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(SacBee)   Tower Records founder dies at 92 while drinking whiskey and heckle-watching the Oscars   ( amp.sacbee.com) divider line
    More: Hero, Sacramento, California, Solomon, Michael Solomon, Russ Solomon, Tower, Michael Toby Solomon, Russell M. Solomon, father Clayton Solomon  
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1975 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 05 Mar 2018 at 5:05 PM (32 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2018-03-05 05:03:29 PM  
at least he died knowing his company will long outlive him

oh...
 
2018-03-05 05:12:45 PM  
OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH how Tower Records once ruled my farking face!

the one on ASU campus (whcih is now a razed flat lot), I fell in love with the Beatles there. U2!  Coltrane. So many farking bands.  then the one in Mesa - I met the B52s there juuuuuuuuuuuuust as "Cosmic Thing" had come out but wasn't huge.  they autographed a cassette tape I think may still be at my parent's house.  oh the hours (and dollars!) i spent there.  circa 2005 or so it closed.  it is now a dollar store or some shiat.

Tower.  Great memories.....RIP dude - you kinda changed my life indirectly.
 
2018-03-05 05:14:16 PM  

Dead for Tax Reasons: at least he died knowing his company will long outlive him

oh...


Oh, Tower Records is still around.

Btw, All Things Must Pass is an awesome documentary about Tower Records.
 
2018-03-05 05:25:24 PM  

mcmnky: Dead for Tax Reasons: at least he died knowing his company will long outlive him

oh...

Oh, Tower Records is still around.

Btw, All Things Must Pass is an awesome documentary about Tower Records.


Isn't Empire Records based on some stories by former Tower Records employees?
 
2018-03-05 05:27:07 PM  
"....he was giving his opinion of what someone was wearing that he thought was ugly...."

img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2018-03-05 05:30:20 PM  
I had a two-sided relationship with Tower Records.

We used to come in from the suburbs of Boston where the record stores were mostly in malls or were smaller chains.  They carried everything you could want from Bon Jovi.  But if you were into Black Flag or the Dead Kennedys, Agent Orange, Dag Nasty, Husker Du....there was usually one "token" album they would carry.  For Black Flag it was always "The Process Of Weeding Out."

Really?  The instrumental album?

Cruise on into the Big City on the train and hit Newbury Street with Tower on the end and they had everything you wanted.  You would find EVERYTHING from the artist's catalog there.  And then they started carrying imports with rare b-sides and remixes.....it was a killer.  I remember the first time I had a credit card rejected was at Tower in Boston.

The downside?  Man, they killed you with the prices.  If it wasn't on sale or marked for a deal you knew it was going to be bad.  $16.99?  $18.99?  Nearly every damned time.

Which is why there were two used CD places right near there in the city that did GREAT business.  We'd come into the city with our shopping list of bands and albums and would hit there first, get what we could at a discount and then head over to Newbury Comics which generally sold the non-mainstream things we liked at a bit of a discount (as well as used).  If at the end there was something on your 'must have' list that you hadn't picked up....you're going to Tower.

Oh, they'll have it.  You know they will.   But it's gonna hurt.  Alot.
 
2018-03-05 05:30:51 PM  
Colin Hanks' documentary on Tower Records is pretty interesting. I drive by two of their earliest locations all the time.
 
2018-03-05 05:30:59 PM  
Idiot. He should have watched Letterman with his nurse.

img.fark.netView Full Size


Obscure? Nunca. Nunca en seis anos.
 
2018-03-05 05:34:03 PM  
"I'm sorry if Tower Records' and Blockbuster's sales plummet. On the other hand, it wasn't that long ago that those megastore chains drove a lot of neighborhood record stores out of business."[12
 
2018-03-05 05:46:05 PM  
My last visit to Tower many years ago, I remember picking up a laser disc and thinking, 'who the hell is going to spend this much for a movie?'  I did drop a lot of money in that place over the years though.
 
2018-03-05 05:56:16 PM  
Our tower was over the hill from college about 15 minutes away, boy we spent a lot of money there in the early 80s. Good times tho. I found out theyd gone down when i just...went to tower ten years back to find it...closed!

