Rest in Peace to one of the all-time greats - Henry Goldrich, gear purveyor to the rock gods

The music industry is unique unto itself as it combines so many different types of people that are all involved in the common thread of the aural art we all know and love as music. While it’s easy to see the musicians, songwriters, and performers, there are literally countless others that are hard at work behind the scenes making the music happen in one way or another. Whether it’s in the studio, at rehearsal spaces, driving trucks and buses, tech’ing on the side of the stage, or keeping venues running; those are just the ones keeping the production side covered. Then there are legions of others who are creating, designing, and building new products and even more still who are selling them in stores- getting these instruments in the hands of musicians everywhere. It’s all one huge effort to keep the music, and the inspiration flowing, and forever fascinating to ponder just how many people are involved in music, and may not even “play” per se.

For instance, did you know that Leo Fender didn’t play guitar, yet he built a brand and a style that forever changed the landscape of guitar? Did you know that Randall Smith (founder of Mesa/Boogie) does not play guitar, yet designed and built amplifiers that did what no other amps could, thus inspiring entire genres of music in their wake? Thanks to Randall’s and Leo’s inventions (just to name a few), entire musical landscapes were forever changed in the very best ways. Huge musical movements happened as a result of these people who did not even play the instrument they designed and built for.

When it comes to your favorite musicians, many, if not all of them have stories to tell about the gear that got them started, as well as the gear that inspired them. This gear usually has a story all to itself that goes largely untold. While many of these tales are covered in biographical pieces like our “The Sound & The Story” series, it may come as a surprise to many fans that their favorite songs may have happened because of a guitar that hung in a pawn shop window, or was sold to them by a trusted friend, or found on the showroom floor of their local go-to store.

For many musicians during the true heyday of rock and roll, one of these trusted places was a store in New York City called Manny’s Music. Located in the legendary and historic Music Row (West 48th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues), Manny’s was THE place that musicians from around the world, beginner to pro, would congregate, shop, and even meet each other. For 74 years, Manny’s provided the tools of the trade to some of the most iconic names in music history. And like any great story, there is indeed a great person behind it.

Manny’s was founded by Manny Goldrich all the way back in 1935. Originally selling saxophones, Manny started on West 48th Street in a 20x20 room that eventually expanded to consume the entire building by the 50s. When Manny passed away in 1959, his son Henry took over the business around the same time that the store was relocating further down 48th street to a bigger location. This area on 48th street was known as Music Row because of the many dozens of shops that were all located there; but to many, Manny’s was likely the most well-known out of them all.

By the late 60s, this was the go-to shop for musicians of all walks of life. After all, this was a time before pro musicians were given gear by the top manufacturers in music. Manny’s became a stopping point, a mecca of sorts for touring pros to stop and demo the latest & greatest pieces of gear the world had to offer. Henry Goldrich became passionate about stocking not only the best quality gear, but also gear that was both innovative and cutting edge. This allure drew in plenty of the pros who had to have the coolest new stuff in the guitar gear universe.

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You often hear the phrase “if walls could talk”, well due to many of these famous visitations, the walls of Manny’s truly began to talk in their own way, via the Wall of Fame that became plastered with autographed publicity shots of the world’s biggest rockstars. Alongside a plethora of great gear, these photos became yet another reason for people to visit this musical mecca. Nothing quite like shopping for the best gear on Earth while taking in the vibes that covered the walls; hell you might even bump into someone famous!

THE VIRTUAL HALL OF FAME at Manny's Music shop

This image and the above-mentioned autographed pictures can all be viewed virtually at the Manny’s Virtual Wall: VIEW HERE

As mentioned above, all of our favorite songs all came out of the relationship between a talented player and a piece of gear that inspired them to write it. Henry Goldrich sold many of those inspirational pieces of gear to the pros. For instance: Sting bought a Fender Stratocaster from Henry that ended up being the guitar that he composed “Message in a Bottle” with. This guitar can now be found in the Smithsonian! Henry also sold a ‘69 Black Strat to a fellow named David Gilmour which ended up being the guitar we’ve all heard on dozens of Pink Floyd tracks. This guitar later sold at a 2019 auction for almost 4 million dollars!

And just check out who signed this receipt for a Fender Twin Reverb:

Manny's store receipt - Jimi Hendrix

Check out more awesome Hendrix/Manny’s history: HERE

Henry Goldrich was posthumously inducted into the NAMM Hall of Fame, and you can hear Henry himself tell one of his many great stories in this video interview from 2003: READ HERE

When you really think about it, it’s crazy to think just HOW many people are involved in making music! While Henry Goldrich may not be a musician you’ve heard of, all the musicians you have heard of definitely knew him well. Here’s to remembering one of those truly influential people in the world of music that played a part in telling the musical stories that will outlive us all.

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