Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment

October 12, 2006
This is the last ...

The not completely surprising demise of Tower has a deeply personal sting, of course, for many here in Sacramento. And for numerous friends and associates who are losing jobs, there is more than a sting.

As Dr. Johnson once famously observed, the end of anything brings forth some deep and uncomfortable emotions, and the end of Tower is no exception.
Like many, the record store (at Watt and El Camino) was an early high school hangout and endless source of information for me. In the days of more time than money, I whiled away the hours and learned a lot about music, especially jazz, standing in the stacks, reading liner notes. (And often surreptiously splitting the cellophane wrappers to open up double albums to read what was stashed away on the inside.)

Later, I worked at the 16th and Broadway store. We sold vinyl then (the mid-70s) and had a small cassette section in the back. From opening the store on a Sunday morning to closing at midnight on a full moon, it was a great gig. And my record collection was greatly enhanced during that time. After a couple years of trying to find “that record by that guy” - with that guy being anyone from John Kay to Perez Prado - I finished college and left the job. Many I worked with went on to manage their own Tower outlets from here to L.A.

My good friend and Bee colleague David Barton, who is currently on sabbatical in New York, sent a poignant message on Saturday, which I excerpt here:
“Tower played as crucial a role in my development as my parents or my schools did ... The thing I still remember best is going up to Tower Watt with my little brother Bobby in the summer of 1967, dresssed in our best approximations of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper garb - me in my dad’s WWII dress jacket, a black wig and drawn-on mustache (I was George) - and casually thumbing through the records, which were, I believe, $1.99 for mono, $2.99 for stereo.”

There's more that happened here than just a business failing.

To quote Dr. Johnson: “There are few things not purely evil, of which we can say, without some emotion of uneasiness, “This is the last.”

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