Video: Tower Records, 1971


I first visited a Tower Records store as a teenager, and would find myself spending much more time–and money–there when I was lucky enough to get a job just a few blocks away. When it became f.y.e. it was sad, but at least still similar to the old store. What was really sad was the destruction of the historic building, which had been built in 1929. I documented its end:


Wow. I discovered them in Manhattan in the 80s. I had no idea they were from that far-off land, nor so very old.

Come to think of it I’ve been in that Tower – near Vanderbilt, correct?

First one I visited was the Sunset Blvd. store, in 1986. Velvet Underground’s Another View was on the endcap.

That’s the one! Directly across the street from the Vanderbilt campus, in fact. And it’s really not just the building. About half of that whole block has been turned into a massive luxury hotel.

Yeah, I went through there a year ago and couldn’t figure out where that had been – didn’t know the building was gone.

I also remember eating at a deli over there (about 13 years ago) – my grandfather ordered a tongue sandwich and I joked “how do you know which is which?”

Wow, $3.33 for an album? According to an inflation calculator on the 'net that’s around $20 in today’s money. Minimum wage (adjusted) was nearly $9. Maybe new vinyl these days isn’t that pricey…

Tower Records is still going strong here in Japan.

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This film was digitized and made available by the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (where I work). We are so glad to see it making the rounds online! The film is from the Center for Sacramento History which holds the Tower Records archives. Tower Records was started in Sacramento.

If you want more AV from the archives, there’s lots more in our collection at : and we occasionally highlight items on our Facebook page:

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