Category Archives: Tower Records

Tower Records Founder Dies While Watching the Oscars

For those who were a part of Tower Records’ meteoric rise, news of founder Russ Solomon’s passing was bittersweet. The eccentric, beloved figure passed away while watching the Academy Awards this Sunday. According to his wife, the 92-year-old music maestro was drinking a glass of whiskey and requested a refill from her. As usual, he had been chatty, commenting on what he believed to be a bad fashion choice. However, when Solomon’s wife returned with the drink, Solomon had died. It was the perfect ending for a man who lived his life with gusto and enjoyed every minute.

Back in the 1960s, Solomon had started Tower Records in a drugstore. These humble roots would belie what a big deal the chain would eventually become. It wasn’t long before Solomon expanded the store, branching out into different cities. In the seventies and eighties, a store on Sunset Boulevard set the tone for the music industry. With some of the biggest names in the business stopping by, Tower Records cemented its status as a mecca for talent. The chain expanded, eventually doing about a billion dollars in business during 1999. However, the business was disrupted by the rise of file sharing, filing for bankruptcy just five short years later.

Those who worked for the record chain will never forget Solomon’s commitment to great music, as well as his unorthodox business sense. Employees were encouraged to live their own lives and dress as they saw fit, allowing no rules to hold them back.