People Still Mourn The Passing Of Tower Records


May 16, 2017All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Recordsdescribes the arc of Tower’s fall: worth $1 billion in 1999, Tower was bankrupt by 2007.

This acclaimed documentary about the iconic record chain — directed by actor Colin Hanks — gives the viewer these basic facts immediately. 

People of a certain age remember Tower Records as a kind of an agora — it was a compelling marketplace to which people who enjoyed music and collecting records, tapes and CDs gravitated. Young people wandered the aisle; celebrities were often seen there. “Everybody in a record store is your friend for 20 minutes,” Bruce Springsteen explains. “It’s a place where your dreams meet the listeners.”

Elton John was more direct. I spent more money in Tower Records than any human being,he admits.

But even though he and many others considered it “a ritual” to go to the record store, the company’s days were numbered. No one foresaw the effect that the internet and streaming devices would have on record sales. Even the pleasures of visiting one of the stores could not save the chain.


Russell Solomon, who started Tower Records, admits that he could not have imagined how quickly streaming music would affect the music industry. He and many others miscalculated the need for a physical “store” for providing music and companionship for its customers.

In addition to John, Solomon and Springsteen, Hanks interviewed Dave Grohl, David Geffen, Chuck D., and Chris Cornell, among others.

DVD and Blu-ray bonus features include deleted scenes and additional interviews — from the legal battle to preserve the old Tower Records location, to a history of its famous marketing murals on Sunset Blvd.

All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records is available on Blu–ray of DVD, or you can stream it immediately on Amazon Video.


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