Chicago area record stores past and present (with photos)

Discussion in 'Music, Movie and Hardware Store Guide' started by larry333, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. tonyballz

    tonyballz Roogalator

    Location:
    arizona
    I grew up in Whiting Indiana, just across the border from the South Side, and Hegewisch Records was my temple. For all you non-Chicagoans, that's pronounced hegg-wish. They used to sell t-shirts with a band logo on the front and the store logo on the back. I had Hegewisch t-shirts of Kiss, Peter Frampton, and Black Sabbath Vol. 4. When I was 9 years old, they opened a satellite store in Whiting and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

    I moved to Lincoln Park in 1986 to go to school at DePaul and my very first day in Chicago I looked up the address of Wax Trax in the phone book and walked there. I'm pretty sure I bought No Dice by Badfinger for $7. There were so many good used record stores in that area: Dr. Wax and Second Hand Tunes on Clark St, the one next to the Metro, that other place on Clark a little north of Wrigley Field, plus countless others. I spent hours and hours sitting on dusty floors patiently flipping through 99 cent racks and finding absolute treasures.

    Even today when I fly home to visit my mom I have to go into the city on a record shopping spree.

    Sorry if the following stuff has been previously posted.
    Van Halen at Hegewisch Records, 1978 or so:

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    Elton John with big pappy Hegewisch Joe (RIP):

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    Joe with Thin Lizzy:

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    Cheap Trick outside the Calumet City store:

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    [​IMG]
     
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  2. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Arlington Heights near the train station? I am surprised it had to be before 1983, as I did not start commuting downtown until 1986, though I suppose it may have been during during 81 or 82 when I was testing for the bar.
    It must have been winter, because it was already dark, but I do remember cold if not snow. And there was some kind of diner/restaurant next door or close by. Does that sound right? On that one visit I purchased one Poco album (which I no longer have) and Jo Jo Gunne "Bite Down Hard" which I still do have.

    My criticism, if that is what it is, is based on the fact that any used LP is worth more (and thus can be sold for more) without magic marker on both label and jacket. Now, I perfectly understand the concerns about people switching sleeves, stickers and the like. But other used record stores have long existed to this day, managing the same problem without resorting to a solution that actually degrades the product. My thought at the time was that one could just as easily write the LP titles and prices in a notebook at the counter or some other solution. But my other thought at the time was that hey, if I don't like it, get my own store.

    Anyway, I didn't go back because if I wanted to buy a used LP, I wanted one without magic marker on it, and there were other options anyway.
     
  3. sons of nothing

    sons of nothing Forum Resident

    Location:
    Illinois
    If you haven't been here, then it's worth your time. Lots of tasty records, plenty of cds, and vintage equipment. They have a main web page, but the Facebook one is more current.

    Hoarders Trading Post Main Page

    Hoarders Trading Post Facebook

    The owners are friendly as well.
     
  4. Dr. Nick

    Dr. Nick Tufnel Is God

    Location:
    Springfield
    I know one was on west side of Lee St. couple block South of Miner St. in Des Plaines . Don't think the buildings there anymore . Another store was on Golf Rd. just east of Elmhurst Rd. it was in a small strip mall just east of the Mc'D's . Still there , think it's a daycare.
     
    Shawn likes this.
  5. recstar24

    recstar24 Senior Member

    Location:
    Glen Ellyn, IL
    For anyone that’s have not heard, but Bob from the Jazz/Blues record mart passed away recently :(
     
  6. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    I shopped that store in the little strip mall just east of Elmhurst Rd a couple of times. But that one was called Big Daddy, not Big Apple. The guy at Hip Cat reminded me Big Apple was on Waukegan by a Burger King in Glenview. In another strip mall.
     
    Shawn likes this.
  7. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    Location:
    Chicago
    Didn't know that. Haven't been to the new(ish) store, but Jazz Record Mart was one of my favorite places to shop for CDs. When I worked downtown, I often used to walk 20 minutes each way during my (extended--haha) lunch hour to hit the JRM. And after I stopped working down there, I still made an occasional visit walking all the way from Union Station. THAT was a hike! But well worth it.

    Boy, up until about 2005-06, for CDs downtown you had Jazz Record Mart, Crow's Nest, Tower, Rock Records (before they went to heck towards the end), and a pretty darned good FYE. Even Borders on State and the one on Michigan Ave. weren't half-bad. All gone...

    Anyway, rest in peace, Bob.
     
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  8. hockman

    hockman Forum Resident

    RIP Bob. He must be quite old.