I love being able to download anything and play it, the best toy is a logitech bluetooth adapter that ties into my big bad ol' stereo...
 
2018-03-05 06:06:47 PM  
I'd regularly blow entire paychecks at Tower.

The one near me was pretty damn awesome.  They moved locations one day and suddenly had a used CD section.

I don't know what happened, but a ton of rare and brand new imports ended up in that section priced for $8 a piece.  That was an entire paycheck too, of course, but I walked away with Bad Company UK's "Inside the Machine," tons of Moving Shadow, Formation, and other drum n bass albums.

Plus it was one of the few places you could find stuff from Muslimgauze, Coil, NWW, etc.

And I bought all my Chain Reaction cd's there, even if they did file them all in rock music for some reason.  Luckily those metal tins stuck out like a shining jewel in the bins.
 
2018-03-05 06:09:21 PM  

Gubbo: Isn't Empire Records based on some stories by former Tower Records employees?


Mmm....1995 Liv Tyler and Rene Zelweigger
 
2018-03-05 06:16:53 PM  
Please let me go out like this! Pease let me go out like this! Please let......
 
2018-03-05 06:17:36 PM  

rickythepenguin: the one on ASU campus


I loved that one on Mill and University! Their magazine section alone got me into so much music I had never heard of. The only place at the time where you could get stuff like NME from England. A friend of mine worked there for a few years and always passed along some of the free swag they got. I still got my Portishead beanie with the big 'P' on it!
 
2018-03-05 06:20:49 PM  

ninjawhinger: Please let me go out like this! Pease let me go out like this! Please let......


Certainly not the worst way
 
2018-03-05 06:22:22 PM  
Tower was my go-to place for midnight releases until one time when a security guard decided to follow me through the store for half an hour, watched me check out and then insisted he look through the bag that he just watched the cashier hand me. They were dead to me from that point forward. I could just as easily walk up the street a couple of blocks and spend my money at Dr. Wax instead. Or Second Hand Tunes, or the other Second Hand Tunes, or Video Beat, or Gramophone, or over a couple of blocks to Reckless.
 
2018-03-05 06:32:04 PM  
Damn the man, save the Empire!
/May or may not have the wrong record store
 
2018-03-05 06:36:49 PM  

Mugato: Gubbo: Isn't Empire Records based on some stories by former Tower Records employees?

Mmm....1995 Liv Tyler and Rene Zelweigger


Don't be sleeping on my girl Robin Tunney!

/even if she was bald in that movie
 
2018-03-05 06:38:54 PM  

TempeSun: I loved that one on Mill and University! Their magazine section alone got me into so much music I had never heard of. The only place at the time where you could get stuff like NME from England. A friend of mine worked there for a few years and always passed along some of the free swag they got. I still got my Portishead beanie with the big 'P' on it!


ha.  yup.  do you mean the 'currently a vacant lot' location, or the still standing iteration in the vacant strip mall t the 'other' end of the stirp mall? the 'original' closed around...pffft.....1996 or so and moved to the new location.  that location went OOB around......2005-2008.

the original ssite, that "half" of the strip mall was razed - but the other  half still stands as i said - around, man, a long farking time ago. 2000?  for farking ever ago.

last i heard, there was talk of USA basektball putting some kind of facility there but that fell through.
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/u​s​a-basketball-move-to-arizona-in-doubt-​after-collapse-of-usa-place-deal-with-​asu-6652595

no idea what the current plan is. drove by it no more than 2-3 weeks ago.  a huge flat dirt lot.  kinda made me wistful........
 
2018-03-05 06:42:48 PM  

Hoopy Frood: Tower was my go-to place for midnight releases until one time when a security guard decided to follow me through the store for half an hour, watched me check out and then insisted he look through the bag that he just watched the cashier hand me. They were dead to me from that point forward. I could just as easily walk up the street a couple of blocks and spend my money at Dr. Wax instead. Or Second Hand Tunes, or the other Second Hand Tunes, or Video Beat, or Gramophone, or over a couple of blocks to Reckless.


