Farewell to Tower

I’m numb at the news that Tower Records is going out of business.

When I was in high school, the first thing I would do with each weekly paycheck was spend part of it at Tower Records in Concord. I still have 12-inch singles with 1986 Tower price tags on them.

Later, while taking a year off from college, I worked for seven months at Tower Books, the sister store of that Tower Records.

The bookstore in Concord closed years ago. Now the music store will be gone soon as well. That whole vibrant culture I loved — the myriad bins of albums and singles; the excitement of finding almost any piece of music I knew to look for; the smart, cynical staff; the colored foamcore band promos; the yellow-and-red bags — all gone.

I wonder where Liane is now…

5 Responses to “Farewell to Tower”

  1. Rob Booth Says:

    I think record stores lost a lot of appeal when the records were replaced by CDs.

  2. Steve Says:

    Rob: I agree. I didn’t shop much at Tower after the 7-inch single was phased out.

  3. M1EK Says:

    I disagree – I still thought Tower was a big deal at the beginning of CD time. The drastic expansion of selection at the Best Buys of the world was the first nail in the coffin; the second, of course, was the internet – I didn’t really stop going to Waterloo until the second nail, but the first might have hurt the record stores as much as the second did – siphoning away the truly profitable buyers.

  4. Steve Says:

    M13K: I know you’re not a big fan of iTunes (at least not the client), but being able to buy single songs through iTunes brought back for me the excitement about music I felt in the late ’80s when I was buying singles at Tower. For 10 dollars, I can explore 10 different threads of music rather than gambling it all on one album and hoping for the best (my shelving job pays less than your clerking job, so these things matter for me).

  5. M1EK Says:

    Actually, I love the itunes client; I just hate the stability/playability issues in the last couple updates. They did a superb job at providing a good interface to my large music collection exactly the way I want it.

    And I probably have less truly disposable income than you now, with the house and the dog and the stay-at-home wife and the two kids… but thankfully I can still get the huge tarball of SXSW mp3s every year.

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