Monday, March 05, 2018

RIP Russ Solomon

Tower Records was a special store.  I first became aware of it when I moved to California from Germany in 1975.  I kept hearing about this store in the San Francisco Bay Area that had every record (not that much of an exaggeration) you wanted.  But it was an hour away, and who would drive me there?

The Monterey Peninsula did have one interesting Record store in the 70's, Odyssey Records.  From the inside it seemed to pattern itself after Tower Records.  Like a smaller version.  

It wasn't until the Summer of '77 that I finally made it to Tower.  The first album I bought there was the Isley Brothers' Go For Your Guns.  But I also remember them having a display of that week's Billboard Hot 100 singles.  As someone who had just subscribed to Billboard that year, this was an amazing thing to see.  

Trips to Tower after that were sparse.  Not until 1982, when I got my drivers license did I go back on a regular basis.  And in the years after, started to go monthly.  It was around this time that I began to get interested in Rock 'n' Roll history.  And what better store to stock up on catalog titles then Tower.  Time rolled along and I continued to go there once a month.  But then suddenly it was over.  Tower shut down (I went one last time before they closed).  A victim of the Internet and lower priced stores like Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart. 

But we could use a store like Tower nowadays.  CD's are getting hard to find (in my neighborhood anyway), and online has become the only way to shop for them.  The stores that I mentioned above?  They are dwindling their CD sales to the bare minimum titles.  

Tower's not coming back, but Russ Solomon's death Sunday at 92 years old, did bring out a bunch of nostalgic feelings among us avid record buyers.

It was a hell of a record store.

For more on Solomon check out the 2015 documentary All Things Must Pass: Rise and Fall of Tower Records
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