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OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: dmay ()
Date: March 24, 2021 16:48

Sweet read re a possible comeback for Tower. For a number of us, those were the days, wasting a Saturday afternoon at the record/CD store, sampling various sounds in little listening booths or through headphones used by how many other people before you. I used to take a coffee and lunch with me into some stores as I knew my day was gonna be spent there looking for god knows what in the record/CD bins.

[slate.com]

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: Irix ()
Date: March 24, 2021 17:35

Tower Records coming back now - but wasn't really away .... [Tower.jp] .

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: 24FPS ()
Date: March 24, 2021 17:38

Yes, ONLINE. You can go anywhere and buy stuff online. We have something called Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, and in the Bay Area. It's a huge space, and has used and new actual records and CDs, DVDs, books, t-shirts, posters. It's just like Tower was, without listening booths. (I guess you could go online on your phone and sample cuts on YouTube).

It's wonderful, and we're very lucky to have it. Almost all independents, chains, and Tower, and Virgin brick and mortars have disappeared. Electronics stores are dying. And Covid hasn't helped!

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: March 24, 2021 17:49

One of my favorite stores when I was in the USA for either work or vacation. At Tower Records I could even find "weird" music for my son, like Cyprus Hill, Woo Tang Clan, etc. Good to know they are (still) around in case North America is (corona) free territory again winking smiley

I'm a GHOST living in a ghost town

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: Hairball ()
Date: March 24, 2021 18:23

The last time I was in a Tower Records was about 20 years ago at the location on Topanga Blvd. in Woodland Hills in the valley, and lo and behold across the aisle looking at cd's was none other then John McVie.
He had a stack of about 20 cd's to purchase, and seemed that whatever tickled his fancy, he continued to pile them on. The final tally must have cost him a pretty penny, but just a drop in the bucket for him.
I didn't bother him as he looked quite content to be browsing around incognito - plus he looked a bit disheveled and like he had a hangover lol.

As for Amoeba in Hollywood, I just read they're about to have their Grand re-opening at their new location at Hollywood Blvd having moved from Sunset Blvd.

_____________________________________________________________
Rip this joint, gonna save your soul, round and round and round we go......

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: March 24, 2021 18:30

I too remember the listening booths in the original Tower Records Watt Avenue Sacramento store. Those went away by about 66 or so if I recall correctly. Tower used to be a great store for deep catalogue but then they went the way of mass merchandisers and it was steep downhill from there. The only one I went to after about 1980 was the one on Columbus in SF, they had a good reggae buyer there who would get stuff no one else had, mostly from Fat Shadow in the UK. Not much else even in that store was very unique by then though.

Amoeba was the upstart in Berkeley around that time and drove a couple of better shops out of business (Leopolds and their basement shop for one), but Amoeba soon became the giant of the area. Great shopping but again, by 2000s, had pretty much run its course and moved the good stuff down to Hell-A.

jb

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: loog droog ()
Date: March 24, 2021 18:34

My first visit to Tower Records, (and driving past all those billboards advertising albums on Sunset) in 1974 felt like a trip to Oz. It was huge compared to the other record stores I frequented. The chains that each had their own style: Licorice Pizza had more of a hippie vibe, with wood crates and shelves and that smell of patchouli. The Wherehouse was much more sterile--modern,and steel and glass. Both of them (Music + would come later) were very good, and there were also some great independent stores, some that even sold bootlegs. But the selection at Tower was unbeatable...the amount of imports they sold was a revelation!

I have so many happy memories of the Tower on Sunset, and buying records after seeing shows at the Whiskey or the Roxy...getting James Brown's autograph at an in-store appearance (surprisingly small crowd in 1980), finding import singles while hunting down a rare B-side, and seeing musicians (like Cheap Trick) who were just there shopping like anyone else. When they expanded and built other Tower locations that were closer to my home, I would go to them frequently. Browsing. Learning. Discovering. In the years before they closed, I actually worked close enough to three different Towers that, if I ate in my car on the way there, I could get to and back (with 20 minutes to browse) during my lunch hour!

Those were the days.

Yeah, I miss Tower. The documentary on Tower called All Things Must Pass was fantastic, and the ending (spoiler alert) that it still exists in Japan was heartwarming. I found an old Pulse! magazine(the Tower-produced free givaway) in the garage and I was startled how good it was. Because it was free, I didn't save them, and now I see they go for big bucks on eBay.


Four years ago my wife were on vacation, dining at a restaurant in Dublin. She says to me, "Hey, did you see that? That woman was carrying a TOWER RECORDS bag! I had no idea they were still around there! We looked it up, and paid it a visit...magic! Sometimes you can go home again. Dublin is a wonderful city with many great things to see, but looking at our pics, the biggest smile on my face can be found on the photo of me standing in front of Tower Records.

