Tower Records Founder Russ Solomon Dies at 92
- Tower Records founder Russ Solomon died at the age of 92 on March 4, 2018.
Solomon's family told the Sacramento Bee that he likely suffered a heart attack during watching the Academy Awards ceremony at his Sacramento home, "Ironically, he was giving his opinion of what someone was wearing that he thought was ugly, then asked (his wife) Patti to refill his whisky," at which point he died, Solomon's son Michael Solomon told the newspaper.
Russ Solomon first began selling records as a 16-year-old in Sacramento at his father's drug store in the city's Tower Theater building, calling his business the Tower Record Mart.
In 2016, he opened his first stand alone store and then eventually moved that original shop into its own building in 1965. Since then, his business grew and expanded throughout the United States with locations across the globe including Japan.
In 1999, Tower Records peaked with $1 billion in annual sales. However, the company over-expanded in an era where big box retailers encroached and digital file-sharing programs. Five years later, Tower Records would file for bankruptcy and ultimately went out of business in 2006.
Even after losing his business, Russell Solomon continued working. He went back to his first store location in Sacramento and planned a new store opening under the name R5 Records. But the new store never really got off the ground and after less than three years he sold it to Dimple Records, a local Sacramento chain.
- American actor Colin Hanks, who is a son of Tom Hanks, created documentary about the history of Tower Records titled "All Things Must Pass".
Colin Hanks told Rolling Stone of Tower Records' laissez-faire management style;
"You find the people that get their shit together, who get the job done, regardless of how much fun they have — and you leave 'em alone. It's pretty dangerous, but it works for the era and for the music business. Russ kept finding himself in the right place, at the right time, with the right attitude.
Within 0.3 seconds we knew that Solomon was a total character. But he insisted that he was not responsible for Tower's success, and that it was really the people that had started as clerks and worked their way up."
- source : New York Times