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Jason Drake

Tower Records - Sunset Strip 1971

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Mindblowing!

The best record shops over here were a bit smaller but not THAT much smaller ... but the overall atmosphere was very much the same. So this does bring back memories.

And hey ... most of the staff at the local #1 secondhand record shop even TODAY look like they bought their garb at the same time and place (and have kept it ever since) where those Tower employes bought theirs ... :rofl:

Only the record prices aren't the same anymore ... not by a LONG shot! <_<

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Looks like they were doing a 'special' that day on George Harrison's box.

Excellent store to visit, especially for Japanese Blue Note CDs. Other than CDs in place of LPs, it hadn't really changed that much by the 1990s. It was pretty well my first port of call every time I set foot in LA and, heck, they even did free parking !

Edited by sidewinder

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Mindblowing!

The best record shops over here were a bit smaller but not THAT much smaller ... but the overall atmosphere was very much the same. So this does bring back memories.

Zweitausendeins circa 1980?

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Fascinating.

I love the hand made price tags!

At least with mp3s the handlers don't get back injuries or box cutter scars.

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Mindblowing!

The best record shops over here were a bit smaller but not THAT much smaller ... but the overall atmosphere was very much the same. So this does bring back memories.

Zweitausendeins circa 1980?

No, Zweitausendeins always was mail-order in the first place and they had no local shop back then (and the one they had later - and which closed down a while ago - always was minuscule).

But we had several fairly large and well-stocked record shops (incuding one - even larger - with 3 outlets) that even attracted (collectible and niche-music-minded) regular customers from far out of town.

Edited by Big Beat Steve

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Those were the days. I miss the thrill of going into huge brick and mortars and coming out with undreamed of treasures. I remember my first trip to a Tower Records - Fisherman's Wharf area in San Francisco, ca. 1977, I think. And being blown away by the three story + annex one on South Street in Philly. And my amazement when they opened one in suburban Philly (King of Prussia) walking distance from my house. Always looked forward to the monthly Pulse magazine also and the all-label sales in January. This is the golden era as far as being able to locate/obtain stuff, but not in terms of the shear enjoyment of the quest.

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This is the golden era as far as being able to locate/obtain stuff, but not in terms of the shear enjoyment of the quest.

I agree. While the internet has opened the world up so you can find that obscure Finnish Jazz LP or that rare Japanese experimental LP; it has pretty much killed the record store experience for me.

At least in my area all local stores have every single somewhat "collectible" album priced at, or in most cases above, eBay prices and usually in worse condition. It used to be fun years ago to walk into a store to see what surprises you'd find lurking in the racks undetected by others...those days are long gone!

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...damn...

I was in that store once, in 1982. Spend twice the time & four times the money I had budgeted.

On the one hand, that’s a LOT of clutter. On the other hand, that’s a LOT of music.

And on either hand, that’s a LOT of people leaving the house and buying recorded music.

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Personally, I miss the Virgin Megastore more than any others. Their selection during the CD era was out of this world. Stopping in there at midnight on our way home from City Walk was always a blast. Such a great atmosphere. I put together the majority of my Coltrane collection from there. Often leaving with anywhere from 4-8 discs each trip.

While I've gone the way of minimalism these days, there is certainly something to be said for the record store experience.

Edited by Scott Dolan

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ugh...Virgin was too expensive, esp at the end.

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Really?

I always paid $13-15 a CD.

I bought my Charlie Parker Complete Savoy & Dial Recordings box set there for $110.

Seemed like going rates at the time (this was late 90's through 2001).

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The Tower on Sunset will always hold a special place in my heart. I found so much great stuff in there (and spent obscene amounts of $$$)... I must have stopped by there at least once a week.

Amoeba is great, but Sunset Tower was something else.

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A couple of my Miles Davis CD box sets came from there. They were 'on special' and way cheaper than the UK shop prices at the time (pre-internet shopping).

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On the one hand, that’s a LOT of clutter. On the other hand, that’s a LOT of music.