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: MizzAmandaJonez ()
Date: March 24, 2021 19:17

Keith did an in store appearance at the one on Sunset in the 80s

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: kowalski ()
Date: March 24, 2021 19:19

Quote
Irix
Tower Records coming back now - but wasn't really away .... [Tower.jp] .

Buying my CD's & records there every week.

A Tower Records in Japan :


Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Date: March 24, 2021 19:59

Those dudes at Tower on Sunset didn't have many days off......


Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: Fernandobsas ()
Date: March 24, 2021 20:08

In my case when a was on vacations in places like New York or London i spent more time in Tower Records than in the museums.

We have 2 Tower Records stores here in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

First time I enter in Tower Records was at the Berkeley Store, bought tikets there for an Ozzy Osbourne concert at the Oakland Coliseum.

Bye
Fernando

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: FrogSugar ()
Date: March 24, 2021 20:29

I used to work at the one in La Jolla, CA.

They would make all employees rotate tasks, so everyone ended up having to work on the classical/jazz side of the store, which had a glass partition so that they would hear different music from the "rock side" of the store. I hated working in classical; customers would ask me questions about jazz/classical albums and I'd be all "sorry, but I have no idea at all!"

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: georgie48 ()
Date: March 24, 2021 20:44

Quote
kowalski
Quote
Irix
Tower Records coming back now - but wasn't really away .... [Tower.jp] .

Buying my CD's & records there every week.

A Tower Records in Japan :


From what I can read, that store has been around for only 8 years. Apparently TR is doing well in Japan. My personal experience on record stores in Japan is that the CD sections are shrinking, vinyl is growing and so are computer games.

I'm a GHOST living in a ghost town

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: 24FPS ()
Date: March 24, 2021 21:41

Quote
georgie48
Quote
kowalski
Quote
Irix
Tower Records coming back now - but wasn't really away .... [Tower.jp] .

Buying my CD's & records there every week.

A Tower Records in Japan :


From what I can read, that store has been around for only 8 years. Apparently TR is doing well in Japan. My personal experience on record stores in Japan is that the CD sections are shrinking, vinyl is growing and so are computer games.

The only thing I collect now are the Japanese SHM CDs. Some of them are amazing. I just got Led Zeppelin's debut album. It really is the hammer of the gods.

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: Toru A ()
Date: March 25, 2021 01:10

from Shibuya, Tokyo



Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: March 25, 2021 01:49

I bet that is way better selection than we will ever see at, for instance, the Carnaby Street official store. Probably not as many diapers and such though.

jb

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: treaclefingers ()
Date: March 25, 2021 03:58

Quote
Manofwealthandtaste
Those dudes at Tower on Sunset didn't have many days off......


I bought my vinyl copy of Bridges to Babylon there in 97; there for the second night at Dodger Stadium.

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: March 25, 2021 06:07

8 days a week

jb

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: timbernardis ()
Date: March 25, 2021 06:23

Quote
24FPS
Yes, ONLINE. You can go anywhere and buy stuff online. We have something called Amoeba Records in Los Angeles, and in the Bay Area. It's a huge space, and has used and new actual records and CDs, DVDs, books, t-shirts, posters. It's just like Tower was, without listening booths. (I guess you could go online on your phone and sample cuts on YouTube).

It's wonderful, and we're very lucky to have it. Almost all independents, chains, and Tower, and Virgin brick and mortars have disappeared. Electronics stores are dying. And Covid hasn't helped!


There's Rasputin's in Berkeley and I think another location or two in the Bay. Is Leopold's still around?


plexi

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: daspyknows ()
Date: March 25, 2021 06:25

I remember the Tower Records in Berkeley which was next to the electronics store Uncle Ralphs. Spent lots of money there back in the day.

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: timbernardis ()
Date: March 25, 2021 06:26

Quote
Hairball
The last time I was in a Tower Records was about 20 years ago at the location on Topanga Blvd. in Woodland Hills in the valley, and lo and behold across the aisle looking at cd's was none other then John McVie.
He had a stack of about 20 cd's to purchase, and seemed that whatever tickled his fancy, he continued to pile them on. The final tally must have cost him a pretty penny, but just a drop in the bucket for him.
I didn't bother him as he looked quite content to be browsing around incognito - plus he looked a bit disheveled and like he had a hangover lol.

As for Amoeba in Hollywood, I just read they're about to have their Grand re-opening at their new location at Hollywood Blvd having moved from Sunset Blvd.


I don't think they will have as much space as at the old location, tho. Correct me if I'm wrong.


plexi

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: timbernardis ()
Date: March 25, 2021 06:33

Quote
jbwelda
I too remember the listening booths in the original Tower Records Watt Avenue Sacramento store. Those went away by about 66 or so if I recall correctly. Tower used to be a great store for deep catalogue but then they went the way of mass merchandisers and it was steep downhill from there. The only one I went to after about 1980 was the one on Columbus in SF, they had a good reggae buyer there who would get stuff no one else had, mostly from Fat Shadow in the UK. Not much else even in that store was very unique by then though.

