All Things Must Pass: The Story of Tower Records

Author: Bill Dudley

Everyone who bought music whether it was on record albums, singles, CDs, 12 inch singles or cassettes more than likely visited Tower Records more than once.

Hard to believe Tower Records has been gone almost a decade now, as a retail outlet.

Tower Records started as a small record section in a drugstore at the busy corner of 16th and Broadway in Sacramento. By the late 1960’s, there were several Tower Records outlets that were virtually warehouses of music. Tower always hired smart, knowledgeable clerks with an expertise in at least one genre of music.

It was Elton John’s favorite record store. The famous Sunset Strip location even opened up early, (or stayed open late) to accommodate Elton, as he was one of it’s best customers.  Elton and Bruce Springsteen are just two of many who are featured in the new Colin Hank’s documentary film All Things Must Pass, which was the sign hung on the Watt Avenue location in Sacramento of Tower in it’s closing days in 2006.

Hanks has done an excellent job of documenting the rise and fall of probably the greatest record store dynasty of them all. You will see the clerks,buyers,store designers, managers,and even the founding father of Tower, Russ Solomon.

Many of my friends worked at Tower locations in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Berkeley, over it’s nearly 50 year run. Tower even expanded overseas to London, Tokyo,Thailand and many other locations.

Tower Records still has no less than 25 stores in Japan, under new ownership, as is Tower.com.

All Things Must Pass is a poignant title for the end of an era, and a must see for music fans and collectors.

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