“We spent a lonely night at the Memory Motel / It’s on the ocean, I guess you know it well.”
So sang Mick Jagger on “Memory Motel,” immortalizing the long, low-slung structure in Montauk’s downtown on the Rolling Stones’ 1976 album, “Black and Blue.” Rehearsing for their 1975 Tour of the Americas while camped at Andy Warhol’s Church Estate, the band, according to legend, was attracted to the Memory Motel for its pool table and piano.
A somewhat obscure track in the band’s immense catalog, the song is nonetheless a favorite, and with good reason. Wistful and slow in tempo, filled with oblique references to an affair — possibly with the singer Carly Simon — “Memory Motel” is an exquisite ballad among the slashing, raunchy, and downright dangerous music of the “world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band.”
Indeed, we do know it well. “The Memory,” as the business is commonly known, was reborn several years ago with the introduction of live music to the bar. It has proven wildly popular, and Brian Kenny, who became the business’s principal owner last year when he purchased the building from Arthur Schneider, is continuing the tradition with an active summer schedule.
“We have live music and professional D.J.s every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” Mr. Kenny said. “We will be working with D.J. Matty Nice heavily — the D.J. sets are so important to what we do. We will also have live music Saturday afternoons during our new Day Bomb party.” The music on Memorial Day weekend kicks off on Saturday at 3 p.m. with Winston Irie, followed by the Michael Jazz Trio.
With Chris Reenock, his best friend and fiance of his sister, Mr. Kenny saw the Memory Motel as a timeless and iconic brand, and a perfect opportunity to participate in Montauk’s exploding popularity. All signs, he said, point to the motel’s 13 rooms being sold out during peak season.
The building, Mr. Kenny said, dates to 1926, constructed by a sea captain in memory of his son, who perished at sea. “A memorial headstone is on the west side of the building embedded in the foundation,” he said, “and the map on the stage wall outlines all the captain’s journeys.”
Unsubstantiated rumors of the motel’s history recall more Stones lyrics: “The ballrooms and smelly bordellos / And dressing rooms filled with parasites / Onstage, the band has got problems / They’re a bag of nerves on first nights” (“Torn and Frayed,” 1972).
“Old timers have told us that during World War II, a bordello was run at the Memory for sailors based in Montauk,” Mr. Kenny said.
Today, such activity has receded into history — if it happened in the first place — but the bands, nervous or not, will be entertaining the throngs that fill Montauk’s downtown throughout the summer. Revelers packing the bar may even hear a Rolling Stones song or two.