    I remember Bob and the JRM very fondly. Over the years, I bought a lot of stuff from him. Although my interaction with Bob was limited, I always found him to be friendly and welcoming. I still remember his having guys (usually blues musicians) jamming at the back of his store. What an institution, both guy and store!
     
    recstar24 likes this.
  9. sharedon

    sharedon Forum Zonophone

  10. LaserKen

    LaserKen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Avon, Indiana
    Mammoth Music Mart was indeed amazing -- also loved Rose downtown, Hegewisch, Swollen Head (and later Beautiful Day) - there were some great shops. As a kid I would walk to the Beverly Music Store and get the WLS and WCFl surveys each week. I still remember vividly a buddy bringing his brand new copy of Rod Stewart's 'Every Picture Tells a Story' over after getting it there -- it was brand new.
     
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  11. LaserKen

    LaserKen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Avon, Indiana
    sharedon likes this.
  12. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    You mention Rock Records "going to heck" towards the end. Boy did they ever. My last visit there, I saw mostly greatest hits and live CDs by bands I didn't care about on labels I never heard of before or since, sharing space with dwindling old stock that I had already flipped through on previous visits. I walked out empty handed the last couple of visits before giving up altogether. I understand that toward the end they were no longer stocking any new product from major distributers, so just stocking the same recycled junk that could be seen in growing numbers at Tower Records locations during their own liquidation sales. Some company specializing in liquidations must have been trucking that same junky product from location to location as they each in their turn approached final closing.

    I guess it is similar to what I have noticed with longtime popular restaurants in their final fades. The bread at the table being noticeably less fresh is one of the early signs of handwriting on the wall. Really sad.
     
    Shawn likes this.
  13. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    Location:
    Chicago
    The odd thing about Rock Records toward the end was that I'm pretty sure they were then owned by Crow's Nest after CN lost their lease or whatever at State & Jackson. I remember seeing Crow's Nest stickers on CDs at Rock Records for awhile. And IIRC (it's been a long time), there were a couple Crow's Nest employees that made the move over. I'd love to know why they let Rock Records fall into total disrepair at the end considering what a great store Crow's Nest was. Tax writeoff? In any case, Rock Records eventually would've gone the way of all CD stores in the Chicago area, but it deserved a more graceful exit.
     
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  14. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    I couldn't agree more about Rock Records. It was right on the way between my office and the train station for years, so I stopped in frequently. But its decline was more noticeably precipitous, maybe because it didn't have multiple locations to shift product around as other locations closed in phases as it could for the chains.

    I also shopped Rose/Tower on Wabash, Crow's Nest, and Borders on State, as well as my favorites out in the northwest burbs (3 Borders and 2 Tower locations and Laury's/Rose in Niles, the last gone by 1993). Frankly, the handwriting on the wall became quite noticeable everywhere starting about 2004. With Tower, it was always the separate classical room closing (and filled with storage of empty racks visible through the glass) and classical titles moved to share the remaining jazz room space with its also shrinking inventory. At Borders, first it was a shrinking number of CD bins, with more space being given over to expanding kiddy sections with more kiddy furniture, fewer and fewer CDs in the reduced number of bins that still remained (sometimes only 10% full toward the end). Of course Tower was the first to go starting late fall 2006 into winter 2007. The Wabash location remained more worthwhile to visit longer than others, possibly because of somewhat deeper inventory there (when Tower took over Rose in the 1990s, to their credit they inherited and maintained the Rose inventory at least at the flagship store on Wabash, even keeping some of the knowledgeable older staff in the departments, with the purple hair and piercings set mainly working main checkout downstairs). On the other hand, the Bloomindale location of Tower was the most depressing of all.

    Of course Borders hung on for five more years. During their final sales, I was keeping an eye on the Bob Dylan mono CD box at the Gurnee store, waiting for the price to drop below the early 20% off. When it got to 50%, I was in the store and it was still there, but I spotted another guy about my age eyeballing it in the locked glass display case near the front registers. When he walked off further back into the store, obviously looking for a clerk with a key who could open the case for him, I had to act fast. Since I was by the front registers (though not in line) I managed to get the attention of an unoccupied person behind the front register moving product around shelves behind the counter and got him to quickly open the case for me before that other guy could come back. Then I got in line before that other guy returned with another clerk to open the case, only to see the Dylan mono box now gone. Since I hadn't actually paid for it yet, I held it on the other side of my body while the guy was scanning the line for a "culprit" to challengelyrics (me). I just didn't want to get into a stink and have to defend that I got my mitts on it first. Whew! That was probably in March, 2011. I think the Schaumburg store closed in September 2011.

    Meanwhile Circuit City had already gone under about 2009, and Best Buy stopped even carrying CDs maybe three years ago. That leaves Barnes and Noble, though their own CD section today isn't that much larger than the one now at Wal-Mart (albeit with better selection).

    We can still all get what we need from Amazon, Music Direct, Acoustic Sounds and other online retailers (at least for now), but I badly miss the old days of going into a record store and flipping though the bins while hearing new music playing over the store's sound system, along with other clearly kindred (and at that time younger) spirits.
     
