all messages (97 of them)

I am an old man who used to live in Brooklyn way back in 1989-1994.

The NYC store I frequented the most was a place called It's Only Rock N Roll on West 8th Street.

Our own Alex in NYC writes in his Blog:

Technically more of a curio emporium than a workaday record store, It's Only Rock and Roll was a self-styled "rock and roll museum" with a pronounced leaning towards classic rock and heavy metal. As such, you weren't likely to find anything especially hip, undiscovered or underground therein, but their supply of rock memorabilia was dizzying. Every square inch of the place was crammed with stuff -- and moving about in the store was often a chore. I dimly remember that they had the Kiss pinball machine in the back which I coveted. I'm not exactly sure why, but they shut their doors at some point in the very early 90's, but they continue to work the rock memorabilia/record festival circuit. Check out their website here.
My memories of the place are fonder than that of Alex since I was a metal guy and I got a ton of metal vinyl there, most of it reasonably priced. The store's main drawing point was that they would sell Kerrang! Magazine for only 99¢ - a loss leader designed to keep us all coming back and I did, pretty much weekly. I also met one of my best friends who worked there at the time.

I also worked briefly at Venus Records (outlined in Alex's recap) where I met the dude from the B-52s, listened to Chrome for the first time (who would later become one of my favorite bands), priced a Leathur Records copy of "Too Fast For Love" for $50 (and had it sell so fast I knew I underpriced it - Bleeker Bob woulda marked it at $250 probably) and met one of my best friends to this day when I was playing advance tapes of Megadeth and Testament albums and we struck up a conversation.

Venus Records is now - you guessed it! - a frozen yogurt stand.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:50 (eight years ago) link

There was some weird moment in time decades ago in which Rocks In Your Head incorporated a yogurt stand inside the shop before it went back to being just a record store.

Johnny Too Borad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:54 (eight years ago) link

oops,r.i.p. tropicalia.

scott seward, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:54 (eight years ago) link

maybe they secretly make frozen yogurt out of old records.

scott seward, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:55 (eight years ago) link

I think Joel still sells records in brazil regularly, he has connections there. So I think this is probably still what he does. Though portions are still boxed up, the whole inventory as I said is in Hoboken for sale as it was before he had to move out of his shop.

Xp

Evan, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:55 (eight years ago) link

Still what he does for a living*

Evan, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:56 (eight years ago) link

when i went to sound library on orchard street my eyes bugged out a little. boutique-y prices. anything i was even remotely interested in was 30 or higher. don't know if they are still there. record show prices. but, you know, they were in soho. had to pay the rent.

scott seward, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 19:59 (eight years ago) link

you can make a ton of money selling classic rock in brazil. if you know people there.

scott seward, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:00 (eight years ago) link

maybe they secretly make frozen yogurt out of old records.
Some kind of cratedigger version of Soylent Green.

Johnny Too Borad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:00 (eight years ago) link

i know a guy who knows the tropicalia guy and when he comes up from brazil he trades me decent brasilian stuff in trade for hendrix and floyd. i'm all for it. he reissues old brasilian psych stuff too. on 45. nice guy.

scott seward, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:03 (eight years ago) link

i never bought anything at tropicalia in furs. prices were pretty high, but they had nice records. i just never quite caught the brazillian bug too bad. i like my mutantes and caetano veloso and gal costa and jorge ben and alla that bossa nova stuff but i never got much deeper than that.

gimme was more my style, one of my regular spots to go. super nice folks owned/worked there. i got a lot of good rural rock records and county LPs and rounder LPs and Yazoo LPs and stuff there. the prices were good overall. reasonable. and they would mark stuff down if it sat around, so i finally go to fill in my mike nesmith collection & mason profitt collection a few bucks each. good country records too -- one of the only places to go in NYC and find a large selection of ernest tubb records. he had/has disco and punk and new wave and soul and jazz and stuff too. lots of reggae. a really good store.

sound library is also gone.