Amoeba was the upstart in Berkeley around that time and drove a couple of better shops out of business (Leopolds and their basement shop for one), but Amoeba soon became the giant of the area. Great shopping but again, by 2000s, had pretty much run its course and moved the good stuff down to Hell-A.

jb


I wouldn't say that. There is still a lot of good stuff at the Amoebas in Berkeley and in the Haight in San Francisco. LA too.

You answered my question about Leopold's.

The original Tower Records was on 16th and Broadway in Sacramento. Next to the Tower Theater which is still in existence I think. The Watt Avenue and other stores came later. This is all documented in that recent documentary (2015) All Things Must Pass. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was born and raised in Sactown a couple of miles from Tower on Broadway.


plexi

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: timbernardis ()
Date: March 25, 2021 06:42

Quote
Fernandobsas
In my case when a was on vacations in places like New York or London i spent more time in Tower Records than in the museums.

We have 2 Tower Records stores here in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

First time I enter in Tower Records was at the Berkeley Store, bought tikets there for an Ozzy Osbourne concert at the Oakland Coliseum.

Bye
Fernando


In Buenos Aires?? Really?! Cool! If I ever get to my Stones Holy Grail shows there, I will be sure to look them up, when I am not at the Tributo Bar, that is.

I met Joe Strummer and one of the other members of the Clash at the Tower Records in Berkeley when I was a student there on the occasion of their first Bay Area appearance, prolly on their first American tour, tho I m not certain of that. It was totally unexpected, just happenstance, and all I had was a blank page out of a class notebook for them to sign, and they did. That now resides inside of a plastic cover of their first (I think it was) LP. I also took a couple of quick fotos.


plexi



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2021-03-25 06:46 by timbernardis.

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: timbernardis ()
Date: March 25, 2021 06:52

The Amoeba stores have just huge Stones CD sections, like 7 to 10 rows, divided by era, 60s, 70s, etc. and then within that, a section with little headings for EACH ALBUM. The one in LA especially is particularly large. Last visit was in October 2019 and I was able to pick up a bunch of Abkco 2002 hybrid SACDs. Including Inaugural Editions with the COAs, for whatever they're worth. I've been after a complete set, and that visit furthered my goal by quite a bit. Never got them back in 2002.


plexi

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: Hairball ()
Date: March 25, 2021 07:31

Quote
timbernardis
Quote
Hairball
The last time I was in a Tower Records was about 20 years ago at the location on Topanga Blvd. in Woodland Hills in the valley, and lo and behold across the aisle looking at cd's was none other then John McVie.
He had a stack of about 20 cd's to purchase, and seemed that whatever tickled his fancy, he continued to pile them on. The final tally must have cost him a pretty penny, but just a drop in the bucket for him.
I didn't bother him as he looked quite content to be browsing around incognito - plus he looked a bit disheveled and like he had a hangover lol.

As for Amoeba in Hollywood, I just read they're about to have their Grand re-opening at their new location at Hollywood Blvd having moved from Sunset Blvd.


I don't think they will have as much space as at the old location, tho. Correct me if I'm wrong.


plexi

From the Amoeba website:

"We're moving to 6200 Hollywood Blvd! We're going to take up a huge ground level space on the corner of Hollywood and Argyle in the new “El Centro” complex in downtown Hollywood.
This is just 2 blocks east and 2 blocks north of our former location, and right next door to the Fonda Theatre so we'll be easy to find"!

-------------------------------------------------------------

And not sure of exact dimensions, but by the looks of this pic from Spin Magazine, the new location does appear to be huge and filled to the brim with goodies.

More.> Amoeba



_____________________________________________________________
Rip this joint, gonna save your soul, round and round and round we go......



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2021-03-25 07:32 by Hairball.

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: jbwelda ()
Date: March 25, 2021 09:51

>The original Tower Records was on 16th and Broadway in Sacramento. Next to the Tower Theater which is still in existence I think

No, that is incorrect. The "original" tower "records" at that site was in the Tower Drugs store which Russ Solomon's father owned at the corner of 16th and Broadway. He started a little record sales thing there before expanding to Watt Avenue, the first real Tower Records store. Then the second opened across the street from Tower Drugs at 16th and B'way. That's why there is often confusion about where the real "original" Tower Records was, the closeness of the second store to the real origination of the brand, even though their first true store was ten or so miles northeast at Watt and El Camino.

