If You Have Ghosts…

We all face life and death everyday (I’ve already had two times in my life where I was only given a 50/50 shot at survival) so a store closing shouldn’t be a big deal. Tower Records is going belly up and it bothers me in a way. Not that there’s not gonna be other places available for me to purchase whatever (though there is one magazine they stock that I know of only one other store in town that carries it), it’s just there’ll be one place less. Being able to go back into Tower Records after being in the hospital for two weeks meant a lot to me just because it felt like a sense of normalcy returning. But now they’re going and there’s one less place to go shopping 365 days a year (Tower livened up some boring Thanksgiving days!) But you want internet shopping/burning CDs/downloads, you got it. Just one more memory soon to be. I drive by ’em everyday. Let’s take my commute from Duluth to work near the Brookwood Station. If I come up Peachtree Parkway, I first go by what used to be Murmur Music (open from I think 2003-2006). A mile or so up, I pass the building that once housed Musicdrome (the former Norcross Chapter 3. This opened up sometime in the late 80s and stayed until around fall 2001. The store moved to Lawrenceville where it died an ignoble death around six months later.) My next former haunt that I pass is on Pecahtree Industrial Boulevard and is the former Turtle’s/Blockbuster Music/Wherehouse Music in Chamblee Plaza. This store opened in 1983 and lasted through various incarnations until 2003, methinks. A former employer of both Jeff Clark and Thomas Peake, it also hosted a memorable Wall Of Voodoo in-store that I attended. Next on our gruesome tour is Atlanta CD in Brookhaven (opened in 1986, closed about 1992 or so.) Kevn Kinney & Peter Buck did an in-store there that I missed because I totally fouled up my textiles lab. On our left, as we head up the road a piece, is the former site of Oz (roughly where Borders stands now.) (opened in 1975 or 1976. Closed in 1982 or so.) Didn’t see the PiL 1980 in-store but did see the Ramones that same year there. I think I bought my third and fourth albums ever there (vaguely recalling the Eagles’ Greatest Hits and Beach Boys’ Endless Summer.) Definitely bought my first concert ticket there (Eagles at the Omni, June 1977.) Oz was a former employer of both David T. Lindsay and Brad Syna. Next on our graveyard visit is Lenox Square, former home of Frankin Music/Record Bar/Camelot/HMV. Yes, Sam Goody/FYE/whatever is a descendent of some of these, but the current store there has about the selection of Best Buy, so…  Attended memorable in-stores from both Drivin N Cryin and the Plasmatics at Record Bar and paid too much money for the Gun Club’s  Fire Of Love album there as well. Also, at Around Lenox is the first site of Atlanta’s Tower Records (1989-2002). It was here that I won the local version of the Rhino Music Trivia contest back in 2001. If I had won for the whole world (and the ultimate winner was on-line where he could cheat and look things up), I would have received every CD Rhino released for the life of the label. As it is, I think I figured out I finished about 5th in the world and I got bunches of box sets. As we continue up Peachtree, we hit the current Tower Records, where the 10-30 % wake is in progress (and I’m gonna miss most of the checkout girls there too!). This is also, basically, the former site of a Media Play, one of the first to close in the late 90s. Then, on our left, we hit the former site of Coconuts Records (1984? -?). Not much memories here, but Arthur Davis’ grandmother used to own a house behind it. Arthur had a roommate he hated and one day I arrived just as he had finished spray-painting the bushes. He also sprayed “Agnostic Front Skinhead Army” across the top of his kitchen hoping the guy would move out. Just up from here, on the left, is a strip mall that once housed a used CD store when those were in vogue back in the late 80s. Can’t remember the name. A little further up Peachtree Road in Buckhead and we hit the site of the first Atlanta Chapter Three. I only went in there once and I remember looking at an import Elvis Costello single which I thought was too pricey. Sort of across Peachtree is the former Jim Salle’s. They had tons of old records and sheet music back in the late 70s that would probably bring a fortune now on EBAY. Moseying up past Fantasyland (still reasonable healthy since either 1976 or 1977. I first shopped there in early 1978), we next come upon what was the flagship store of Peaches Records. Bought Who tickets here in 1980, camped out for Clash tickets in 1982, but didn’t buy much vinyl here. Too expensive, though I seem to remember getting a couple of Boomtown Rats singles here. They used to have their version of “Graumann’s Chinese Theatre” out front where folks like Patti Smith left their handprints. Tony Paris used to work here. Also in this same shopping center there used to sit a CD Warehouse store. Across the street from this stripmall, there resided a used CD store whose name I can’t remember. This was early to mid-90s. Our last ghastly visit is on the right and is the former home of American CD. Can’t think of ever buying anything here.

