I’m kind of sad about the disappearance of record stores where you could get almost anything but I don’t mind ordering CDs online or downloading single tunes. I was never one to go to a record store and talk music anyway. I always relied on word of mouth, radio stations and, going way back now, magazines like Rolling Stone. Today it’s my satellite radio, Amazon recommendations, and other online sources. So while I sympathize with the sentiments in this article I’m not sure if things are really that bad. Admittedly, I could be very wrong given that I have a whole lot less time for music than I did 15 or 25 years ago.
My best music store memories here in Springfield have to come from the old Co-op Records and Tapes. I first went into that store when it was on Second Street just south of South Grand. I may have been in 8th grade or maybe a freshman in high school. I was amazed at all the albums with fantastic covers from bands I had never heard of.
Later in high school, Co-op moved to the northwest corner of 9th and Cook. It was there friends and I would get all our recorded music, check out the latest High Times centerfolds they had pasted on the wall, and get our concert tickets for the upcoming show at the Armory. All the music I was interested in was under one roof. Those were also the days before it was illegal to sell paraphernalia like bongs and pipes and Co-op always had a nice display at the front counter. You could get your tunes, concert tickets (with no Ticketmaster fees) and your rolling papers all in one place! Awesome.
I also have a fondness for the old Musicland the once occupied a space on the second floor of the Mall next to what was then Myers Brothers. It was one of the original stores in the mall when it opened in 1977 and was located right across the hall from the bookstore in which I worked my senior year in high school. For what it’s worth, the only 8-track tapes I ever bought were from that store.
Musicland not only sold records and tapes, they also sold stereo systems. That meant we had music wafting over all the time. And after-hours, while cleaning and straightening, crank it up dude! I kind of got to know the guys that worked over there and I would occasionally talk music with them. I’ll never forget the night I was helping close up when the Musicland guys closed the gate to their store and put on a brand new album by a brand new band called Van Halen. They had it up very loud (up to 11, I think) and Eddie’s guitar riffs on Eruption about literally blew the 17-year-old me away. The next day I was among the first humans to own a Van Halen record.
And I might add all is not lost today. We still have Recycled Records downtown. I haven’t been there in years but it’s nice to know it’s still in business even in this internet/digital age.