Lately I’ve been going through a lot of my old favorite artists on Qobuz and Amazon music. And they’re all here. all of them. It’s so mind-blowing. And it caused me to think how large the libraries of music are that are available to us now. Back in the 80s when I was a teenager music was such a commodity. It was so expensive and dear. And also harder to get a hold of. Back then the second British Invasion was happening. And there was a lot of interest in British and European bands. These were the bands I loved the most, but it wasn’t easy to get a hold of it. the regular record stores usually didn’t have their music and you’d have to go to a store that had an import section like The Warehouse or Tower Records. And back then it was illegal to have it, I don’t know how they did it.
But these import sections were small. Most of the time they didn’t have the bands or albums I was looking for. One big help during this time were the record clubs, like Columbia House or BMG. They would specialize in the more rare bands and music we were hearing on stations like KROQ or WLIR and Mtv. And they had these outrageous deals where you could get 11 albums at once and have to buy seven more albums in three years time. And I would wait for the sales to come out and fulfill my obligation with cheap albums lol. How they made money I don’t know. And I would cancel my membership and re-sign with 11 more albums lol.
But even they didn’t have everything. So I would have to go looking for the privately owned record shops. The mom and pop shops that were helmed by “cool" looking guys who you were surprised would even give you the time of day. And you had the shops that were close by and you had the ones that were far away. The ones that were close by had a smaller selection but bigger than the import section at Tower Records. Then the farther away shops had an even larger selection.
So it went: regular record store < record store with import section < Columbia House records club < close by mom and pop record store < farther away private record store. The best store near me was Peanut Records in Torrance. Then Goboy Records in Manhattan beach. And the farthest was Bleecker Bob’s in Hollywood. Bleecker always had what I was looking for but it was far to travel. I usually had a list that I would bring with me and as much money as I could gather. even then I couldn’t get everything I wanted. Now everything is available via the streaming services a click away. We’re so fortunate these days.