Tower Records Documentary DVD Coming

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Tower Records All Things Must PassIf you were fortunate enough to live near a Tower Records store during the chain’s four-plus decades as a music retail destination, you likely planned regular visits to browse through the stores’ stacks of new releases and deep bins filled with extensive catalog. In its alphabetized racks, it was thrilling to stumble upon a gem in the “Miscellaneous R” bin, for instance and it was near-impossible to walk out of there with less than half a dozen items.

Established in 1960, Tower Records was a retail powerhouse with 200 stores, in 30 countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a small-town drugstore, Tower eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made an astounding $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But that’s not the story.

Directed by Colin Hanks, and featuring interviews with music icons like Dave Grohl, Elton John and Bruce Springsteen, All Things Must Pass is a feature documentary film examining the iconic company’s explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by its rebellious founder Russ Solomon. For seven years, Hanks took on the documentary that lamented and celebrated the Sacramento, CA-based retail chain that grew from his hometown into an American retail powerhouse.

Hanks, the son of actor Tom Hanks, grew up in Sacramento, so the Tower story is not unfamiliar territory to him. It’s good to see a native-son documentarian choose a hometown legend as the subject of a film, and it’s surprising that no one else thought of the idea first.

The ubiquitous Tower yellow bag

The ubiquitous Tower yellow bag

In Best Classic Bands‘ review when the film was released theatrically in October 2015, former Tower employee Jackson Griffith wrote: “Where the film succeeds, is how it conveys the emotional dimensions of the Tower story – there’s a sense among the players that it the chain’s rise from hometown record store to worldwide brand came as a genuine surprise, and when the dream finally crashed, the sadness expressed is palpable.” The documentary earned a 97% positive rating on

All Things Must Pass is being released on DVD on September 13 from MVD Entertainment Group. You can pre-order it here.

Related: Review of All Things Must Pass


Best Classic Bands Staff

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