I had the same thought... a LOT of music. And yet they played the Sly Stone tune twice. :shrug[1]:

For most of my LP-buying life, I had a Tower store only about two miles away. In the 70's, I pretty much lived there. By the time of the CD revolution, it wasn't one of their bigger stores, and I was frequently driving 50 miles to SF or Berkeley to find the "good stuff".

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I visited Los Angeles in August of '73, and dropped by the Sunset Tower.

I remember what I bought, too: Mark Murphy's first Muse album Bridging a Gap and an import, If 4. Both were new releases at the time, as far as I knew.

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Really?

I always paid $13-15 a CD.

I bought my Charlie Parker Complete Savoy & Dial Recordings box set there for $110.

Seemed like going rates at the time (this was late 90's through 2001).

2001 wasn't the end, was it? Seems like the NYC stores were charging 18 or 19, so after taxes it would be more than $20 for a single CD. Those stores closed in 2009.

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You said they were expensive, especially at the end. So that implies you meant they were always expensive, just more so right before they closed. The store I shopped at was in Downtown Disney. Nothing is cheap there, obviously. But in the years I shopped there the prices were comparable to every other outlet.

They may have gotten more expensive in later years, I don't know...

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They did get more expensive at the end. The store by me was charging $1 over list price, and nothing was ever on sale except for the latest pop hits, and they no longer carried the deep catalog they had earlier. And they had stopped publishing the Pulse! magazine. It became just another store, and I actually stopped going a year or two before they closed. But in their prime, they were a marvel.

Edited by felser

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Yeah, our local one was fantastic back in the day. They had a monsterously deep catalog as well. The night I walked out with Coltrane's Live In Japan was a mind blower. Who the hell would stock that?! Doesn't surprise me that the catalog thinned out, but the price increases are somewhat confusing. That completely defies the laws of supply and demand.

BTW, the Downtown Disney Virgin Megastore started out life as a Tower Records.

Edited by Scott Dolan

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Yeah, our local one was fantastic back in the day. They had a monsterously deep catalog as well. The night I walked out with Coltrane's Live In Japan was a mind blower. Who the hell would stock that?!

Tower. I got my CD copy at the Princeton Record Exchange in '91.

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I was also pleasantly surprised by the Tower in Vegas. Not as deep as the one on Sunset (but what was?), however, a lot of Japanese imports and grey-market LPs. A. lot.

Even cooler, though, was the used store in Vegas, the name of which I do not remember. These guys were open 24/7, and had a ridiculously deep inventory for an indie all-used place. This was 1981-82. Apparently people did bring their records to Las Vegas in case they needed extra cash. That would be me today, no flashy Rolexes or bling, just a bunch of records. And of course, all of them worth about 50 cents each in a market like that today...assuming that there is one, which I doubt there is.

But yeah, get paid on Sunday morning at 5 AM after the last show in the lounge, what else is there to do than go to the used record shop and/or go eat breakfast?

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Yeah, our local one was fantastic back in the day. They had a monsterously deep catalog as well. The night I walked out with Coltrane's Live In Japan was a mind blower. Who the hell would stock that?!

Tower. I got my CD copy at the Princeton Record Exchange in '91.

None of the Tower Records that I visited in Florida did. Neither did Sam Goody's or Peaches. You'd be lucky to find one that had more than 8-10 Coltrane titles.

Stores may have been better where you are, but in the culturally impoverished shithole known as The Sunshine State, Virgin was king of the hill.

Edited by Scott Dolan

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I actually got my Coltrane Concert In Japan at a cool little indy place near where I work. With policies like that, you can understand how they went out of business early in the game when the big guys moved in, but that store was great at the beginning of the CD era . When I want to hear Trane live from that period, that is the title I tend to go to.

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I can't speak to the 70s, but I do look back fondly on the 90s when I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours browsing at record stores both chain and independent. That said, it is indeed worth remembering that the chains-- Tower and Virgin included-- priced CDs through the roof at this time, to say nothing of the Imports section. I remember the ill-fated Blockbuster Music priced CDs at 18.99 in the mid-90s. The dream selection outweighed this, I suppose, but still.

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