Back in 2010, you may remember a post wherein I wondered about John Lennon’s New York City. Obviously, it’s well established that he was deeply enamored of this town, but what were the specifics? Beyond hanging out with Yoko and Sean at the Dakota and maybe walking around Central Park, what did he like to do? Did he have a favorite pizza place? Did he like browsing through books at The Strand? Was he fond of perusing the perfume aisles of Bloomingdales? Did he just enjoy strolling through Greenwich Village (as photographer Brian Hammill caught him doing above in 1972)? What was John’s New York?
There is that anecdote I alluded to about John supposedly meeting Bobby Steele (then guitarist for the Misfits) at the Mudd Club, wherein the drunk soon-to-be ex-Misfit reportedly puked at the former Beatle’s feet, but there are evidently myriad variations of that particular story in which both the puker and the puked-upon are different luminaries. I believe there have been photos of John hanging out at Studio 54, but I love the idea of Lennon checking out the post-punk scene at the Mudd Club.
But speaking of post-punk, having recently finished Tony Rettman’s hardcore oral history “NYHC,” I’ve moved onto “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?,” the new memoir by David J. Haskins, better known as simply David J., the perma-sunglassed bass player of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets. As a longtime fan, I’m slavishly enjoying it, and practically finished it in a single sitting.
In any case, during a chapter wherein the eloquently witty bass player recounts Bauhaus’ first visit to New York City, J. writes….
The following afternoon, I made my way down to Greenwich Village for some last-minute record shopping before we flew home. I bought a John Lennon bootleg at Bleecker Bob’s, where I learnt that, had I arrived ten minutes earlier, I would have seen Mr. Lennon himself rummaging through the crates.
“Yeah, he comes in here all the time,” Bob told me, “and ya know, he’s this skinny little guy. It’s funny, `cos ya tend to think of John Lennon as, like, this big guy, right? But he ain’t big at all. Skinny little guy!” (Three months later, I would be devastated by the news that Lennon had been shot and killed outside of his apartment building.)
David J. also expounds, at one point, that the song “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?” off Bauhaus’ penultimate break-up album, Burning from the Inside, was ostensibly about John Lennon’s death. So, there ya go.
Anyway, I love the notion of John Lennon rifling through the racks at Bleecker Bob’s. I remember seeing Marc Almond of Soft Cell there, as well as the full membership of Agnostic Front….not that either are entirely comparable to a Beatle-spotting.
I also love this anecdote, as it further humanizes the somewhat polarizing figure of Bleecker Bob Plotnick himself (above in front of the original MacDougal incarnation of the store). Sure, he was thorny curmudgeon, but a genuine NYC character in his own right.
Oddly enough, while Googling around for further insight, I came across this curious page about location shots for an invariably abortive 2006 film about Lennon’s death called — wait for it — “The Killing of John Lennon,” featuring the Mark David Chapman character perusing the racks of — WAIT FOR IT, ONCE AGAIN — Bleecker Bob’s.
The complete Bleecker Bob's chronicles on Flaming Pablum....
Farewell to Bleecker Bob's
Back to Bleecker Bob's
Bedtime for Bleecker Bob's
Freezing Out Bleecker Bob's
Closing Time for Bleecker Bob's
Bleecker Bob's Last Day
Not So Sweet
Bleecker Bob's Flips the Final Finger
Back to Bonaparte
Bleecker Bob's today.....