J&R’s grand piano, loaned to and autographed by Lady Gaga, carried an opening bid of $25,000. 

The legendary New York dealer opens its vaunted vaults

By Alan Wolf, YSN

J&R Music World, the iconic New York music and electronics merchant, has put its vast vault of music memorabilia on the auction block.

The company, a onetime member of ProSource forerunner PRO Group, was founded as a basement record shop in 1971 by namesakes Joe and Rachelle Friedman and grew into a storied retail destination drawing musicphiles, celebrity shoppers, guest performers, tech afficionados and tourists. 

Located by the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge across from New York’s City Hall, its block-long row of storefronts briefly served as an impromptu casualty station on 9/11. But the destruction of the nearby Twin Towers cast a pall over lower Manhattan that lingered long after, and J&R eventually succumbed to the falloff in foot traffic, compounded by online competition and collapsing CE margins.

Now, eight years later, Rachelle — the “R” in J&R — has put some 1,000 autographed album covers, posters, CDs, guitars and other memorabilia up for auction, featuring signatures by, among others: Beyonce, John Legend, Eric Burdon, Stanley Clarke, Donavan, Paul Anka, Smashing Pumpkins, Carly Simon, Brian Wilson, Kevin Hart, Joe Walsh, Bryan Ferry and Lady Gaga (hers adorning a Roland grand piano that was loaned to her by the store).

“Let other people who love music enjoy it just as much as I do,” Friedman told local CBS2 News.

Upcoming Events