If you're one of those music fans who actually buys recordings -- instead of, you know, downloading your entire library out of ignorance, stupidity, and/or laziness -- chances are you remember Tower Records, the iconic, Sacramento-based chain whose abandoned locations still haunt certain San Francisco corners. (We're looking at you, Bay and Columbus.)
We fondly remember unloading stupid-huge loads of cash -- most of it originally intended to be spent on food, rent, or college textbooks -- paying Tower's slightly too-high prices for stacks and stacks of CDs. And we loved it. Yes, kiddies, this was both before Spotify and Megaupload, when the only reliable way to acquire whole Gang of Four or Prince albums was to go to into a building and actually trade green pieces of paper for them.
Anyway, despite its bankrupting influence on our life, we were sad when Tower Records declared bankruptcy in 2006. Which is why we're excited to hear that the chain's founder, Russ Solomon, is launching the Tower Records Project, a museum-like archive that will aim to collect official records, objects, stories, memorabilia, and other ephemera from the "world's first music superstore."
Supported by the Center for Sacramento History, the project is getting a special kick-off event this Thursday at the original Tower Records building in downtown Sacramento. (Yep, it has a big tower.) Solomon has already donated 200 boxes of Tower Records stuff, including artwork, photos, and the first location's neon signs. Now the project is asking anyone else -- former employees, those of us who haunted our local Tower stores -- to contribute their memories and items, too. (It's also asking for donations, of course.)
If all goes as planned, the Tower Records Project will become a roving exhibition around the country around 2015, reminding everyone of the days when being a music fan meant paying $18.99 for CD based solely on some review you'd read somewhere or another, without any idea whether you'd like it or not.
Check out more on the Tower Records Project website.