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  15. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    Location:
    Chicago
    Your Borders story kinda reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where George hides the suit that's going on sale (also, IIRC, the suit with the "noisy" pants). :laugh:

    I still remember walking in Crow's Nest downtown one day during my lunch hour and being stunned by the store-closing signs. They seemed to be doing well--I was certainly doing my part! Some mumbo-jumbo about DePaul buying the space for classrooms. Well, that turned into a frickin' Barnes & Noble. That's like closing down a fine restaurant to put up a Burger King.

    Probably my last memory of the Tower on Wabash was seeing about 20 copies of the Bad Company Audio Fidelity gold CD. I bought a few copies that I resold here--shoulda bought 'em all (haha). Oh, and about 50 or more copies of Mindy Smith's then-current CD, Long Island Shores, going for the sorry price of $1. Of course, I bought it at full price when it was released. Good album if you like female singer-songwriters with a little country/Americana tossed in. Anyway...

    I'm sure that I've mentioned this before, but I'm surprised that while other cities have their Amoebas, Bull Mooses, and Newbury Comics, nothing similar survived in the Chicago area.
     
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  16. weaselriot

    weaselriot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago, IL

    Well, I didn't really resort to active deceit. While in the locked case neither that other guy nor myself had a superior claim to that Dylan mono box. And I DID after all get the box out of the locked display case first, mainly by having a better idea to get someone's attention behind the front counter right next to where the case was, instead of wandering back deep into the store looking for someone with that employee lanyard around his neck. I just didn't want to have to arm wrestle him for it, and who knows what he might have accused me of doing to get it first.

    Anyway, all's well that ends well, for me that is. It was a fairly big deal at the time, though since then MFSL has subsqeuently issued all of those Dylan mono albums on stellar hybrid SACDs, except for "Blonde on Blonde". My guess is that MFSL won't undertake that one, considering the length of time that has elapsed after MFSL released the last of all the other Dylan mono titles, and probably because it would have to be a two disc set that MFSL doesn't want to take a chance on. So that Borders purchase still got me "Blonde on Blonde" in digital mono, if only redbook, and that thick booklet that came with the box (good for browsing while listening even to the MFSL monos). I am covered either way.
     
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  17. sa5150

    sa5150 Forum Resident

    What was the cd store in downers grove ? Bought a bunch of Cassingles there lol .
     
  18. sa5150

    sa5150 Forum Resident

    I think my favorites were Record City skokie , Rolling Stones Norridge and Wavelengths off of north and austin .
     
    jamesc likes this.
  19. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    Location:
    Chicago
    Sound Warehouse on 75th & Lemont? I think that's technically Downers. That was a great store!
     
  20. EddieMann

    EddieMann I used to be a king...

    Location:
    Geneva, IL. USA.
    Years ago I met a guy who told me that when Tower was going out of business they were throwing dumpsters of records away. He said he went out and quick bought a pickup truck and hauled off several loads.
     
  21. bob338

    bob338 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sausalito, CA
    I had the weirdest memory this morning of going to the FlipSide in Franklin Park as a kid. We lived at Grand and Mannheim, my grandfather was the pastor at Mannheim Baptist, and we lived behind the church in the parsonage. The Flipside was in the mall across the street opposite the Jewel.
    Anyway, my memory was of the lady that worked there that I thought was SO old who would recommend records to me. She was probably 20, at most! This was around 1980 and I was in maybe 5th or 6th grade. I spent a lot of time there playing Galaga and Defender, but sometimes would look through the racks. My interest in music was pretty much limited to what was on the radio, which I constantly taped, so I never really thought about buying music. We also were dirt-friggin-poor, so money was not really available for records. But somehow I saved up a little money and the first record I ever bought was Something New from The Beatles. I think I was going in to buy Love Stinks from The J. Geils Band, but she talked me out of it. I still have that Beatles record, and quite a few more, and I will always be thankful she steered me in that direction.
     
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  22. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    Location:
    Chicago
    Hadn't thought about The Flipside in ages. IIRC, they had locations in Berwyn and Downers Grove (right up the street from the now-defunct Fry's Electronics) that I used to hit in the old days. Probably the '90s, maybe late '80s, too.
     
  23. sa5150

    sa5150 Forum Resident

    The place i'm thinking of was not part of a chain . 2 words in the name , just can't think of it .
     
  24. Planbee

    Planbee Negative Nellie

    Location:
    Chicago
    Remember When on Ogden? That was Westmont, but close enough maybe.
     
    EddieMann likes this.
  25. sa5150

    sa5150 Forum Resident

    I think it was on highland/main street and ogden before sound warehouse that was further down .
     

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