'For the Records' is a stunning documentary, that gives a raw and honest view of world-famous Bob Plotnik and his contribution to the music industry. Bob opened 'Bleecker Bob's Golden Oldies' store in Greenwich Village, in the 60's and in doing so, unknowingly created a downtown New York legacy. This documentary invites you to meet the people who made the store a New York institution, and offers you a painfully honest insight to the struggle they had to decide what to do next.
Bob regularly rubbed shoulders with big names in the music business, such as Patti Smith, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, and was praised on always stocking the best records, of the most up-coming music, ahead of everyone else. David Shebiro, who owns Rebel Rebel Records on Bleecker Street said: “Bleecker Bob’s was one of the few stores importing records from the UK, me and my friends would go in there to find out what we should be listening to. Bob yelled at me a couple of times and asked me to work for him a couple of times. He was like that — hot and cold. He was one of those old-time New York personalities. They’re fading away.”
The introduction of cassettes, CDs' and MP3s, the closure of CBGB and Bob himself suffering a huge stroke and having to hand the store over to his colleagues to run didn't seem to faze Bleecker Bob's, which continued to hold its own. It would seem however, that despite an impressively extensive list of rock and roll names from throughout the decades, and downtown movements from the Village's folk scene through punk, new wave and alternative music, that time has finally caught up with Bleecker Bob's.
Though the landlord of their building on West Third Street was good to Bob over the years, he eventually had to put the rent up in line with prices in the area, something the store just couldn't compete with any more. Since the documentary was filmed, Bleecker Bob’s landlord has found new tenants for the space. The record store has become a frozen yoghurt store, and closed for good on April 13. When it closed it took with it a huge part of the history of the Village and looks unlikely to find a new place to open.
'For The Records’ premiered on Capital New York last year and is still hosted and available to view on Capital. The documentary is screening at The New School, 55 West 13th Street, on Monday, Sept. 16, at 6:30 p.m courtesy of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and The New School for Public Engagement.