From Vinyl to Digital and Back Again

By Gary Calamar and Phil Gallo

Foreword by Peter Buck of R.E.M.
Edited by Scott Calamar, Packaged by LightSpeed Publishing
Published by Sterling Publishing, 256 pages
Hardcover; April 2010, ISBN 978-1-4027-7232-0
Paperback; February 2012, ISBN 978-1-4027-9455-1

Record Store Days jacket

Before the days of digital downloads, there was the record store: a place where music lovers could go to indulge their passion, where friendships and romances began, where bands formed, and where information was shared. It was a place that nourished the heart and soul of every music lover—a haven for creative people of all stripes.

Today, although fewer than three thousand record stores remain, their remarkable social and cultural impact can’t be ignored.
In fact, the history of the record store—whether a hot jazz emporium selling 78s or a psychedelic underground shop or a punk rock haven—parallels the history of recorded music itself. The great record stores that sprang up across America reflected not only the evolution of music, but revolutions in culture as well.

Record Store Days traces the growth of an industry that became inextricably entwined in the fabric of American life in the twentieth century. Through interviews, anecdotes, photographs, and memorabilia, the book takes us to the country’s most iconic record stores, including:
  • Tower Records, whose founder, Russ Solomon, turned one shop into an empire after placing a few racks in his father’s drugstore
  • Sam Goody’s, which built a classical LP business through reissues
  • Nashville’s Ernest Tubb Record Shop, known for their Midnite Jamborees, broadcast live after the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights
  • Kentucky’s Ear X-tacy, made famous by a bumper sticker
  • Rhino Records, which rewrote record store rules in the 1970s
  • Bleecker Bob’s in New York, known for its selection of punk records, especially singles
  • Chicago’s Dusty Groove, which was a central clearinghouse for soul, Brazilian, and African music in the late 1990s
  • Amoeba and its three California locations, which gave birth to the indie superstore as the Internet took its toll
Throughout this book, artists—many of whom worked in record stores—comment on their own experiences as they built their careers. Included are reminiscences by Peter Buck of R.E.M., filmmaker Cameron Crowe, Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group, and Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles, among others. Fun facts—such as a compilation of several well-known musicians’ first record-store purchases—complete this noteworthy volume.

The concept for this title was proposed by co-author Gary Calamar. LightSpeed pitched the book to the publisher and then packaged the book including editing, design, production, andacquiring many of the photos.

Out in time for the 3rd annual Record Store Day (April 17, 2010, the book features more than 150 photographs and is filled with reminiscences from musicians, music industry executives, record store owners and music fans from all across America.

Press coverage of the book has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, USA Today (second article), and other media.

Record Store Days is available at all major bookstores including Barnes & Noble and

Gary Calamar is a Grammy-nominated producer and music supervisor for his work on HBO’s Six Feet Under. He is currently overseeing the music on some of the most acclaimed and popular shows on television: True Blood (HBO), House (Fox), and Dexter (Showtime). Gary has also chosen the songs for the films Varsity Blues, for which he received a gold record, Slums of Beverly Hills, and After the Sunset. Gary is also a longtime DJ at public radio powerhouse KCRW (89.9 FM and in Santa Monica.

Phil Gallo has been a music journalist and entertainment editor for 25 years, most recently overseeing music news and reviews for Daily Variety and Variety. He has written for publications including the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, and Daily News Los Angeles.  He also contributes to the web sites The Wrap and LiveDaily. Gallo has appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews, 20/20, CNN, Headline News, and the BBC to talk about issues in the music industry.