Page 4 of 5

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:05 pm
by john poole
Garth Cartwright wrote:John, using the same Guinness book but relying only on Top Ten singles both Cilla & Billy had ten of 'em. But I bet she sold a shedload more in terms of quantity (not quality).
Not convinced. Total weeks on the chart :- Billy 277; Cilla 192. 23 weeks in total for Halfway to Paradise, six weeks longer than each of Cilla's number one hits. I will accept a draw as a compromise, otherwise we will need to take this to ACAS for arbitration.

When Def Lep were at their sales peak in the 80s it was announced that they had sold more albums in the US than any act since the B's. A glance at Wikipedia notes "They are one of only five rock bands with two original studio albums selling over 10 million copies in the U.S" Ironically, I doubt any of the B's albums have sold over ten million copies in the US!
Abbey Road (the only Beatles album I didn't like btw) has sold 14 million US copies according to wikipedia. The "1" compilation (31 million worldwide) also outsold the biggest album by Def Lep (I admit I wouldn't recognise DL if I heard them)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_b ... ted_States

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:39 pm
by Garth Cartwright
I accept a draw on the Scousers. Did you ever see Billy perform, John? He looks great in That'll Be The Day, such wild male beauty!

Interesting to know Abbey Road is their biggest - I'm not too keen on it either. I wasn't counting the 1's album, thinking more of individual albums. Thriller remains the biggest ever album in terms of sales with something close to 50 million copies sold. Paul appears on it, right? A nice royalty cheque in the mail for that banal ballad.

Anyway, back to record shops - I've just found out that in north London a shop called Flashback, selling largely second hand and some new, has just opened its 3rd branch. While Rough Trade is slowly rolling out internationally. A small renaissance, of sorts.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:24 pm
by john poole
Garth Cartwright wrote:Did you ever see Billy perform, John?
No, I only saw him in his heyday on TV and film (Play It Cool). On stage he allegedly could be somewhat less inhibited
http://www.billyfury.com/the_gen.htm

A new DVD documentary has recently been released and should be worth a look if you can borrow it
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upy4JxYg4Is

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:58 pm
by alister prince
A thought Garth, are you including specialist shops?
For example, Transat in Soho was a source for imported soul and R and B back in the 60s; I'm pretty sure it was patronised by various musicians and singers, as well as punters like me. Trehantiri on Green Lanes had an amazing selection of Greek music (mail order too) and only stopped trading recently - it didn't start out as a music store. Then there's Blackwax which was in Streatham, blues etc. Plus of course, central London outlets like Collets. Alan is a mine of info on the last two having worked there.
Aly

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2015 10:50 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Thanks Ally. Yes, I most definitely want to include specialist shops - much more interesting than the HMVs and Woolworths and WH Smiths and such that until the 1970s sold Britains most of their records.

I will chase Alan up = hope he is OK, he's been very silent of recent.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 12:12 pm
by NormanD
I did buy some good stuff in WH Smith, Our Price, etc, often unexpectedly. They may have been bought in for their regular sales - things like Bobby Charles's Bearsville LP, Carla Bley's "Escalator Over The Hill".

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:00 pm
by Garth Cartwright
That is interesting, Norman. I arrived here in 91 and WH Smiths did not stock records then (that I remember). Nor Boots (not that I am often in Boots). Woolworths always had the Top 20 but little else.

Might you - or anyone else who remembers shopping in those big chains for records - write something? That you could find Bobby C and Carla B in Smiths suggests some employee was serious about music!

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:14 pm
by Jude
HMV, Woolworth's, Boots and WH Smiths were all places you could buy fairly odd records, it depended on the managers of the shops and their level of interests in what they were selling. Plus there was Musicland where my late husband Simon worked and who, I think, were behind the shop he set up in Portobello Road, 'Simon's Stable', where the most esoteric and strange imports were to be found. And at the same time most of the rock musicians and industry people would congregate to listen and buy new music from him. Alvin Lee, Marc Bolan, BP Fallon, Quintessence, the Floyd and many more were all customers and many became friends, because he had such weird and wonderful records to play. Not sure it ever made much of a profit though :-)
At least so I am told.., I didn't meet him till later

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:24 pm
by Rob Hall
I remember buying a discounted copy of 'Clear Spot' in Boots, around about '73 or '74.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:03 pm
by john poole
Larger branches of WH Smiths and Boots would both have a fairly extensive selection of LPs (UK releases, not imports) during the 60s and into at least the early 70s as far as I remember. Smiths also had singles, although probably all that much outside of the Top 50 and new releases from big names. I think Smiths continued with records longer than Boots and into the cassette and CD eras - they possibly ceased after acquiring Our Price Records and a majority interest in Virgin.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:03 am
by Hugh Weldon
John

Larger branches of WH Smiths and Boots would both have a fairly extensive selection of LPs (UK releases, not imports) during the 60s and into at least the early 70s as far as I remember.


