( AP ) - The musical icons who called this city home could fill a history of American popular song: Chuck Berry, Ike and Tina Turner, Scott Joplin.
Now, another ambassador of the St. Louis scene is drawing attention on concert stages from Austin to Amsterdam.
He doesn't sing or play an instrument. Instead, the gangly, 55-year-old overgrown adolescent known as Beatle Bob just may be the world's only full-time concertgoer. The nickname is a nod to the bowl haircut he's worn since the Fab Four first rocked his world during junior high four decades ago.
Robert Matonis beams with pride about his single-minded devotion, a streak of seeing live music every single night since Christmas Eve 1996. That's more than 4,075 shows.
Beatle Bob puts the fanatic in fan, calling his need to rock 'n' roll "part of my lifeblood."
His dedication, musical knowledge and geeky cool-by-association cred has led to cameos in music videos and hosting gigs at Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, South by Southwest, Glastonbury, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and more.
He dances like a man possessed. Hands flaying, feet shuffling, happily out of rhythm and blisfully oblivious to other audience members - including those whose views he blocks.
He almost always dances alone, usually right in front of the stage. And while the full-time fan has his admirers, plenty of other music lovers are fed up with what they consider churlish behavior.
"If you go to one or two concerts a year, he's fun to watch, like a sideshow," said Wade Alberty of St. Louis. "But if you go to a lot of shows, he can often be in the way more than entertaining."
Alberty grew tired of it. So he started an online petition and Web site imploring "Beatle Bob (to) sit down!" Nearly 300 like-minded fans signed on, offering unflattering stories about their own encounters.
"It's as if he tries to make a spectacle of himself instead of just enjoying the show," said Alberty, a writer and computer programmer. "I go to concerts to see the band. I don't go to see him."
Beatle Bob says he just wants to blend into the background - no easy task for a 6-foot-4 beanpole whose wardrobe consists of vintage suits and comfortable dancing shoes.
"It never fails to amaze me to get all this attention just for dancing," he said. "When I start dancing, people get over their own fear, and they come out on the floor."
Beatle Bob's encyclopedic knowledge has earned him plenty of admirers among working musicians.
Bill Davis, a New Orleans-based singer and guitarist for Dash Rip Rock, is among the fan's fans. The band even recorded a song, "Do the Beatle Bob," as an homage to his oft-kilter, rhythmically challenged dancing style.
"Beatle Bob would just come up with us on stage so often we just wrote a song for him," Davis said. "I do think he's sincere. He's got a deep knowledge of music."
Matonis' connections in the local scene led to what Davis called one of the highlights of his 30-year career - a chance to jam with the late Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry's piano player.
New York filmmaker Jenni Sterling has spent several years trailing Matonis for the upcoming documentary "Superfan: The Lies, Legend and Life of Beatle Bob."
Love him or loathe him, Matonis is truly one of a kind, she said.
"I think he's a pretty harmless, sweet guy," she said. "He has a childlike enthusiasm for music. ... But I recognize he can be a little frustrating if you see him every night."
Matonis' murky personal life only adds to the uncertainty. He claims to work with troubled teens as a state social worker, but government records show no such connection. He doesn't drive, instead taking the bus or bumming rides off friends.
His closest companions don't know where he lives, and Matonis offers no clues in a series of interviews. When hitching rides, he usually asks to be dropped off at a 24-hour diner or supermarket, or near his mother's house in suburban St. Louis.
At concerts, he usually scores a spot on the guest list by declaring himself a radio DJ or music writer. In some cases, the magazines he professes to write for have been defunct for years. Radio stations where he once worked disavow any current connection.
Matosis deflects questions about the inconsistencies in his background. He insists it's all about the music.
At a time when his peers are signing up for AARP, Matonis has no plans to slow down. He doesn't drink, smoke or eat meat, instead finding sustenance in black coffee with Equal and grilled cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread.
"As long as there are good bands out there, I'll keep going."