In that neighborhood,  at the time, Tower was always an afterthought
 
2018-03-05 06:46:55 PM  

rickythepenguin: ha. yup. do you mean the 'currently a vacant lot' location, or the still standing iteration in the vacant strip mall t the 'other' end of the stirp mall? the 'original' closed around...pffft.....1996 or so and moved to the new location. that location went OOB around......2005-2008.


I remember (and this is digging through a lot of hazy memories) when it was on the western end of that strip mall. Right next to Mill.

I haven't been back in AZ in a few years, but last time I was around that area, everything in that strip mall was still abandoned except for that damn Chili's on the corner!
 
2018-03-05 06:50:54 PM  

biscuitsngravy: Mugato: Gubbo: Isn't Empire Records based on some stories by former Tower Records employees?

Mmm....1995 Liv Tyler and Rene Zelweigger

Don't be sleeping on my girl Robin Tunney!


Oh yeah I forgot about her, from The Craft.

Mmm....1996 Fairuza Balk
 
2018-03-05 06:58:38 PM  

TempeSun: I remember (and this is digging through a lot of hazy memories) when it was on the western end of that strip mall. Right next to Mill.

I haven't been back in AZ in a few years, but last time I was around that area, everything in that strip mall was still abandoned except for that damn Chili's on the corner!



ha.  the 'new' location.

and yeah that Chili's building is still there.  the buildings are all there but all vacant.  that's prime real estate.  just north of universoty there's a huge 10-15 story high rise. that whole area is overdeveloped - meanwhile across the strett, that entire plot is just vacant.
 
2018-03-05 07:12:47 PM  

rickythepenguin: ha. the 'new' location.

and yeah that Chili's building is still there. the buildings are all there but all vacant. that's prime real estate. just north of universoty there's a huge 10-15 story high rise. that whole area is overdeveloped - meanwhile across the strett, that entire plot is just vacant.


That is crazy. For as much as that whole ASU area has grown, I am surprised some fat cat hasn't come along to buy that whole lot. That is prime real estate! Right down Mill at the waterfront, there are damn near skyscrapers already!

I must have been to the original location too but I sure don't remember it. Again, pretty fuzzy memory. But I graduated high school in '92 and remember spending tons of time down at Mill right around that time.
 
2018-03-05 07:26:36 PM  
Skarekrough:

The downside?  Man, they killed you with the prices.  If it wasn't on sale or marked for a deal you knew it was going to be bad.  $16.99?  $18.99?  Nearly every damned time.

___________________


"As part of a 2002 settlement with 41 states over CD price fixing Tower Records, along with retailers Musicland and Trans World Entertainment, agreed to pay a $3 million fine.[7] It is estimated that between 1995 and 2000 customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album"-wiki
 
amb
2018-03-05 07:29:28 PM  

mcmnky: Dead for Tax Reasons: at least he died knowing his company will long outlive him

oh...

Oh, Tower Records is still around.

Btw, All Things Must Pass is an awesome documentary about Tower Records.


I'll second that recommendation for the doc. I'm surprised he lived this long after watching the movie. I guess cocaine and alcohol are the fountain of youth.
 
2018-03-05 07:32:26 PM  
I grew up hanging out at the Tower stores on Watt Ave in Sacramento. Music, psychedelic posters, paraphernalia... they had it all

/RIP Russ
//Thanks for the good times
 
2018-03-05 07:53:16 PM  
Never had a Tower Records in Calgary, but we had a great store called Megatunes.  Would walk along 17th Ave. from my apartment on payday with $100 and a wishlist of five new CDs that were written up on their Upcoming New Release chalkboard at the register.

Spent so much money there.  The smart older manager dude guided me when I was getting into the blues.  How else would a university kid in Calgary Alberta hear about Eddie Cleanhead Vinson?


Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson & Cannonball Adderley - Backdoor Blues ( Full Album )
Youtube zTEfFNhj-9w
 
2018-03-05 08:13:50 PM  
He will be buried in a coffin encased in an oversized cardboard sleeve to make it harder to try and walk out of the funeral home with him smuggled under a coat...
 
2018-03-05 08:16:37 PM  
Tower was the only venue for the high school punk mini-scene that sprang up in my hometown in the late 90s-early 00s. It was a duplex unit with Records in one side and Books on the other with a sure way between the two. Books closed so Records expanded and put a little stage at the back of the shop. The store was open till midnight on weekends so starting at about 7pm you could book time in 30 min blocks for free plus 15 minutes to set up and tear down. It was pretty cool.
 
