Saturday, April 16, 2011
Happy National Record Store Day!
Today is National Record Store Day, an annual celebration founded in 2007 as the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music.
While independent record stores continue to flourish in big cities and college towns, most of the record stores I remember with great fondness no longer exist, falling victim to the big box stores, the popularity of music downloads, the internet, the economy and, of course, the millions of music buyers who don't know what a record even is!
I am, and have always been, an utter music junkie. Growing up, I spent countless hours at Sam Goody stores in various shopping malls in New Jersey, and during high school, I spent a great deal of time and money at Jack's Music Shoppe in Red Bank, NJ. I used to get my hair cut down the street from Jack's, and every time I'd get my hair cut, I go shopping at Jack's. I used to buy record albums and 45s (remember those) like they were going out of style.
One of the reasons I decided to go to college at GW was because there was a Tower Records store on campus. And although the "records" part increasingly was crowded out by cassettes and CDs, music was still king. Between Tower Records, Kemp Mill Records, Olsson's Books & Records, Serenade Records and Melody Records, Washington, DC was a fantastic place to be a music buyer. It makes me sad to think that other than Melody Records, all of these places have closed, making way for Panera, Potbelly, coffee shops and banks. (And of course, Tower became a CVS. They really did pave paradise and put up a parking lot.)
Of course, I'm guilty, too, because since I decided to go digital in 2005, the only CDs I've bought have been online, used CDs I can't get on iTunes or elsewhere. But much like bookstores, although I've wanted to support the independent stores, when you can't find the selection you want, you migrate online.
So today, let's honor our cherished record stores, play some of our favorite old songs, and remember the simpler times. For me, one of the greatest things was when the record album's liner notes had song lyrics.