Tag: recording

Requiem for a Record Store

 

All Things Must Pass, a documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records, is worth a look. It’s one of those interesting stories that are relevant to me because it’s ephemeral and generational. It’s like watching a doc about free weekly newspapers thick with ads, repertory movie theaters that showed old films, or even as recent as video rental stores; all things that were big in “our” time — baby boomer’s time — and have since faded. But whatever age you are, you may find it of interest.

I’d wondered how they managed to get interviews with people like Bruce Springsteen and David Geffen until I found out the director was Tom Hanks’ son Colin. As Colin’s dad nostalgically depicted in That Thing You Do, back when I was a kid, records were sold in places like TV and radio stores, department stores, and five-and-dimes (a pretty anachronistic phrase now).

A few record stores existed mostly for the classical and jazz fans (I can’t really call them “crowds”) and were smallish hobby and collector stores. We boomers have lived through the whole era of the giant record superstore, rock-driven places like Sam Goody in New York and Tower Records, which started in 1960 in Sacramento and made its first giant leap to San Francisco in 1967. Its early claim to fame was completeness; every record, every genre. That’s what the owners liked to see as the Tower difference, its contribution — a deep catalog, which was as much a commitment to being willing to move, inventory, and stock a lot of things as it was to fuzzier concepts that sound good in today’s interviews, like musical diversity.

A Good Shellacking

 

DamagedCDROn April Fool’s Day of 2003, the folks at NPR’s All Things Considered and the Library of Congress teamed up for an epic prank. They announced that the LOC was in the process of transferring its entire music collection to 78rpm records.

“The whole history of recorded sound has been a case of one technology leapfrogging over a previous one,” (explains reporter Rick) Karr. “But in the last few decades, the changes from vinyl to tape cassette to CD to MP3 have shortened the life span of most music collections. “But thanks to a grant from the Smolian-Giovannoni Foundation, all of these audio formats are being transferred onto 10-inch wide, 78 rpm shellac disks — the one rock-solid format archivists have identified that works every time.”

Even today the story, still found in NPR’s online archive, gets an occasional, “Can this be real?” inquiry.

Did Donald Sterling Tape Himself?

 

Reported in the LA Times yesterday, but not really noted in our earlier discussion on the taping of Donald Sterling.

The site is also reporting that sources who have heard the entire hourlong recording say Sterling absolutely knew he was being recorded. TMZ Sports has reported Stiviano has said she has more than 100 hours of recorded conversations with the 80-year-old Sterling, who is said to have used the tapes to refresh his memory because he frequently forgot what he said.