So, if you read through that, God bless you. That’s my commute, pretty much. Hell, I miss non-music stores that have gone under, too. I miss the Frito-Lay plant and the Buddy’s next to it that’s just closed. There was a Dairy Queen on Buford Highway near Pleasantdale that I’ll always associate with going to Little League when I was a kid. It finally closed shop a few years ago.

But cherish what you’ve got while it’s there. Be thankful we still have stores like Fantasyland, Wax N Facts, Wuxtry, Low Yo Yo Stuff, Ella Guru, Criminal, Decatur CD and Full Moon. Patronize them.

Sorry for the ominous missive. I have other stuff going on that’s bothering me right now. Hopefully it’s worry over nothing. More happy-go-lucky stuff later in the week.


11 thoughts on “If You Have Ghosts…”

  1. Wow, Jon…I went to that same Buford Highway DQ after Little League as well, back in the early-mid 70s. Brings back memories indeed. And I remember the Frito Lay plant too…what an awesome smell when driving past!

    (Note: most of the middle stuff I missed…we moved from Atlanta in ’76, and I moved back for work 20 years later. High school, college, etc. was all elsewhere. But still a lot of things to remember.)

  2. Thx for taking time & writing this. It’s wonderful to read how you interact so much in the music store community (and the area as a whole). As for the other stuff bothering you, as sage advice (ha – or lack thereof!) – I suggest watching “Moonstruck” or “Robin Williams Live”. So at least laughter can join your weighty(sp?) reflections!…….Jill F.

  3. Great post (and named after a great song!) I found your blog while I was researching a post about local record stores for my own blog. Don’t forget Circle Sky and Eat More Records!

  4. Eat More & Circle Sky I just forgot (Though CS has always been a bit pricey for me) among survivors. Also should list Book Nook, Records Galore and Rowan’s as local indie stores still caterin’ to your musical hankerings……

  5. Yeah, I thought I was the only to remember all the old record store spots. You didn’t drive down Peachtree far enough to drive by what was the Turtles superstore later Blockbuster Music. I used to work there for a short time over one Christmas season. Prince did an instore there as well Richard Thompson, just name a few. Thinking of other stores now gone,I remember the big Turtles on Buford HWY at Northeast Plaza, Record Bar at Lenox that had a “New Wave” section.

  6. Not sure why I left out the old Rhythm & Views that also featured Todd Rundgren, Indigo Girls & Kevn Kinney in-stores (Drivin N Cryin did one there when it was Wherehouse.) Also the site a couple of insane tent sales (one as Turtle’s, one as Blockbuster.) I used to stop in on Sundays going to town to do my show and it would often be as lively as a funeral home with maybe two other shoppers in the place. Now home to an overpriced food store (and I think I did talk about this store in another post, FYI)

  7. Online searching the ‘demise of the record store’ and stumbled across this blog. Chapter 3 Records in Norcross opened up in the early 80’s at the corner of Spalding Drive and Holcomb Bridge –moved to the MusiCDrome location in the very early 90’s and did move to Lawrenceville where it closed forever in 2001.

    Do remember the DQ on Buford Hwy as well. Played little league in Norcross and my best friends older sister worked at that DQ for a while.

  8. You took me back down memory lane ….Both my wife and i will always have a fondness for the Towers music store( RIP Tower it is almost 1 year since you left us :o( We even managed to take some pics of the outside and inside for longevities sake. I remember the cool book area they had when they where located beside lenox and then the large magazine rack at the last location. I would always head to the bargain bin and get some $7.99 cds ( to replace/duplicate my cassette collection…) and of course always finding hard to find shit( you can only find so much at best buys) and then again shopping there for cool Christmas presents( this will be the first Xmas of not shopping there..again RIP) I remembered most of the record/music stores you wrote about…I remember though when turtles was further down Buford( in a former Steak and Shake?) and Coconuts in the RIO shopping center on North Ave and Sam Goodys at Underground…also i miss Brookhaven records on Dresden ( they had more used vinyl but had a good assort. of psychedelic “fillmore west/east” posters..ah the good ole days) its funny I wondered how wherehouse music lasted so long( with the outrageous prices they charged) You spoke of the turtles @ Chamblee plaza ( that shopping center is almost a ghost town). Also I think booknook was a whole lot better when they where off of Clairmont and beside Windefaire ( they had a nice music book selection and music magazines and just a funky vibe…infact that shopping area was funky it looked like a gas station was attached to it at sometime…now a package store)…anyways i’m just rambling now…thanks again for the trip down yesteryear, Peace!

  9. I realize I am late to the ball in responding to this, but I just wanted to ask: Do you remember when Buddy’s was Purple Martin?

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