Tower Records Is Coming Back
Anybody besides me remember going to Tower Records when they were growing up?
Texas had a few of these iconic record stores if you recall. Most people I know preferred to visit the one in Austin, but the ones in Houston and Dallas were the "big city" Tower Records. Tower Records closed its doors forever in 2006. My childhood memories are like elephant memories--they will last me a long, long time. Celebrities often held fan parties at Tower Records and they would do special Meet and Greet events and the only way you could get a ticket inside the party was by winning them off the radio.
What fun memories I have of waltzing into Tower Records and sifting through racks and racks of cassettes, CDs, and books! I rarely bought anything but I surely enjoyed the experience.
I remember going there with my dad as a tween-ager. He loved to listen to new jazz CDs using the headphones at the listening stations. I recall that every time I tried to listen to a CD at a listening station, one of the headphones was always, ALWAYS broken. Those frigging cheap headphones, I hated that. I haven't forgiven you about that, Tower Records!
One of my favorite nostalgic memories of going to Tower Records was when I met a few members of N'SYNC at Tower Records in Nashville, Tennessee. This would have been back during the late 90s/early 2000s. My friends at the time, Natalie, her little sister Shonda, and our friend Adrianne (or was that Elizabeth who went with us?) were kinda sorta stalking them. What I mean by stalking them is that we heard they were in town for an award show that was happening and that they were rumored to be hanging out downtown. Natalie and our crew were N'SYNC's BIGGEST fans in the whole entire world (at least that's what we told ourselves), so naturally, we drove around each and every block until we found their tour bus.
We found Joey Fatone, Justin Timberlake, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Lance Bass inside Tower Records, casually looking around at the CDs. Chris was busy making jokes with Joey and I nearly fainted from swooning at him so hard. (I was in love with Chris and JC.) We didn't ask them for their autograph because we preferred photos with them instead. We asked and their security team told us, no, but that was okay with us. After all, we just had the experience of a lifetime meeting our favorite boy band (take that, Backstreet Boys) and we knew this memory was going to stick with us forever! The next time N'SYNC was in Nashville, we drove around until we found their tour bus parked at the Opryland Hotel. We lived only a few minutes away from the hotel, so all of us packed into Natalie's car and got there as soon as we heard their bus had been spotted. I think this was during the AltavVsta days (do you remember that, too?).
Perhaps that's why I ended up with this job--so that I could meet N'SYNC on my own! (Too bad that has never happened, not even after nearly 20 years in the biz!)
The Tower Records in Nashville stayed open a few years longer after the company declared bankruptcy in 2006. My beloved "West End Ave Tower Records" finally called it quits in 2011, long after I had moved away from my hometown. I was devastated when the one in Seattle closed; it was like a piece of home to me. I was very happy when I heard that this iconic piece of my childhood and young adult life is rising up like the ashes of a phoenix. You can read about Tower Records returning as an online-only store here.
If you think about it, in many ways, 21st Century YouTube is like the old experience of going to Tower Records in the 20th Century. Long live Tower Records!