grand opening sale at tower records piccadilly

Vintage Ad #93 - Tower Records Comes to London
One anniversary I missed last month - the 20th for British rock magazine Q.

Amy and I started to pick it up around '93 and were regular readers for the rest of the decade, before price increases forced us to the back issue market. We'd howl at its humourous edge, especially the "Who the Hell" interviews and the side comments used for photos. English words drawn from article headlines slowly crept into our vocabulary. It was much fresher than the North American press - did we really need to know everything about a tired 70s act's latest project, as Rolling Stone often featured?

Cover stories on the premiere issue were Paul McCartney, Big Audio Dynamite, Lenny Henry and cocaine. Among the pieces inside:

* How digital audio tape threatens to sink the then-still-new compact disc
* The collapse of Stiff Records
* The new face of British horror fiction (featuring Alan Moore, Ramsey Campbell and Clive Barker)
* Reviews of albums by Elvis Costello (Blood & Chocolate, 3 of 5 stars), Human League (Crash, 4 stars), Huey Lewis & The News (Fore, 3 stars), R.E.M. (Life's Rich Pageant, 4 stars), Lionel Richie (Dancing On The Ceiling, 4 stars), Paul Simon (Graceland, 5 stars) and Talking Heads (True Stories, 4 stars). Stinking up the joint? One star each for The Bolshoi, Love & Rockets and The Lover Speaks.
* New movies in the UK that month: About Last Night..., Day Of The Dead, Highlander and Mona Lisa

As for Tower Piccadilly, I often browsed there while living in London. Problem was UK CD prices were out of my range, about double what the going rate was in North America (they certainly didn't slide down to the record/tape prices shown in the ad). Tower sold the Piccadilly store to Virgin in 2001, who still run it as one of their Megastores.

Source: Q #1, October 1986 


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