2018-03-05 08:35:33 PM  
Bought my first music at Tower Records (Men at Work "Cargo") and paid for my teaching credential working there almost 15 years later.

RIP and thanks Russ.
 
2018-03-05 08:38:01 PM  
The San Francisco Tower is still a happy memory from my youth. It was awesome. First time I had seen that much music in one place.

Seemed like he was an awesome dude. The world is worse off without him.
 
2018-03-05 08:46:50 PM  
Another failed business man. GOOD RIDDANCE
 
2018-03-05 08:49:12 PM  
Dude was a legend here. We should have a memorial or parade or something for this guy. I bought records, posters, books, magazines, games and many other things at his stores on Watt Ave. Never a rip off, vast selection, always something weird and fun people.

/ I miss America. Not sure what this is right now.
 
2018-03-05 08:51:06 PM  
I have a lot of great memories of early mornings waiting in line with my young kids (single parent) to get tickets to concerts. The kids always kept everyone amused. My best memory by far though was when Metallica did a free concert in the parking lot of the Tower near me in 1996. It was announced on one local rock radio station the day before. Me and my kids rode our bikes there. We got there just as it started and found some friends further back from the stage. Eventually my 11 year old son got bored and asked if we could get closer to the stage. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to get closer as it was raging pretty good already. He said yes, he was sure. I left my daughter with friends and we headed for the stage. Naturally, as we got closer to the stage, it got a little dicier. Shopping carts were being passed over our heads on their way to the stage (a flatbed big rig trailer). Eventually he said that was enough and we headed back to friendlier ground.

When we got home, I had the kids call my out of state ex and tell her we just got back from a Metallica concert.

Metallica Tower Records parking lot San Jose, Ca 6-4-96
Youtube Gj3crHzobvM
 
2018-03-05 08:51:15 PM  

NeuroticRocker: Another failed business man. GOOD RIDDANCE


Edgy.
 
2018-03-05 09:06:05 PM  
(csb)

First time I went into the city on my own, I headed straight for the Tower Records at Broadway and 4th St. This was during my college-radio phase, so my mission that day was to buy as many albums as I could afford, but only one per genre. I wander into the classical section and HOLY FARK IT'S JOE JACKSON, who appeared to be intently studying the Gershwin and I didn't want to be Interrupting Dork-Ass Fanboy.

It's those Tower assholes' fault I spent 20 years blowing paychecks at record stores. I thought "High Fidelity" was a biography.

(/csb)
 
2018-03-05 09:11:57 PM  
Eh. Tower was ok, but I cut my record buying teeth on a series of indie stores that had better prices and nicer staff. Recycled Records, Record Swap and Record Service, then Oarfolkjokeupos, Northern Lights, Let It Be and Garage d'Or. Even after I got to Chicago, there were plenty of better options on Clark Street, Rock Records ruled the Loop, and Reckless and Quaker Goes Deaf we're closest to home.
 
2018-03-05 09:25:38 PM  

Gulper Eel: HOLY FARK IT'S JOE JACKSON


wow awesome. i finally saw him 2 years ago.  the *ONE* song I was hoping to hear - "It's Different For Girls", as you a bit of a deep cut.....going to the show told the wife, "man, I would love to hear *this* song!", as it played in the car.  "but there;s no way he plays it."

FIRST SONG PLAYED!
 
2018-03-05 09:52:59 PM  
Tower was where I bought my first music, and it was the only option at the time growing up in the suburbs and before I could hop the BART to Berkeley and Amoeba Records.
 
2018-03-05 10:00:45 PM  
When I was in college I used to drive to Tower Records in Ann Arbor. Such a great store. So much to find and the magazine section with Fanzines was cool. This in the 3 store Borders.  It was heaven and worth my car breaking down every time I went due to a carborator issue when I went over 50.
 
2018-03-05 11:32:17 PM  
Market Street and Noe in SF. The Tower Records had some of the most offbeat videos, magazines and anime stuff. 2006? Was it that long ago?
 
