8 defunct record store chains you will never shop at again

Peaches, Strawberries, Coconuts — buying music will never be so sweet.

Top image: AP Photo/Richard Drew

What was it with fruit and record stores? In the 1980s, no matter where you were in the country, odds are you could find that new Billy Joel cassingle at a music retailer named after produce — Coconuts, Peaches, Strawberries. 

In the early decades of rock & roll, if you wanted to pick up a 45 or LP, odds are you picked it up off a rack at a store like Woolworth's. According to the book The Recording Industry, even as late as the mid 1970s, about two-thirds of all records were sold through "rack locations." Otherwise, you'd hit the local independent shop. It wasn't until the late '70s, early '80s that record store chains began to proliferate. 

Despite the variety of fruit-flavored names, most of the chains were eventually operated by one company, Trans World Entertainment, who snatched up most of the regional brands below. 

Let's take a stroll through the malls of the past! Where did you shop for music?

1. Camelot Music

If you were lucky enough, as we were growing up, your local Camelot had a medieval castle facade. It brought a nice Arthurian vibe to the mall. In the late 1970s, Camelot also tried to launch a chain of free-standing brick-and-morter stores called Grapevine Records and Tapes. 

Image: egsalms / Flickr

2. Coconuts

Folks in the Chicago area will remember this spot for CDs and tapes. The chain eventually expanded to other states.

Image: craigslostchicago

3. Peaches Records & Tapes

Was there a better place to pick up the Allman Brothers' Eat a Peach? The store even had a similar vintage farmstand look to its logo. The one-stop shop was known for decorating its exterior with massive blow-ups of the latest album covers. They also carried the produce theme over to the record bins, wooden crates you could purchase to store your sweet picks.

Image: glgmark / Flickr

4. Strawberries

Don't be fooled by the cute name — this New England–based chain had ties to the mob. Strawberries was opened and owned by Morris Levy, erstwhile owner of Manhattan's famed Birdland jazz club and president of the Roulette Records label. In 1988, Levy was convicted of extortion in Federal court. The FBI claimed he had ties to organized crime and drug dealers.


5. Sam Goody

Sam Goody was one of the last on this list to survive, as the mall chain made it into the new millennium before filing for bankruptcy in 2006. The slogan proclaimed "Goody got it," and indeed the company was able to lure big names to its New York City store. Even Laverne & Shirley showed up to sign copies of their record in 1976.

Image: AP Photo/Dawn Villella

6. Tape World

With its arcade-like logo, Tape World was one of the hot spots for music in the 1980s. Just consider the name itself — Tape World didn't have the foresight to include CDs or the hindsight to include records. They were all in on cassette tapes.

Image: Michael Galinsky, Malls Across America

7. Tower Records

Tower was one of the last giants. Its strength was in its stock, as the big retailer was able to carry seemingly every title, including a healthy selection of imports.

Image: AP Photo/Ric Francis

8. Turtle's

Those from the Atlanta area undoubtedly picked up some wax from Turtle's. The chain expanded around the Southeast. We remember showing up to one for a Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge release party back in the day.

Image: Pinterest


Malls are just not the same without Hickory Farms and Gadzooks. READ MORE

Image: retrospace.org / Flickr

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L 4 months ago
Downtown Lowell, MA also had Record Town. Where I lived, you either had the record department (Bradlees, Grants, JM Fields) or a "mom and pop" record store.
Djpmasman 5 months ago
I didn't read every single comment, but I can't believe that no one asked why the biggest of them all "Rose Records", was not on the list. There were a number of other well known record stores in Chicagoland also that weren't even mentioned. Very disapointing...
AuntieFreese 5 months ago
There are plenty of record stores in Chicago. I'm partial to Laurie's Planet of Sound. (And Vintage Vinyl's been going strong in Evanston for years.) https://www.timeout.com/chicago/shopping/the-12-best-record-stores-in-chicago
Liexus 5 months ago
I miss the mall’s I would go when growing up.
WatchingMe 5 months ago
Record City 4504 W. Oakton Street Skokie, IL
Flipside in the Oak Mill Mall 7900 N Milwaukee Ave, Niles, IL
Record Town & Tape World in Old Orchard Mall 4905 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, IL
They're all gone.
But I still have the 45's lp's & cassettes,
And some really great memories.
WatchingMe 5 months ago
TOWER RECORDS ONLINE STORE https://towerrecords.com/
brigarzmetv123 5 months ago
What about Miller's Outpost one of my favorites!!
MichaelVegas 5 months ago
I was wondering if you were going to say Tower Records, I use to go to college in San Francisco in the early 80's and I would stop off at the HUGE store they had there, they also had a lot of groups stop by for autographs and such. And Camelot was cool in the mall If I remember right they had posters too
TheDavBow3 5 months ago
Tower Records was the BEST! I lived in Philly in the late 80s/early 90s and their was a Tower Records with 3 floors. It was on South Street and that whole area never closed. Fun and crazy times. Much safer back then.
mayberrymiles 5 months ago
I had a Wooden Crate with the Peaches label for my LP’s. Just sold it on a garage sale a few years ago.
solarface 5 months ago
West coast had The Record Factory.... Catchy Diddy as well...
dth1971 5 months ago
What about Musicland or Record Town or National Record Mart/NRM?
MijiMo 5 months ago
I remember Sam Goody, Camelot, and Tower, but only from commercials...we had National Record Mart!
vinman63 5 months ago
Who would have thought a shop that started in a garage would rule the world.
TonyClifton 5 months ago
I remember Musicland, and I worked at Music + the first year I moved to So Cal. Good memories.
Markvaladez 5 months ago
In LA we has Misic+ and Licorice Pizza. Early 80s we’re awesome
Sooner 5 months ago
I hate it that all the really great, iconic businesses--not only record stores-- are dying because of the sterile mega-giant box stores and the internet.

I loved Tower Records. Like the article said, they had a huge inventory and I found obscure records I couldn't find anywhere else. I even had a Tower Records t-shirt that came free with a purchase.
Markvaladez Sooner 5 months ago
In the 80s, the Tower on Sunset was the place to be. There was a local DJ that was always drawing artists to that location. He also had a TV show at the time and just driving by you could catch glimpses of The Poorman interviewing bands in the parking lot.
jim 5 months ago
In Kansas City, it was Tiger’s Records on Independence Ave. Too bad they got busted for selling stolen goods. The $4.50 albums at Peaches were only $2.00! Also had an excellent selection of water pipes.
WilliamPerkins 5 months ago
Peaches, Sam Goode & Tower are the only ones I ever heard of.
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