THE PALACES OF POP

A 45 rpm spin through Palm Beach County’s lost and for­got­ten record stores.

The Palm Beach Post - - ACCENT - By Larry Ay­dlette Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Mu­sic lovers have it made nowa­days. You log into Spo­tify, find a song, click on it. Stick in your ear­buds. Done.

So why do we per­sist in a nos­tal­gic reverie about the good old days of vinyl, when you ac­tu­ally had to get in your car and drive some­where to buy mu­sic? When you needed a weirdly-shaped yel­low plas­tic in­sert to play a 45 rpm sin­gle. And when you pretty much had to buy an al­bum on faith — and the tal­is­manic power of the art­work, liner notes and track in­for­ma­tion on its plas­ticwrapped cover.

Let’s agree that progress is a good thing, mu­sic-wise. Still, we kinda miss the record store.

Is it pos­si­ble to even count the

num­ber of hours we spent in record stores? You’d go down the long rows, strength­en­ing your fin­ger mus­cles as you flipped fast and fu­ri­ous through end­less stacks of LPs. You’d stop, look at the cover, turn it over, think about

it — Is this three-LP Emer­son, Lake and Palmer al­bum re­ally worth

$5.99? — put it back, take it out again, think about it some more.

You could be in there all day some­times.

And then you’d have to browse the 45s (or in later eras, the 8-tracks, “cass­in­gles” and CDs, though that was never quite the same.) Or maybe you needed to buy a record player nee­dle. Or a black­light poster of The Jimi Hen­drix Ex­pe­ri­ence. Or the lat­est copy of Rolling Stone, Cir­cus or Creem mag­a­zines. Or you wanted to score primo con­cert tick­ets — which means you’d been camped out at the record store all night long. There was no on­line then. You got in a real line.

A record store was a com­mu­nity — a place for the like-minded to min­gle, chill, and dis­cuss mu­sic. A Star­bucks of sound. Sure, you can find ev­ery sin­gle you once owned on YouTube now, but the record store pro­vided a more hu­man con­nec­tion. And the peo­ple who worked there were usu­ally weirdly ob­ses­sive just like you.

We asked on­line read­ers to re­mind us of their fa­vorite Palm Beach County record stores and we dug around in our archives for more clues. Other than the chain era of the ’80s to ’90s, there were never a lot of stores that ex­clu­sively sold records. Depart­ment stores, drug stores, and TV/stereo ap­pli­ance shops were the ma­jor play­ers for mu­sic.

Con­fu­sion Records, Lake Park’s ven­er­a­ble vinyl joint, is about the only place left to­day that would fit the def­i­ni­tion of a vin­tage record store. Even with a vinyl re­vival, the mu­sic sec­tions of chain stores such as Barnes & Noble or FYE are mere ghosts of what they once were. Best Buy just an­nounced that it’s dis­con­tin­u­ing CDs in July and will only com­mit to sell­ing vinyl for two more years.

All that’s left to do is drop the nee­dle on these mem­o­ries.

SALON OF MU­SIC: This was one of the the first record stores in Palm Beach County. Salon of Mu­sic had a shop at 245 Worth Ave. as early as 1945, ac­cord­ing to old news­pa­per ads. It’s where the Loro Piana cloth­ing and ac­ces­sories store is now. Salon also had an out­post at 110 S. Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach, near Clema­tis. The shop rou­tinely took out ads in The Post, pro­mot­ing ev­ery­thing from Bob Hope and boo­giewoo­gie LPs in the 1940s to Elvis Pres­ley’s “great new RCA Vic­tor record al­bum” in 1956.

“They had lis­ten­ing booths,” re­called reader Lisa Jef­fer­son. “I re­mem­ber it in the early-mid 1960s. Ev­ery­thing was down­town then — no Palm Beach Mall.”

“Used to go there all the time for 45s,” said reader Roger Mel­drum.

“They had sev­eral small booths that you would go in and lis­ten to a 45 while you de­cided which one you wanted to buy,” re­mem­bered Bar­bara Hughes Craw­ford. “At that time, it was a big record store.”

By 1965, Salon of Mu­sic had a new West Palm lo­ca­tion at 801 S. Dixie, near what is now Ci­tyPlace, touted as “the largest in­de­pen­dent Home En­ter­tain­ment Cen­ter in the Palm Beaches.” It had ex­panded into a full-ser­vice “cus­tom sound in­stal­la­tion” busi­ness, sell­ing TVs, stereos and pro­vid­ing ev­ery­thing from fire alarms to school sound sys­tems.

WIL­SON’S MU­SIC MANOR:

This was also a home en­ter­tain­ment ap­pli­ance store and record shop. Ac­cord­ing to news­pa­per ads, it be­gan around 1961. It had lo­ca­tions in Lake Park and on North­wood Road and South Olive Av­enue in West Palm Beach.

It touted it­self in the mid-’60s as the head­quar­ters for Bea­tles al­bums: “Let’s Go to Mu­sic Manor — Where The Ac­tion Is and Rock To The Sounds of The Bea­tles,” one ad an­nounced, ac­com­pa­nied by a pic­ture of a mop­top wig. A 1966 ad claimed Mu­sic Manor had “The Palm Beaches Largest Record Dis­play.” Dig these prices: James Brown’s “Soul Brother” al­bum sold for $2.49 (a dis­count from the list price of $3.79.) “Af­ter­math” by the Rolling Stones went for $2.89 in stereo, a lit­tle less in mono. Record clean­ing cloths sold for a quar­ter, record hold­ing racks for 69 cents.

“I think my fam­ily spent so many hours in Mu­sic Manor, there might be a plaque com­memo-

MELISSA MIMMS/THE PALM BEACH POST

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP LEFT: 1986: An em­ployee stocks the dis­play of the new Bruce Spring­steen al­bum at the Peaches Records & Tapes on Okee­chobee Boule­vard. Back then, the re­lease of a ma­jor artist’s new al­bum was big news, as peo­ple would flock to the store to buy it.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF HIS­TOR­I­CAL SO­CI­ETY OF PALM BEACH COUNTY

A March 1956 ad for the Salon of Mu­sic in The Palm Beach Post.

The in­te­rior of Salon of Mu­sic’s West Palm Beach store on Olive Av­enue, around 1959-60, judg­ing from the al­bums on sale.

PHOTO BY SCOTT WISEMAN

2001: Sound Splash on Ge­or­gia Av­enue in West Palm Beach.

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