2018-03-05 11:32:20 PM  

LewDux: "I'm sorry if Tower Records' and Blockbuster's sales plummet. On the other hand, it wasn't that long ago that those megastore chains drove a lot of neighborhood record stores out of business."[12


Tower was always a place that would have the things that the local chains and Mom and Pop shops weren't going to carry....like, ever.  If it was the mid-80's and you were trying to hunt up the Dead Kennedys or Government Issue you would get nothing but eye rolls at the counter and god-forbid you should try and order it.

It was eye-opening to be able to go in and find New Model Army or the Descendents...right there...and look at the track listing and artwork and make a decision as to whether you were going to buy it or not.
 
2018-03-06 12:14:39 AM  
I don't have fond memories of retails stores generally but for some reason I'm happy to have spent a lot of time at the original Tower, the one on Sunset and the one on Columbus.
 
2018-03-06 12:30:07 AM  

Skarekrough: It was eye-opening to be able to go in and find New Model Army or the Descendents...right there...and look at the track listing and artwork and make a decision as to whether you were going to buy it or not.


when John Lennon checked out the one (as me and Tempe Sun were going on about, above) they had all thebeatles albums - ALBUMS!!!!! - cassettes I don't recall were even a thing.....anyways....they had all the Beatles albums out,  my mom said "pick one".  I picked up this and that one - what i later learned were Pepper's, The Beatles, MMT.....and the one with just portraits on the front and the back, a bunch of silly portraits but of them laughing, winking, making funny faces....i chose that one.

still have it.

and later, i'd see what the new releases were.  what was Rolling Stone - when it cared, which stopped in hte mid 90s - talking about?  who's on "SNL" (before Lorne Michaels evidently jumped in bed with MTV or whatever shiatty farking act is the new hot thing that won't exist in 2 years)?  i can still see in my mind's eye the banks of cassettes, the odd LP racks....and then the *MAGICAL* CD banks.

Tower, man.

miss ya.

as the franchise was dying, not far from me one opened up.  Let's say 2005.  I was like,  "wow, Tower Records!"   it went under in no time fast.

it was vacant and, perhaps 6-8 months ago I drove by and the space is  a pool care place, daycare, home tile, Curves gym, or some shiat.  i thought, "y'know....you used to be a Tower Records...."
 
2018-03-06 01:06:12 AM  
There was a Tower Records within walking distance of the high school I went to. It was right off the freeway too. There was an embankment that ran along the freeway, from the main boulevard to the Tower Records. On that embankment overlooking the freeway was a trail, partly hidden by bushes and trees.

So on half days at school we'd walk to the Tower Records, go to the head shop they had inside, buy a pipe or something else, then go smoke out on that embankment trail, watching the cars go by. It was great, Tower Records didn't care if you were a teen. As long as you didn't act stupid and talk about getting high, they wouldn't kick you out.
 
2018-03-06 01:50:02 AM  

BunkyBrewman: Skarekrough:

The downside?  Man, they killed you with the prices.  If it wasn't on sale or marked for a deal you knew it was going to be bad.  $16.99?  $18.99?  Nearly every damned time.

___________________


"As part of a 2002 settlement with 41 states over CD price fixing Tower Records, along with retailers Musicland and Trans World Entertainment, agreed to pay a $3 million fine.[7] It is estimated that between 1995 and 2000 customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album"-wiki


This is why corporations ignore laws.  A three million dollar fine to offset five hundred million in profits.  Yeah, that sure showed them.

Fines should never be less than double the estimated profits of the ill-gotten gains.
 
2018-03-06 02:05:06 AM  
He will be missed. He was an amazing man that believed in a vision. Misplaced or not ( in his later years, thinking he could beat Amazon, Wal-Mart,  streaming music) he was always passionate.
 
2018-03-06 03:07:15 AM  

pnkgtr: I don't have fond memories of retails stores generally but for some reason I'm happy to have spent a lot of time at the original Tower, the one on Sunset and the one on Columbus.


First one was on Watt Ave. It made Country Club center. Now no one goes there except to go bowling.

/ I think Sam's Hoffbrau is still there? Maybe?
 
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