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:11 (eight years ago) link

ahh i remember the times square store i was talking about. colony records!

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:11 (eight years ago) link

gimme is now in l.a., a stone's throw (10 min drive) from where i live.

christmas candy bar (al leong), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:12 (eight years ago) link

Oh tropilcalia prices I perceived to be only a little high sometimes, but not too bad. Not near the prices at some of those stores in the west village, yikes. I got a Michael Hurley reissue for $8 from him, thought that was a good deal.

Hey I have to look it up, but there is a book store next to the NYC campus somewhere a few blocks below Washington square park. They also have vinyl and I've found some unique gems in their limited collection. Just got a sealed Dump 10" there. I figure it isn't noticed by many record shoppers that probably walk right by on their way from other music to generation.

Evan, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:12 (eight years ago) link

miss gimme, but they are open and bustling out in LA. my pal joe even moved out there from ny to continue working at gimme. xpost to al, go say hi to joe! you will known him by the short and gray hair and crossword puzzle.

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:12 (eight years ago) link

evan, you are thinking of mercer st. books. i have definitely gotten good records there in the past. and books too! one of the old mercer st guys opened a book store on avenue A that is really nice too, but no records there.

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:13 (eight years ago) link

NYU campus*****

Evan, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:13 (eight years ago) link

Oh ok yeah! Thanks Ian.

Evan, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:14 (eight years ago) link

i got a really cool richard kostelanetz record on Folkways at mercer. tape music, cut up recordings of liturgical speech/chanting/singing in a variety of languages. real cool. sealed copy, cheap, i guess Kostelanetz lived nearby and would stop by with copies occasionally. also got sun city girls 'jacks creek' on mercer street when i was working over there.

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:15 (eight years ago) link

Colony went under last summer. See also this brief thread: 48th Street = Desolation Row. Bye-Bye Brick and Mortar Music Stores

Johnny Too Borad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:15 (eight years ago) link

Didn't one of the Mercer Street Books guys open the much-missed Heights Books on Montague Street in Brooklyn?

Johnny Too Borad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:16 (eight years ago) link

"Generation Records is the other one. On Thompson."

can't remember if we talked about this place when i saw you in nyc. do you ever go there? i was impressed.

― scott seward, Tuesday, March 12, 2013 1:02 PM (3 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

This was the store I was talking about. When I was at NYU it was pretty much the only place I'd go to. I'm glad it's still there. :)

go to party leather (ENBB), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:17 (eight years ago) link

Haven't found anything for me in awhile at generation, but enjoyed nabbing some 7"s that must have been waiting for me for years when I first showed up.

Evan, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:19 (eight years ago) link

I never knew about Heights Books. It's possible! I can count the times I've been to Brooklyn Heights on one hand, despite it being just a short bike or bus ride away.

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:20 (eight years ago) link

i've mentioned it before, but colony used to scare me when i was a little kid. my dad would go in for jazz records and it always seemed really chaotic and frenzied on a friday or saturday night in the 70's. like fulton fish market only records. kept thinking i'd get trampled by the record freaks and the people who worked there.

scott seward, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:23 (eight years ago) link

generation was total skot-bait. unplayed 70's promos and cool early 80's stuff. and cheap.

scott seward, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:25 (eight years ago) link

kevin, from rocks in yer head, is one of my best buddies
I ran into one guy I knew in front of the store back in the day and he loved Kevin. I think he had him helping him in his office, running some errands, maybe even babysitting his kid.

Johnny Too Borad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:35 (eight years ago) link

yeah i only went a few times, but rock in your head was an ideal record store. i don't suppose subterranean is around anymore, either is it?

tylerw, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:44 (eight years ago) link

can't remember if we talked about this place when i saw you in nyc. do you ever go there?