That's my recollection too. In Liverpool the size of WHS's selection was second only to Virgin before the HMV opened and after NEMS had gone. It would be interesting to know how those departments were managed, what their buying policy was. Given that they were one of the major outlets in a large city I assume they might be a little more adventurous than you might expect. I did buy a copy of Ted Hawkins' 'Watch Your Step' there, which means it must have still been going fairly strong by 1986.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 12:34 am
by Garth Cartwright
Great posts, y'all! Jude, I had never heard of Simon's Stable but a quick google took me to a superb blog I had perused once before that contains this info': 230 Portobello Rd
Musicland was an important chain of shops. In the 70’s, it was renowned for the imports stocked. Local musician and freak Mick Farren talked about a bloke who worked there called Simon who hipped him to the first MC5 album. Musicland was where you could find the latest US releases like Frank Zappa, Velvet Underground and the West Coast psychedelic releases (Simon Stable later had his own record store at 297 Portobello).

Musicland was a big player in the independent record shop world. They had a number of shops through out London, including their West End shop in Berwick St where a chap called Reg Dwight later to be Elton John worked.

Musicland was owned by Windrush generation immigrants the Ali Family and Lee Gophal. Lee had started with a stall on Portobello selling the latest Jamaican records. In 1968 he sold out his stake in Musicland to create Trojan Records along with Chris Blackwell. Lee was also Blackwells landlord in Neasden Lane where Lee had a label called B&C. Later 230 became a shop called Music Scene an amalgam of Musicland and Scene and Heard.

Blog link https://northkensingtonhistories.wordpr ... ortobello/ blog written by Dave Hucker - perhaps you or Adam know him?

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:51 am
by Jude
Fascinating blog, don't think I knew Mr Hucker, but then we moved away in 1973. The Dog shop had a huge papiermache nose (with finger!) on the outside - there's a picture here in this article
http://www.starfarer.net/hawkwalk.pdf
Rupert Harvey ran the Dog Shop, later moved to the US to sell waterbeds and more recently became a film producer of films such as 'Android', the 'Critters' series and 'Nightmare on Elm St'
Lovely man !

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 10:59 am
by NormanD
I think the buying-in policies of the chains like Woolies and Boots* and WH Smith must have been determined by what they were sent by a distributor. The sales were dominated by over-stocks, but also contained a few imports and obscurities. Other unexpected bargains I picked up were a double-LP of Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm, a T-Bone Burnett six-track LP, The Frank Zappa album of his guitar solos, Scotty Moore, The Carter Family....

Lots of non-record shops - selling household goods, electrical appliances, £1 bargains, etc - also seemed to sell LPs. Again, no rhyme or reason as to their origin or source. I've picked up LPs by Eddie Hinton, Rory Block, and I remember seeing "The Producers" OST, which I didn't buy as I'd not yet seen the film. I also picked up an original copy of Fairport Convention's first LP in such a shop, you might be pleased to know, Judy.

Strange days.

* Boots The Chemist, that is. It also ran an in-house library book service. Before my time, but I have picked up old ex-libris Boots books - mainly novels - with the Boots stamp inside. You could skim the record racks whilst waiting for your prescription orcheck out any bargains in the kitchen ware section.

Re: Record Shops

PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:45 pm
by AndyM
Also, record stalls in street markets were often a good source -- I used to frequent the one in East Street off the Old Kent Road (referred to always as East Lane rather than Street by my extended family of locals), and there used to be a stall selling mostly second-hand singles, including ex-jukebox ones, which were easily identified by having the middle of the label missing, usually replaced with those inserted plastic spindles (if that's the right word).

Also, record departments in department stores (bigger branches of the Co-Op, one-offs like Jarrolds in Norwich and Hanningtons in Brighton).