Monday, January 21, 2008

Legendary Vinyl Activist and Music Producer Closes His Doors

This man has been through it all. WWII, and comes from South Carolina, growing up in the Dr King days. Bobby Robinson is a 91-year old music producer and record store owner in Harlem, NY. Ironically, today, on Martin Luther King Day, he is closing his doors. A preserver of all things that are right about the music industry and wrong about the world are the problems.

Mr. Robinson believes in Vinyl and offers cassettes at his shop as well, to serve the people in his community and the collectors that visit his shops. He states that people come to Harlem for the roots of the community and not McDonald's or other corporate takeovers.

His shop is being closed to make way for a new 4-story office building with retail shops, presumably on the lower floor. None of the current tenants have been asked to move into the rebuilding plans.

Mr. Robinson has lived long enough to see the changes in the culture in our country as well as the state of the music industry. Producing the first hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips', "Every Beat of My Heart," to some of Harlem and the world’s first hip-hop tracks with Funky Four Plus One More, Spoonie Gee (Robinson's nephew), Kool Moe Dee with the Treacherous Three and even Doug E Fresh (and the birth of the beatbox).

Bobby Robinson was a pioneer and a survivor.

In a time when authentic vinyl shops close their doors and CD’s have taken the shape of MP3’s, Bobby’s Happy House stood the test of time. They built character and a lasting impression with the music they offered. This is something the current music industry takes for granted. The terrible excuse they currently call Artist Development has been thrown out the door for lawsuits with the RIAA and DRM infected music. (Even though DRM is gone, there are now digital fingerprints on your Amazon bought MP3’s.)

So while he may be closing up shop today, I am sure that his legacy in his Harlem neighborhood will live on. With the support of family, friends and loyal customers I wish Mr. Robinson the best and hope to see a new shop up soon.


(image source - NY Times)


Recent Posts

I just claimed my blog on - #77

  © Blogger template 'Isfahan' by 2008

Back to TOP