Hi-Fi One Stop was a stereo/record store on Glen Avenue, that I used to go to quite a bit when I was in high school because it was located so close to the school. You could walk there in under five minutes when school was over. I never actually bought any stereo equipment in there, but I bought a lot of records at that store and spent countless hours flipping through the albums in bins at Hi-Fi One Stop. I think it’s now a printing place and I’m pretty sure that’s the original building which is still standing there. I drive by it all the time and always mean to stop in and see if anyone knows the history of what happened to the place through the years. So I thought that would be today’s destination, to the MBIP Mobile!
We're traveling down Sheridan Road, I remember riding my bike down this road to travel to Hi-Fi One Stop as a kid.
There's my old school, Bergan, which now is Notre Dame High School. We'll be to the spot that used to be Hi-Fi One Stop in about 37 seconds...
Okay, it only took 29 seconds, we're making great time today! Here we are at the place that used to be Hi-Fi One Stop, it's now a printing business called, Brown Printing. I spent decades working in the printing business so it'll be fun to not only see if they can tell me the history of what's been in here since Hi-Fi One Stop was here, but we can also talk shop about the incredible shrinking world of printing.
Well, a funny thing happened after I took this shot and tried to go in, the door's are locked...
Shit, they must be on vacation. I always say that doing this blog is like improv journalism, you never know what's going to happen. Well, we'll have to come back here on another day. Not for nothing, but that's a pretty decent unplanned obligatory mirror shot going on in that photo! I should also note that I hate it when people spell, "through" that way. I have the same hatred for "Light" being spelled, "Lite." Ugh.
As I headed back to the MBIP Mobile, I saw an old sign hanging in the back of the lot, let's go take a look at that.
Wow, that sure is a blast from the past, "Stan Byerly Sound Systems." When we come back, we'll find out how old that sign is. In the meantime I looked over to my left and saw something that triggered a lot of high school memories...
Ha! That hunk of cement and this corner of the back of this building is an area we called, "Mullen's Stoop," back in high school and we used to come here before school started and smoke cigarettes back here, both the filtered and unfiltered kind. The stoop was named after, Bill Mullen, a portly, bald and somewhat nervous and shaky teacher who taught Physical Science at Bergan. Well, since this post is somewhat of a bust, I thought I'd write something after work about records or record stores. That should be below this caption, unless I couldn't think of anything. Scroll down and see what I came up with, if anything. For now, I have to go home and get ready for another night of work. See you in about eight hours.
Eight Hours Later...
Record Store Memories
While I have fond memories of Hi-Fi One Stop, you never forget your first time. Here’s some memories of the first record store I ever fell in love with.
The first record store I ever hung out at on a regular basis was a store in a mall in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s funny, I can’t remember if it even had a name, we always just called it, “The Record Store.”
My family lived in Louisville from 1963 to 1969. In the fateful summer of 1965 my brother Jim and I traded a tin box containing a bubblegum card collection to a neighbor for a Dave Clark Five 45 rpm single, titled: “Catch Us If You Can,” and we both became vinyl junkies from the moment that the stereo needle hit that spinning black disc’s groove on our family's console stereo in our living room. Soon we would forever chase the dragon that was released when we tore the shrink wrap off of a vinyl LP and that “new record” smell would permeate our nostrils.
I believe Louisville was one of the first cities to have an indoor shopping mall in the '60's. When our family went there, we’d all split up. Everybody went to their own stores of interest and my brother Jim and I would make a bee-line for the record store which was located smack-dab in the middle of the mall, opposite a caramel corn and candy store. I can still remember the sticky-sweet scent of that store which would waft over to the nearby record store as we made our entrance.
We couldn’t afford to buy records often, but we loved flipping through the albums and picture sleeve 45’s in the bins in the store and talking to the kids that worked there. We thought they were really old and cool, but looking back there probably wasn’t anyone on the staff over 18-years-old at the record store. They all got a kick out of the fact we were just kids (we started hanging out in there in 1965, I was seven and my brother Jim was nine), but we really were into rock 'n' roll music. Especially The Beatles.
One day we were talking to a lanky kid who worked there and my brother Jim asked him who Chuck Berry was. We had seen his name via song credits on Beatles and Rolling Stone albums and wondered who this mysterious songwriter was that appeared on our musical heroes record albums.
I remember the kid laughing and telling us that Chuck Berry was to the Beatles, what the Beatles were to us. He said Chuck Berry was a big influence on the Fab Four. We were confused about this new information and he told us to go to the “B” section and we’d find some of his albums. We dutifully went and studied some of Chuck Berry’s albums. I can’t remember all the Chuck Berry albums they had in stock, but I do remember looking at one in particular called, “St. Louis to Liverpool.”
It took about three months, but my brother Jim finally saved up enough money to buy “St. Louis to Liverpool.” at the record store. I remember that kid behind the counter giving us an all-knowing smile as he took my brother’s money, letting us know we were doing the right thing.
We went home, put it on our parents fake-wood console stereo and immediately became Chuck Berry fans. Some of the songs on that album included, "No Particular Place to Go", "Promised Land" and "You Never Can Tell". Through the years we also learned about other artists that influenced The Beatles like The Everly Brothers, Phil Spector and Little Richard in that record store, from talking to other kids and the ones that worked behind the counter. For me, record stores were always equal parts social and shopping experiences.
The last time I was in that record store at the mall, in Louisville, it was 1969 and we were going to be moving to Peoria, Illinois in about a week. I was eleven-years-old. I remember staring at the album, Crosby, Stills and Nash with my brother Jim. Some gangly kid with greasy black hair and pimples, who went to the same school as us wandered over, pointed to the album cover picturing Graham Nash, Stephen Stills and David Crosby seated on a ratty couch in front of a house and asked us who they were. We immediately started telling him how one was a Byrd and one used to be a Hollie and Stephen Stills sang the hit song, “For What It’s Worth,” for The Buffalo Springfield. I remember talking to that kid for quite a while till he had to go. We couldn’t afford to buy the album, so we bought the single, “Marrakesh Express” and took it home and played it about 57 times on the cheap little hi-fi in our bedroom.
I’ve never bought anything from iTunes, but I can’t imagine it’s the same experience at all. I'm really grateful for all my record store memories.
I’ve had the pleasure of writing and blogging about a lot of record stores on different blogs through the years, here’s some links to some of those posts:
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