Manny's Music Store was THE reason for digging up the $2.67 for a round trip ticket on the NHRR from South Norwalk, CT to Grand Central Station in the late 60's and early 70's. Every town had their fair share of high priced rinky dink music stores, but when it came time to drop your hard earned paper route money for "serious" musical equipment, Manny's was the ONLY place to go! As a young teenager and aspiring guitar player (along with every other boy who saw the Beatles on Sullivan) the fascination for shiny electric guitars was overwhelming and Manny's had them all! We all ran from Grand Central to West 48th and the first one to reach the showroom window would shout, "OHH! They have a Lennon Rickenbacker!" as we all gathered around gawking at the always amazing window display. We finally made our way into the store being transported from the noise and confusion of the city to our comfort zone...the sound of many different instruments being played. We were the aspiring garage band members of "The Stone Balloon" proud to be able to play "Satisfaction" and in Manny's, we heard real professionals trying out various instruments playing licks we could only dream about playing! It was always a mind boggling experience to us all. We almost fainted the first time we saw a "real live" Vox Super Beatle on the showroom floor! We slowly made our way around the store inspecting every showcase in awe. Of course almost everything we looked at was WAY out of our league, price wise. We were just spectators at a great event! The "bargain" used guitars on stands on top of the counters in the center of the store were always priced for a quick sale. THATS where WE dropped our hard earned coins! The funny part is, it was usually the obscure undesirable (at the time) guitars like Vox phantoms that could be obtained for $75 that are now highly collectible! We bought some great guitars off of those bargain racks through the years! I still have the King Vox wa-wa pedal I bought in 1970.
We first learned of Manny's after buying a book in 1968 called "How To Form a Rock Group" which featured a group called Forum Quorum which followed the bands "claim to fame". The book featured many photos of the band picking out all their instuments at Mannys. We wore out the pages of that book carefully studying every detail of each picture!
I dont even have to mention anything about us seeing the pictures on the wall for the first time and peeing ourselves as that was a common reaction for many who have experienced Mannys for the first time! One time I got so excited seeing brand new road cases being loaded into a Ryder truck out in front of Mannys with "RAMONES" stenciled on them. Another time I happened to ask a salesman if Jimi had been in the store lately. I expected to hear him say something like, "Oh yeah, about six months ago" but he said real calmly, "Yeah, he was here yesterday". I stared at the floor as I peed myself again....Who knows how many famous players were walking right by me at the time!
Yes, Mannys was always a magical place for us every time we stepped into that world. I'll always visit a music store every new town I go to but NONE have ever compared to the ultimate music store...Mannys. Nothing but great memories left.