Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records (1925-2018)
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Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records (1925-2018)

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Tower Records - to be liquidated (and rise again) (28)

GUEST,paperback 05 Mar 18 - 10:43 PM
Joe Offer 05 Mar 18 - 10:51 PM
GUEST,paperback 06 Mar 18 - 12:12 AM
Thomas Stern 06 Mar 18 - 12:37 AM
Thomas Stern 08 Mar 18 - 10:00 AM
GUEST,Lin 09 Mar 18 - 12:25 AM
Jackaroodave 09 Mar 18 - 08:59 AM
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Subject: Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 05 Mar 18 - 10:43 PM

All things must pass: Russell Malcolm Solomon OBM

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Subject: RE: Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records (1925-2018)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Mar 18 - 10:51 PM

Here's the obituary article from our local newspaper, the Sacramento Bee

Russ Solomon, Tower Records founder whose mega-stores were a haven for music lovers, dies at 92

MAR 05, 2018 | 5:45 PM

Talk about the perfect coda: Tower Records founder Russ Solomon died with a drink in his hand and a smart-aleck remark on his lips.

The swashbuckling, visionary entrepreneur who built a global retailing empire and the most famous company in Sacramento history died Sunday night of an apparent heart attack. He was 92.

Solomon was watching the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night at his Sacramento-area home when he was stricken, said his son, Michael Solomon, the former chief executive of Tower.

"Ironically, he was giving his opinion of what someone was wearing that he thought was ugly, then asked (his wife) Patti to refill his whiskey," Solomon said. When she returned, he had died.

Russ Solomon was the guiding force behind Tower, the chain that revolutionized music retailing until it was swamped by iPods, big-box stores and other dramatic changes in the industry.

Tower went out of business in December 2006 after a second stint in bankruptcy.

As if to defy the digital forces that reshaped the music business, Solomon opened another music store just a few months later, on the very site of one of Tower’s flagship stores in Sacramento. But the encore fell flat, and he gave up after three years. Nonetheless, Solomon enjoyed a redemption of sorts as the star of “All Things Must Pass,” a poignant documentary on Tower’s history produced by actor and former Sacramentan Colin Hanks. The movie debuted in March 2015.

Hanks, in a Twitter post Monday, said "the world lost an absolute legend."

Solomon was honored in other ways in his later years. He was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2016 (with the likes of Harrison Ford and Maria Shriver) and two area entrepreneurs announced plans to open a Jewish deli in his name on the site of an old Tower store in downtown Sacramento. The Sacramento Kings installed a neon Tower store sign in the lobby of their new arena, Golden 1 Center.

And on Monday, it was if the music had never stopped. Accolades poured in from around Sacramento and the recording industry as news of his death spread.

"Long aisles were packed with bins containing thousands of titles in every imaginable genre. The stores stayed open late and became evening hangouts," wrote Variety magazine in an outline obituary. "The Towers on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and Broadway in New York's Greenwich Village were landmarks in their own right."

Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb tweeted, "Tower Records was such a huge part of my growing up." Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, also on Twitter, called Solomon "a Sacramento and National icon." Gov. Jerry Brown's press office tweeted condolences.

A pioneer who was admired by employees and competitors alike, Solomon made Tower a $1 billion-a-year business stretching from Boston to Bogota, Colombia, with major outposts in Tokyo and London. He operated on a philosophy that was obvious to him but extraordinary for its day: Build big stores and pack them with as much music as possible. The company eventually branched into books and video.

Rival chains sprung up, borrowing heavily from Solomon’s notion that “big was beautiful,” said Glen Ward, former head of the Virgin record stores in North America. “He was probably the inventor of the mega-store.”

But in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Tower was overwhelmed by big-box discounters, and digital downloading. The company also over-expanded and was partly to blame for its downfall.

I moved to Sacramento in 1980, and I had already known that Sacramento was the home of the legendary Tower Records chain. I had been to a few Tower stores in Los Angeles in the 1970s, but I didn't become a regular customer at Tower Records until I got to Sacramento. The Tower stores in Sacramento were different. They didn't have a "corporate" feel to them, and I think they were much closer to the kind of store that Russ Solomon intended - like the famous Sunset Strip Tower store was in its early days. Each Sacramento store manager was independent, and had a lot of freedom in choosing merchandise, displays, and what music got played in the stores. I still remember the day I was introduced to Stan Rogers - his "Bluenose" was playing at Tower Records, and I asked the store clerks about him. Every Sacramento store had a 1960s funkiness to it, and it was a delight to spend time there.
May Russ rest in peace. He made his mark on Sacramento - and on the world.
Any day now, some Tower Records fans are opening Solomon's Deli in the old K Street Tower store in Sacramento. It will be a fitting tribute. It's too bad Russ won't be alive to see it open.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records (1925-2018)
From: GUEST,paperback
Date: 06 Mar 18 - 12:12 AM

Amazing memorys: StoryCorps: Russell Solomon, Michael Solomon

You too joe

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Subject: RE: Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records (1925-2018)
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 06 Mar 18 - 12:37 AM

as of 2014 the Tokyo store was still in business:

and there appears to be an active website:

RIP Russ Solomon, condolences to famiy and his many customers.

Seek out the DVD documentary ALL THINGS MUST PASS, a must see for
anyone who loved the TOWER stores.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records (1925-2018)
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 08 Mar 18 - 10:00 AM

in NY Times:
The Power of Tower Records

Power of Tower


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Subject: RE: Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records (1925-2018)
From: GUEST,Lin
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 12:25 AM

Many years ago back in the 1970's I frequently visited the Tower Record store on Sunset Blvd in the Hollywood area. I lived in L.A. at that time. It was a great store and they had a very good selection of folk records. The store was always busy (I only went there in the evenings) and they were opened till very late. Really like the store but never met Russ. Was sad when they closed that store. Good memories of going there and to other Sunset Blvd. record shops, book shops and cafes nearby. Even saw Donovan at a club in the area one night. Great days now gone and so is Russ.   Rest in peace now.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Russ Solomon Tower Records (1925-2018)
From: Jackaroodave
Date: 09 Mar 18 - 08:59 AM

Oh how I loved the pilgrimage down from Gifu to the Nagoya Tower Records. Don't get me wrong, I loved the small second-hand shops too, and I hope they're still around: I would have never discovered Freakwater, had I not been passing one in the train station arcade playing their version of "Little Black Train." But Tower Records had everything, including remainders of a decades-old disk by a college flatmate of mine.


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