Column

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

Easy Ed's Broadside

Exploring music without a map.

Since 2009, Ed has shared his thoughts on ND about music that touches him, and rambled hither and yon about what else is on his mind.

Russ Never Sleeps: Sharing Memories of Tower Records

I saw the obit in the Times yesterday where Mr. Solomon said the "dumbest" thing he ever did was to not go public.   Unfortunately it wouldn’t have forestalled the end but it could have delayed it.   It doesn’t sound like he started Tower to hand over his company to shareholders though.      

If you've not seen 'All Things Must Pass' yet, try and track it down. Russ and others are pretty candid about the ups and downs of their decisions. And the last ten minutes of the film will reduce you to tears. 

I saw it a few years ago when it was on Netflix for 10 minutes.    It was a great documentary.    If I remember correctly I believe it said the Japanese stores are still open.    

The Japanese stores still stand. Not Russ', but the tribute they paid to him when he went to visit was heartwarming.

Showtime On Demand currently has "All Things Must Pass" running...Netflix also has it, though it isn't currently available in the US on the site...I believe there are wasy to stream it though.

I'll be fitting that in amongst all the basketball, but I'm definitely going to watch it Ed...

Are you familiar with the former Canadian chain called "Sam the Record Man"?   They were similar to Tower in that they were family owned, had several huge stores and stocked them high.    Their Toronto flagship was on Yonge Street just north of the Eaton Center and had an iconic sign in front.   It too was a fun store to shop.        

They ran into problems in the late 90's, entered bankruptcy and closed down in the mid 00's.   My Canadian friends were devastated.   I think the only thing worse would be if Tim Hortons closed.          

My lord...I was just talking about Sam the Record Man the other night to a friend. 

I remember this when it ran originally Ed...it's a fine piece, and reminisces fondly while paying tribute...nicely done... 

All the hours I spent in record stores...

Great headline!  I also recall your original piece.  

Don't think I ever really stepped foot in a Tower store until the mid 90's, not sure they were in the Chicago market much earlier than that? Will have to hunt down that documentary about Tower.

Ed, I know we've discussed 3rd St. Jazz & Rock before, that was my go to for the few years I lived on N. 3rd in Philly a few blocks north of the store. Sounds like Tower was like that but even more exhaustive per store?

Jerry Gordon's 3rd St. Jazz (and later Rock) were jammed with music but only a fraction compated to the average Towers' square footage and selection.  I don't know what Jerry is up to these days, but my ex saw him a year or so ago and said he looked fine and healthy. 

Ironic that Russ passed away as many of us are realizing those records we so lovingly bought,listened to, and collected are seen as odd physical artifacts and unwanted by our kids/the streaming generation.

Edit-Of course EasyEd, trendsetter man and former ne'er do well, previously began throwing his collection overboard and has written about it on this very sinking ship.

Sorry for the delay...I was busy adding this week’s releases to my streaming library. Apropos to your comment, Forbes just declared the album format dead in all configurations. I predicted that a long time ago but was premature...and I still think we’re not quite ready to stick a fork into it. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bobbyowsinski/2018/03/10/album-dead/#362e45...

Interesting read-thanks for the link!

Edited from the article:

Album sales were down to 169.15 million copies sold (in 2017) according to Nielsen Music. This includes all forms of the album including CDs, digital albums, vinyl LPs, and cassettes. Compare that to 1999, when 939.9 million CDs alone were sold.

I hadn't read any statistics but those numbers are stunning.  That's a > 80% decrease in albums sold in less than 20 years!  

In 1978 my wife and I were finishing an extended trip around N.America in San Francisco and were buying some records to bring back to the U.K. Ihave just checked my diary and see that on August 17th  we visited Tower records and bought amongst other things the unlikely combination of Patti Smith's Because the Night and Steve Martin's King Tutt.   It was a great store. 

Nice album anecdote!   Smith's Because the Night holds up nicely. Martin's King Tutt? Tut-tut!!

Oh come on “he got a Grammy buried in his jammies” What a lyric!

that was when he wore an arrow on his head too...just because...

Ah yes, those were the days......when every drunk in a bar was a "wild and crazy guy" and felt obligated to tell you so.

Jorge and Yortuck...the Festrunck Bros.

and every drunk wanted women to show them "your big American breast'seses"...

nothing like the classics...

 

When I was a young married guy (early '70s), a visit to Tower was often our Saturday night night out. Meet people, listen to new stuff, maybe a new LP, or tickets to an up-coming show and back home hours later thoroughly invigorated and tired.

Were I to inventory my existing LP colection, I'm sure that >95% of it came from Tower.

Bless ya, Russ.