'˜It's not for nothing that we've been here 40 years': The Sheffield record shop thriving four decades on
Forty years ago, when Barry Everard opened Record Collector on Fulwood Road in Broomhill, there was no need for independent music retailers to have their own special day '“ customers bought new releases from real-life shops as a matter of course.
But times change, and despite the much-vaunted vinyl revival showing no signs of stopping, Barry will be stocking the usual array of sought-after limited edition releases for Record Store Day on Saturday – which is also, coincidentally, his 66th birthday.
The 40th anniversary is an excuse for ‘numerology’, Barry says. It’s actually his 45th year selling records, as he previously managed Virgin Records on The Moor before going it alone in Broomhill. “I’m pleased but simultaneously horrified.”
Vinyl, he accepts, is getting ‘stronger and stronger’, after years in which the format’s future looked dicey. More than four million LPs were sold in the UK last year, a level not reached since the early 1990s.
“It’s not for nothing we’ve been here for 40 years,” says Barry, who can count Sheffield musicians Jarvis Cocker, Richard Hawley and Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott among his supporters. Snooker player Steve Davis is also a fan, fond of dropping by to browse for rare finds when the world championships are held at the Crucible.
Johnny Marr, the former Smiths guitarist, once popped in and told Barry of his reputation as a ‘legend’.
“I was stunned. In my world it’s part of my role to go up to people like him and tell them how great they are.”
The four-decade milestone has stirred up memories of past celebrations. In 1998, the 20th anniversary was marked with a special gig at The Boardwalk by Mercury Prize winners Gomez, who were discovered in Record Collector.
Member Ian Ball visited regularly to pick up LPs by 1960s groups, and his well-developed tastes were spotted by assistant and ex-Comsat Angels frontman Stephen Fellows. Ian, a Sheffield University student, gave Barry and Stephen a tape of Gomez’s early work and they both ‘loved it’.
“Stephen went round to one of their parents and persuaded them to get the band members to leave university mid-course and signed a deal with Hut Recordings, the home of The Verve.”
Then, in 2011, for the 33 1/3 anniversary – timed to reflect the RPM speed of a long-player – Hawley organised a night of music at the Greystones. “That was nice.”
Now Record Collector has become the setting for a TV comedy. A mock-up of the store, accurately reproducing artist Martin Bedford’s shopfront logos and typefaces, was created in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, to film an episode of the Sky Arts series Urban Myths.
The programme, to be aired on May 24, is based on the tale of Kevin Wells, a Sheffield photographer who became an internet hit in 2015 after he gave rap group Public Enemy a lift from Barry’s shop to the arena in his Ford Focus. Kevin – played by Philip Glenister in the show – was a fan, and stepped in when Public Enemy’s taxi drove off without them, leaving them stranded just before their support slot with The Prodigy.
“Public Enemy, dare I say it, are a cut above your normal signing session - arguably the greatest band ever in history coming to your shop.”
Barry said the Urban Myths episode was ‘very touching’. “I’m really pleased with the tenor of it, it’s really sweet.”
Record Collector regularly makes national ‘top five’ lists, and the future of the vinyl shop, at least, is very secure. “A record shop will always be here. It’s busy and it’s viable.”
But council permission is in place to turn the larger CD shop next door into a café bar, if Barry wishes. Family are urging him not to go on until he’s ‘78 or some advanced age’, compact discs are on the wane in the era of streaming, and his Discogs online shop has a strong following. “I’m finding that a potential 70-hour week does not sit well with me.”
Barry will be interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live from 9am on April 21.