Midnight Records -255 – 263 W. 23rd Street, Chelsea NYC – shop closed 1984 – March 2004

Spent many a happy hour and quite a bit of coin in this store when it was open.  Unlike many of my other haunts, I mostly bought new records here (though they did have a few used records).  This was mainly a place for reissues of a host of lesser known 60s bands, mostly as compilations.  It also had its own label (Midnight Records) which issued a number of garage revival records that were quite good.  One of my personal favorites was the Cheepskates – Run Better Run from 1984.  The shop was owned by J. D. Martignon, and always had something good playing on the stereo, which is how I first learned of the Jam.  They featured a number of books about music too, and had a guide to 60s punk and psych compilations.

An article titled Record Stores: Out of Site, Not Obsolete appeared in the NY Times on September 29, 2009 and described what Midnight (and Vinyl Mania’s) owners were then doing since the store closed to continue selling records.
Norton records honcho Billy Miller and Midnight records honcho J.D. Martignon. ©www.shakesomeaction.nyc Please attribute.

Here’s a picture of J. D. Martignon, who passed away in 2016.

And here’s the Cheepskates performing Run Better Run live in 1984.

Here’s an article from the blog It’s All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago from October 10, 2005 titled Midnight Records with a more in-depth look at the store and the label, and the unfortunate court battle fought over bootleg records (I’m shocked. There’s gambling in Rick’s Cafe). Alas, no pictures of the store are featured in the article.

And another, this time by Hillary Chute published in the Village Voice on March 9 2004, titled Music reporting on the closing of the store, and interviewing J.D. about the store and its history.

Have scoured the Internet looking for pictures of the store without success. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

While we’re still searching here’s the cover to The Midnight Records Book of 60’s Punk and Psychedelic Compilations. In the 60s, numerous obscure bands put out 45s of garage, psych, mod, punk and beat songs. Many were released in lots of 500 on smaller labels, that had only regional (not national) distribution chains. Often, they were only played locally, where the band was known, and no where else. Many were quite good, but simply did not get the exposure to reach a larger audience. In the 70s, collectors gathered these singles, which due to their scarcity and great sound, cost quite a pretty penny. Before the Internet, the only way for most mere mortals to access these sounds was via comps (short for compilations), on which they were collected and reissued. (Or by reading fan zines, but that is a story for another day). Many of these comps themselves were issued in small pressings with a handwritten number denoting the copy you had purchased (1 of 400 etc.) or with mimeorgraphed covers. I have many of these comps myself, from which I learned a great deal about 60s garage. Midnight’s book (pictured below) was a guide to those comps, many of which it sold in the store.

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