It’s a melting pot, meeting point, and so much more – Sheffield’s independent record stores have long been part of the city’s music scene, as The Star’s reporter Rachael Clegg reveals on Record Store Day today.
When Barry Everard established his record shop in 1978, the world was a very different place.
With no Amazon, fewer supermarkets, and no downloading, record shops were a thriving hub of cultural activity.
But, over the past decade, the independent record store has been in decline, unable to compete with the might of the internet.
But Barry’s shop – Record Collector in Broomhill – is still going strong.
He said: “We’re still here because we often appear in a lot of the ‘best record stores’ lists, but also we have a really broad customer base and sell a wide range of music, and most of the other South Yorkshire record shops have shut down.”
Today, along with thousands of other record stores across the globe, Record Collector is celebrating Record Store Day, which was set up in 2007 to support the world’s record stores.
“People come from all over for Record Store Day and the queue outside the shop is usually huge,” said Barry.
“Local businesses have even been making bacon sandwiches for people in the queue.”
Record Collector’s popularity is also owing to the fact that Barry featured in Last Shop Standing, a book and documentary film – both released internationally – about the rise, fall and rebirth of the humble record store.
The film also featured former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and Sheffield singer-songwriter Richard Hawley.
“It was a privilege to be a part of Last Shop Standing and I was humbled to represent a lot of shops in the UK industry,” said Barry.
And while his appearance in the film is substantial, he also contributed a great deal to the book.
“I wrote about Def Leppard coming in here, and all the various interactions that happen in the record shop,” he said.
For Barry, it’s the interactions that define what a record shop’s about.
“I’ve been friends with Richard Hawley for years as he’s been coming in here since he was about 10, and I’m sure that somewhere along the line I’ve been part of that ‘soup’.
“I suppose I’ve been Richard Hawley’s guitar consultant over the years, introducing him to various wild guitar players of all persuasions!”
Record Collector also appeared on Channel 4 News when Jarvis Cocker presented a package about Record Store Day in front of the shop.
But, celebrity endorsements aside, it’s the melting pot that Barry believes a record store is all about.
“It’s a cultural crossroads,” he said. “You can be looking for one record and stumble upon something totally unexpected – the internet can’t do that.
“On the internet, you could be buying Bob Dylan and it will suggest you Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen, and when you’re buying Leonard Cohen it might suggest you like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.”
It’s the obscure recommendations that can come only out of 40 years as a record shop proprietor that Barry believes in.
He said: “I put this one heavy metal guitarist on to an unusual group called Bad Brains, who are an American Rastafarian band who mix up rock and reggae, and that pretty much changed his life.”
Record Store day has also been marked with a series of one-off releases.
Barry said: “Sheffield band Bring Me the Horizon have released a special 10-inch picture disc for Record Store Day, and Pulp have released a new 12-inch single as well.”
The Pulp single, After You, which was first released to fans in December, now features a Soulwax remix. The single with the remix version will be available on Record Store Day.
Fellow Sheffielders The Crookes were also marking the event with a live performance at Record Collector at noon and city punk act, Bones Park Rider, have dedicated their latest EP, Girl in the Record Store, to Record Store Day.
Barry was also giving away 300 tickets to The Leadmill’s Saturday club night, Sonic Boom, to the first 300 people in the queue.