The Troy Street Observer

May 30, 1971: Fire Closes Lennie’s

lennie'sLogo

Just about all of the great jazz clubs described in The Boston Jazz Chronicles were inside the Boston city limits. Famous ones include the Savoy, the Stable, Storyville, and the Jazz Workshop. But one was way up in the suburbs. That was Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike, the club owned by Lennie Sogoloff, on the northbound side of Route 1 in West Peabody. On the morning of May 30, 1971, fire struck the club.

Firefighters broke through the roof to fight the blaze, which was confined mainly to the bar and dressing rooms, but the entire building suffered extensive smoke and water damage.

“You could say I am down, but not out,” proprietor Lennie Sogoloff told the Globe’s Bill Buchanan later that day. “This club has been my life since the early 50s and to see all the damage was a great shock to me. I just don’t know what direction we’ll take now. It’s something I’ll have to think about.”

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April 8, 1968: Gretsch Drum Night at Lennie’s

Image of Gretsch Drum Badge
Gretsch Drum Badge

April 8, 1968, witnessed the second Gretsch Drum Night at Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike on Route 1 in West Peabody.

The people at Gretsch Drums came up with an interesting promotion in the late 1950s, called Gretsch Drum Night. The idea was simple enough: round up a trio of drummers who are endorsing the company’s wares, put them on a nightclub stage with a newest set of drums and accessories, and have them each play singly with the house band, and together in thundering drum battles. What you got, remembered Lennie Sogoloff, was “a lot of noise…but they were all fruitful nights. All the drummers in town would show up.”

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