I know. I was there. Or somewhere close by. Have known more former employees of the place than I can shake a stick at. The Tower Theatre is still there but a shadow of its former self with the space sectioned off into 3 or more theatres and no real spacious theatre space anymore, and always on the block for new owners it seems.

There is a Rasputin's currently in Stockton now.

That "all things must pass" bit of post mortem BS was a real laugh. Saw a number of people I knew or know in it. Most of what was presented was either whitewashed or made up from whole cloth, though if you listen carefully they will verify what I say above about what was "original".

Last I was in Amoeba in SF I was terribly disappointed. The long time reggae buyer for there and the Berk store has long since departed and in their place they have nothing really, so that whole genre of music is underrepresented as never before. Don't know about the berk store but I don't think i will be back to the SF store anytime soon, not worth the trip, for me at least. I might be surprised if I took a good hard look in the rock section, but I don't really have the patience for that so much anymore. More better down in the Rasputin's bargain basement. Still a thrill for the tourist trade though.

jb

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: timbernardis ()
Date: March 27, 2021 03:43

Quote
Hairball
Quote
timbernardis
Quote
Hairball
The last time I was in a Tower Records was about 20 years ago at the location on Topanga Blvd. in Woodland Hills in the valley, and lo and behold across the aisle looking at cd's was none other then John McVie.
He had a stack of about 20 cd's to purchase, and seemed that whatever tickled his fancy, he continued to pile them on. The final tally must have cost him a pretty penny, but just a drop in the bucket for him.
I didn't bother him as he looked quite content to be browsing around incognito - plus he looked a bit disheveled and like he had a hangover lol.

As for Amoeba in Hollywood, I just read they're about to have their Grand re-opening at their new location at Hollywood Blvd having moved from Sunset Blvd.


I don't think they will have as much space as at the old location, tho. Correct me if I'm wrong.


plexi

From the Amoeba website:

"We're moving to 6200 Hollywood Blvd! We're going to take up a huge ground level space on the corner of Hollywood and Argyle in the new “El Centro” complex in downtown Hollywood.
This is just 2 blocks east and 2 blocks north of our former location, and right next door to the Fonda Theatre so we'll be easy to find"!

-------------------------------------------------------------

And not sure of exact dimensions, but by the looks of this pic from Spin Magazine, the new location does appear to be huge and filled to the brim with goodies.

More.> Amoeba



Yeah, does look huge, could be bigger, but it's hard to tell from a picture. I see in the Spin article that there will be an upstairs again, or, half a floor up.


plexi

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: timbernardis ()
Date: March 27, 2021 03:59

Quote
jbwelda
>The original Tower Records was on 16th and Broadway in Sacramento. Next to the Tower Theater which is still in existence I think

No, that is incorrect. The "original" tower "records" at that site was in the Tower Drugs store which Russ Solomon's father owned at the corner of 16th and Broadway. He started a little record sales thing there before expanding to Watt Avenue, the first real Tower Records store. Then the second opened across the street from Tower Drugs at 16th and B'way. That's why there is often confusion about where the real "original" Tower Records was, the closeness of the second store to the real origination of the brand, even though their first true store was ten or so miles northeast at Watt and El Camino.

I know. I was there. Or somewhere close by. Have known more former employees of the place than I can shake a stick at. The Tower Theatre is still there but a shadow of its former self with the space sectioned off into 3 or more theatres and no real spacious theatre space anymore, and always on the block for new owners it seems.

There is a Rasputin's currently in Stockton now.

That "all things must pass" bit of post mortem BS was a real laugh. Saw a number of people I knew or know in it. Most of what was presented was either whitewashed or made up from whole cloth, though if you listen carefully they will verify what I say above about what was "original".

Last I was in Amoeba in SF I was terribly disappointed. The long time reggae buyer for there and the Berk store has long since departed and in their place they have nothing really, so that whole genre of music is underrepresented as never before. Don't know about the berk store but I don't think i will be back to the SF store anytime soon, not worth the trip, for me at least. I might be surprised if I took a good hard look in the rock section, but I don't really have the patience for that so much anymore. More better down in the Rasputin's bargain basement. Still a thrill for the tourist trade though.

jb


well jb, you're mincing words here. It depends on what you consider to be a "record shop." It had its origins in the drug store which was Tower Drugs at or near 16th and Broadway, so generically speaking, it was the first location of Tower Records, from which all the other locations derived and followed.


plexi

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: exil ()
Date: March 27, 2021 08:57

I remember David lee roth climbed a mountain they constructed on top of sunset .to promote his album skyscraper. With two chicks in bikinis

Re: OT: Remember Tower Records? It's back
Posted by: MadMax ()
Date: March 27, 2021 13:49

Quote
Toru A
from Shibuya, Tokyo




That's how it should look! We used to have it like that back in the 90's, sweet as!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2021-03-27 13:49 by MadMax.

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