I read the other day that Branson has sold the Virgin Megastore chain. The buyers are some of the senior staff at the company, which is nice to see. They have decided to rebrand the chain though and it’s new name from November will be… wait for it… Zavvi.
I hope that it survives. I’ve been reading in the past year that many chains (MVC and Tower records) are going under. With more and more people buying songs online…additionally with today’s news of Amazon USA opening their mp3 download store and of course Cherry Red Records in the UK, the traditional record shop is disappearing from… well I was going to say from the High Street, but apart from HMV and Virgin, the better record shops were never found in the High Street, always down some side street.
Another article via the Beeb reports on how many of the shops down my favourite and probably most famous side street for records in the world – Berwick Street.
Mister CD is closing down. Selectadisc has gone. Reckless Records has gone bankrupt. But like the above management buyout there is still someone there who will continue on. SisterRay still have their shop further down, but the article mentions that they bought the old Selectadisc premises and opened there too.
It will be sad going to Piccadilly Circus and not seeing Tower Records there (location bought by Virgin Megastore, soon to be Zaavi). But as Dave Killington of Mister CD says in that article: “People over 35 are still buying CDs, but no-one under 35 is,” says Mr Killington. “We’re just going the way of technology.”
And those people left who are buying CD’s are purchasing them online more often too.
So this post is to mark the passing of the traditional store and to post a song which marks the heyday of the record shop and of the time when the bands designed and homemade the covers to their singles which they went round to local record shops to ask them if they would stock it.
There is a footie connection with this one: The Freshies were big Man City supporters. The did a track called “Dancing In The Kippax” which I’ll have to find. You might be more familiar with the lead singers other persona – and another well known Citeh fan – Frank Sidebottom.
In 1980 the Freshies put out a single which not long after it’s release, Virgin Records made them change the title to remove the name of their chain. Which with looking at Richard Branson and the way he constantly promotes himself and his ventures, was a bit of a strange move. Obviously Sir Richard didn’t have a say in this. In fact a couple of years ago Branson was looking for the girl who was on that checkout counter.
So the title was changed from: “I’m In Love With The Girl On The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk” to:
“I’m In Love With The Girl On A Certain Manchester Megastore Checkout Desk” and still holds the record as the longest title of a chart single. Again it is strange that they were made to change the title because in the lyrics to the song they mention many other record labels.
..and the branded version:» I’m In Love With A Girl on The Manchester Virgin Megastore Checkout Desk
The band is no more, but Frank Sidebottom lives on and has his own telly show !
Channel m – the TV Channel for Greater MCR.
Bonus video » Watch Frank Sidebottom’s Supergroup covering The Fall’s “Hit The North”: