Beatle Bob, St. Louis Dancing Legend, Has Died

Concerts in St. Louis will never be the same

Jul 28, 2023 at 12:55 pm
Beatle Bob leans forward in a dance move.
Beatle Bob is dancing in the afterlife now.
A St. Louis icon has passed on to the big dance floor in the sky.

Love him or leave him, everybody in St. Louis knew Beatle Bob.

Known for his black mop top, polyester suits and aggressive dancing, Robert “Beatle Bob” Matonis could be seen dancing in the front row of concerts all over St. Louis (and beyond) for the past 25+ years.

He seemed to be everywhere always — from concert venues to street festivals — dancing to the beat of his own drum in front of any stage with a live band. Spying him and his retro dance moves (“throwing the dice” was a common one) at an event was a favorite pastime for St. Louisans for decades. It was kind of like playing “Where’s Waldo” except you always knew were to find Bob — down in the front row absentmindedly elbowing anybody in his immediate vicinity as he danced it out.

Some considered him a nuisance (for a few different reasons), but to his credit we will say that he was always happy to take a picture with somebody or to share all of his (truly impressive) knowledge about the history of rock and roll.

His dance moves were cruelly taken away by Lou Gehrig’s Disease (also known as ALS) a couple of years back, and Matonis had spent many of his last months in the hospital. (No matter how you felt about the guy, you wouldn’t wish ALS on your worst enemy.) When word spread of Matonis' illness, many in St. Louis flocked to his bedside to pay their respects and share a hug or two.

Beatle Bob’s sister shared the news of his passing online just a few hours ago. Here’s a screengrab from Facebook:

If there’s a heaven (and a forgiving God), Beatle Bob is certainly dancing wildly inappropriately right now in the front row of the big concert celebrating Sinead O’Connor’s return this week.

Our condolences to all who loved him. This St. Louis legend will never be forgotten.

This story has been updated.

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