If you are a music fan who grew up in Pittsburgh over the last 50 years, odds are good you know the name Johnny Angel. Throughout the decades, Johnny built an impressive career that continues to this very day. His current band, Johnny Angels and the Halos, can be found around the region performing songs from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond.
As you can imagine, throughout his career Johnny amassed an impressive collection of memorabilia from his own shows and experiences in the music industry. To showcase these, Johnny decided to put everything on display for the public at his store Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff – a North Side staple that moved to its new home next door to the iconic Bicycle Heaven in 2016.
A Music Museum Spanning the Ages
Johnny Angel's store can be broken up into two distinct themes. The first is the museum, home to Johnny's collection of memorabilia spanning his 50+ years in the music business, and the second is his store, selling an impressive collection of products, musical instruments, and more.
Much like neighboring Bicycle Heaven or nearby Randyland, the museum at Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff is nothing short of impressive and has more items on display than you can really appreciate in just one visit. There are signed records from bands Johnny's played with, themed jackets from shows and various bands, photos with other celebrities, playbills from performances, and so much more to be found that were picked up over the years.
Even the restrooms are decorated from floor to ceiling with favorites from Johnny's collection! (ask Johnny to show you where they are, they're not marked.)
One of my favorites was not so much a music piece itself, but instead was a typed break-up letter from a one-time (presumably high school) sweetheart of Johnny's during his early years where the girl broke up with him to run off to a convent and become a nun. But don't feel too bad for him, she loved his car, music, attitude, and assuredly would think of him often- hitting on just about every cliche of the time in glorious fashion.
Judging from Johnny now, based on my extremely limited interaction at the store, he's not too heartbroken by the one that got away.
A Music Store for Serious (and Not-So-Serious) Collectors
The second half of Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff is a music store that features everything from musical instruments, decorations, toys (anyone in the market for a fully articulated Freddy Mercury?), cassettes, CDs, and records to name a few.
When I met with Johnny at the store we spent some time talking about records and he excitedly ushered me over to his collection to share some of his favorites as well as others that are incredibly rare and worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. (So record collectors take note- this is an untouched gem to go visit now.)
The real shock to me was that the bulk of the collection for sale at Johnny's is just a fraction of the records he owns in his $500,000+ collection, and most of the ones that are on sale are duplicates that have never been played- the rare ones included.
Overall, Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff is a fantastic store to have in the North Side, and its new location is perfect for those who enjoy the offbeat. So next time you visit the North Side, you would be wise to head on over to Columbus Avenue to pay Johnny a visit. You won't regret it.
Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff is located at 1800 Columbus Avenue in the North Side, next door to Bicycle Heaven. Be aware that the store sometimes closes unexpectedly when Johnny has a gig.
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