George Manney, 64, a true Philly rock pioneer, and latterly an archivist of the town's musical history, died Wednesday night at Fox Chase Cancer Center, after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer the week before.
The drummer's passing was a big blow to the Philadelphia music scene. A veteran of the weekly J.C. Dobbs jam sessions, he was a key player in the city's music scene going back to the late 1960s and an obsessive chronicler of Philly music history. He had been long at work in creating a museum of rock, amassing a huge collection of souvenirs of his and other musicians' careers. It was housed in boxes in his famous "Bunker," the basement of his home.
Starting in the late 1960s, Manney drummed with his band Stone Dawn at The 2d Fret, The Trauma, and the original Electric Factory. Acts for whom he drummed included Alan Mann, Beru Revue, and Kenn Kweder. In the 2000s he played drums with Robert Hazard and Charlie Gracie.
Manney began the far-famed Last Minute Jam, a weekly gig involving many Philly musicians that began at Khyber Pass in Old City, and moved in 1987 to J.C. Dobbs. He was also the creator, in 1986, of Geo Sound, a well-known production company and center for his many musical activities.
In 1992, Manney was struck by a car while crossing Roosevelt Avenue. That led to months in the hospital and six years in rehabilitation. But he learned to play drums again, and the brush with death - plus the passing of his mother in 1998 - firmed his resolve to create the rock museum.