9-26-12 On The Road Pt. 4
Bryan Ferry born 1945
When did I “discover” used record stores? I can’t remember exactly, unfortunately. But I probably first saw them in the late 60’s or early 70’s; stores actually selling promotional records (i.e. records not intended to be sold, “promos”). But super low cost really opens the door up to a lot more recorded musical experimentation. Records for 25 cents, instead of $2.98! “Cut Outs” in drug stores for $0.87, $1.98 or _____ ! And, yes, some of my permanent ‘adult’ record collection did come from ‘drug stores’ like Thrifty Drug, Rexall etc. (That’s where I first found John Cage’s “Indeterminacy”!).
My brother told me about record stores in Hollywood, CA. I think that’s where he found his British records. At the end of the 60’s, Hollywood Blvd. was “past it’s prime”, but there were still probably 10 records stores, all within a few blocks of each other. Vogue Records, Phil Harris Record Shop, Lewin’s Record Paradise, “Pacific Discount” and several more, the names now lost to the mists of time. Yes, my dad took me there.
I’d already seen Tower Records in San Francisco (2525 Jones St.), but I was really excited to discover that they had opened a store on the Sunset Strip! Finally! A big “chain store” that seemed to specialize in “rock music”. And they had “imported” records, too!
The Phone Book Years: With each new phone book that came out, I could find out about newly opened record stores! “Phonograph Records – Wholesale and Retail”, I believe the yellow pages section was called. I knew that any city had to have record stores – thus began the “Rip ‘em out of the phone book” phase of my record collecting eternal search. I could go to “new cities” and find record stores in this manner! But… how to go to new cities? I wouldn’t drive for a few more years!
Licorice Pizza now had competition: Out of the ashes of “American Records”, the Wherehouse chain was born. For a while, it seemed like there were Wherehouse stores everywhere (in 2012, I believe there’s just one remaining Wherehouse; Licorice Pizza is long gone, from 31 stores down to zero).
My first cassette “deck” (after having had only a small hand-held cassette player / recorder), reel-to-reel deck #2 (stereo this time!), my own first turntable (a Garrard?)…
I wish I could remember the exact sequence of all of my sound equipment! I know my first ‘real’ speakers didn’t come until about 1975 or so! My parents had cars that had 8-track tape players in ‘em. One more format, throw it on the pile! In 1972/3/4, my dad bought a Panasonic “Quad” system, 4 speakers, a quad 8-track player etc. I do remember playing with it, but I don’t think we had very many “hip” tapes; the music I wanted to hear was European. Dad’s squaresville Quad 8-tracks didn’t really count.