I think you were holding a bag from there as we were talking! Yeah I go there sometimes. I should be more adventurous when I go record shopping. Usually I get stuff I know I want, not stuff I think I might want to check out. I am envious of your m.o.

Thus Sang Freud, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:45 (eight years ago) link

subterranean is indeed gone.

Thus Sang Freud, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:46 (eight years ago) link

I think Good Records is still running right? Haven't been there maybe close to a year? Hmm, unsure. They have a neat blues/country section usually.

Evan, Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:48 (eight years ago) link

one month passes...

Bought on vinyl at rocks in your head in the mid 90s:
-crooked rain
-vee-vee (archers of loaf)
-whip smart
-blowout comb
-better can't make your life better
-stereopathetic soul manure (CD)

I didn't get to bleecker bob's til much later, when i got ripped off on some Steely Dan vinyl (cover indicated japanese pressing but disc was stock MCA)

calstars, Wednesday, 24 April 2013 19:11 (eight years ago) link

What a great, if crushingly sad, article - thanks for linking it, Ned.

bizarro gazzara, Wednesday, 24 April 2013 19:15 (eight years ago) link

"I think every record store these days is in jeopardy of being priced out of its neighborhood," says Josh Madell, co-owner of Other Music, an indie-centric East Village record store. "To me, one of the biggest things about that store is maybe they were focused on music that wasn't as popular now as when it started. That was a great punk store, and in the punk era, it was the only place to get a lot of stuff. It would be disingenuous to say I'm going to miss Bleecker Bob's. I literally probably haven't been there since I was in high school. But I hate to see what was a very cool store disappear."

What About The Half That's Never Been POLLed (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 24 April 2013 21:42 (eight years ago) link

are people supposed to stay in business forever? i get the real estate part of it though. nyc = expensive. got that.

scott seward, Wednesday, 24 April 2013 21:44 (eight years ago) link

maybe if they had worked the coffee mug/t-shirt angle harder...just as a brand you'd think you could stay in business. online store for bleeker bobs fashion. that sorta thing.

scott seward, Wednesday, 24 April 2013 21:46 (eight years ago) link

which was the lower manhattan store that specialized in doo-wop that closed in the lats few years?

flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Wednesday, 24 April 2013 22:04 (eight years ago) link

And because Bob was open-minded enough to embrace emerging musical trends, rather than focusing solely on oldies, the store found itself at the forefront of the punk-rock explosion.

"And because Bob was open-minded enough to embrace emerging musical trends, rather than focusing solely on oldies, the store found itself at the forefront of [focusing for most of the past 30 years on oldies]."

This really highlights the paradox of rock magazines. Some point in the past looks continuously like the present to them. This makes them incapable of seeing oldies as oldies, or letting go of the past (ironically, exactly what the punk explosion they venerate represented: a violent letting-go of the past), which appears to them to be the present. They really believe they've found a way to freeze that yoghurt for good.

Grampsy, Wednesday, 24 April 2013 22:11 (eight years ago) link

Not sure which doo-wop place you mean.

Just realized that Village Oldies is not the same as House of Oldies, which apparently is still there:

http://peterbengtson.smugmug.com/The-Village-We-Lived-In/Village-Oldies-Record-Store/11431644_3nxP8S#!i=1551111033&k=BxGHSHV

What About The Half That's Never Been POLLed (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 24 April 2013 22:12 (eight years ago) link

maybe if they had worked the coffee mug/t-shirt angle harder...just as a brand you'd think you could stay in business. online store for bleeker bobs fashion. that sorta thing.
― scott seward, Wednesday, April 24, 2013 5:44 PM

Didn't help CBGB's much.

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Wednesday, 24 April 2013 22:30 (eight years ago) link

seven months pass...

So no yogurt place after all?

Skatalite of Dub (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 28 November 2013 18:12 (seven years ago) link

Nor yoghurt. Nor record store.

Skatalite of Dub (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 28 November 2013 18:13 (seven years ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.