Nickel Revolution, B Sharp Music and Superstar Jim Lopes

Posted: November 19, 2011 in 1966

Every Twin Cities rock musician in the 1960’s was familiar with B Sharp Music in northeast Minneapolis on Central Avenue and B Sharps’ superstar proprietor, Jim Lopes. He was a promoter extraordinaire with immense sales ability, and a story teller with an extra measure of charm.

Jim Lopes was a musician, but he didn’t sell his instrument of choice in his B Sharp Music store. He was an accordion player. Most everyone that visited B Sharp would not easily forget the charismatic, sharkskin suit wearing, hair-slicked-back Jim Lopes. For giggles every once in a while, Jim would break out his accordion and entertain the young rockers and visions of Lawrence Welk danced in our heads. (If you do not know who Lawrence is, do not bother searching online.)

B Sharp was the leading dealer of Fender guitars and amps and expanded into the European lines of instruments as the British Invasion hit the USA. Jim Lopes was aggressive at locating and securing the instruments that were transforming the music scene such as the products used by the Beatles; Rickenbacker guitars, Hofner bass, played by Paul McCartney and Vox amplifiers and keyboards. One of the biggest publicity stunts that Jim Lopes pulled off was to present a Rickenbacker guitar to the Beatles during their only Minneapolis appearance in August, 1965.

 

One of the greatest things that Jim Lopes did for local bands was to promote them and his store at the same time. Included here you will see small publicity photo cards that Jim printed up for groups. He included the B Sharp name on the cards and as the bands passed out their cards, B Sharp was promoted. 

After your band became a significant client of B Sharp Music, Jim Lopes would pay for painting your van (as long as it was a late model van) with the group’s, logo, booking agency and a small block was reserved for the B Sharp name. This was a great deal for the bands and for B Sharp. As the Nickel Revolution went through several vans, each time, Jim paid to have the vans painted.

 

He extended his branding to putting the B Sharp name painted on the Fender amps. We’ve included a photo of Louie Lenz’s Guild guitar and Fender amp and you can see the B Sharp name prominently displayed.

 As the other music dealers in the Twin Cities woke up to the super-promoter, Jim Lopes, their offerings to help promote local rockers became more lucrative. In the end, The Nickel Revolution had moved its business to Park Music and the band endorsed Sunn Amplifiers. We will include more details in future posts.

 

In closing, it is important to mention Jim Lopes’ favorite pass time of playing high stakes poker. It is rumored that Ron “Honeybear Hort won some equipment in a game with Jim and we are awaiting his “story.”

We welcome your comments and feedback on this blog. You can post here and share this with your friends via Facebook and Twitter (see easy links). If you want to email us any questions or comments: NickelRevolution@gmail.com

Listen to The Nickel Revolution now on You Tube

Link for Sweet, Sweet Lovin’: Sweet, Sweet Lovin’

Link for Treat Her Right: Treat Her Right

See these great websites for further insights to Twin Cities bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s:

http://www.jeanneandersen.net/musichighlights.html

 http://minniepaulmusic.com/

© 2011 © 2012 Jerry Lenz, Lenz Entertainment Group All Rights Reserved

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Comments
  1. Marlene Greger says:

    I danced on the TV show called “B Sharp Beat”. Do you have any information or pictures from that show? Bill diel and Nancy Nelson were the hosts.

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