“No music, no life.”
With that statement, Tower Records declared itself more than just a music store. From its founding in 1960 until its closure in 2006, Tower was a gathering place, a library, a barometer of cultural trends and one-time icon of the U.S. retail market.
Ultimately, the Tower Records business model—large stores with deep music catalogs—couldn’t compete in the age of digital downloads and discount retailers. But the spirit and history of this pioneering music store can live on. In fact, an effort to preserve the Tower experience is currently underway in Sacramento, California, the birthplace of Tower Records.
In 2009, founder Russ Solomon donated over 200 boxes of Tower-related history—artwork, photographs, memorabilia, awards, business records and correspondence, office furnishings and even the neon signs from the first stand-alone store—to the Center for Sacramento History. The Tower Records Project is a campaign to fund the preservation of Russ’ gift and make it publicly available for research.
But this project will not succeed without your help. We’ll be asking for more than your financial support. We’ll want your Tower experiences, photographs and mementos to round out the story of Tower Records. Whether you worked or shopped there, we want to hear from you. Your invaluable contributions will help paint a complete picture of Tower as it was: a cultural epicenter, an extended family, a way of life and a scene unto itself.
For more information please contact the project organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in 1953, the Center for Sacramento History is the historical research and education center for the Sacramento region. The Center’s collections are held in the public trust and reflect the many aspects of the social, economic, political, geographic and cultural history of the region.
The Center is the official repository for the archival records of local government; the long-term care of these public documents is often required by state and federal law. We also maintain privately donated manuscripts and personal papers from individuals, businesses and organizations in the community. The Center’s museum collections are artifacts, or three-dimensional objects, which also document the lives and activities of the residents of the Sacramento region.
Center staff members maintain the museum and archival collections, making the material available for study and use by the public. The staff also creates exhibitions and displays for the Sacramento History Museum and public areas of local government buildings.
All monetary donations given to the Tower Records Project are administered by the Center’s nonprofit, the Sacramento History Alliance, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to making Sacramento’s history accessible to all.
The Tower Records Project at the Center for Sacramento History entails three overlapping phases that capture the spirit and history of the “largest music store in the known universe.” In June 2012, a kick-off event officially announced the project, website, and fundraising efforts.
Process and catalog over 200 linear feet of archival records and hundreds of artifacts in the Tower Records Collection and the Russ Solomon Papers.
Perform preservation work and rehouse collection for storage at the Center’s climate controlled facility.
Migrate film/video and audio material from “dead media” to an accessible format.
Digitize selected posters, photographs, business records and correspondence, and transcribe interviews for online access.
Open collection for research, viewing, and listening to interested scholars, fans, and the public.
Create an online community where former employees and fans can share their personal stories, photographs and mementos about the world’s first music superstore: https://www.facebook.com/TowerRecordsProject.
Actively seek items that capture the Tower experience from former employees, musicians, and fans – photographs, oral histories, and artifacts.
Conceptualize and plan a nationwide traveling exhibit on Tower Records, debuting in Sacramento and traveling to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York and other cities.
Create partnerships with allied institutions to implement exhibit plan and select host sites.
“It’s the end of the world as we know it. Thanks for your loyalty.”
– Sunset Boulevard store marquee, October 2006
We invite you to help the Center for Sacramento History document the “largest music store in the known universe”! Funding this campaign helps us preserve the Tower Records story. Your financial support is critical.
All donations are appreciated, give what you can, and get recognized as a Tower Records Project supporter. Donate now. Tower to the people!
Here are our music loving, Tower Records Project sponsors.