Record Store Day 2023: Edinburgh's lost record shops that defined the city's music scene - including Bruce's
The likes of Thorne Records on Bruntsfield Place, Underground Solu’shn on Cockburn Street, VoxBox Records on St Stephen Street and Good Vibes on
Constitution Street will all be marking the occasion with live sets and the like, all while hoping to shift some vinyl.
Sadly, many of the Capital’s great record stores are no longer in business.
Here we take a nostalgia-tinged look at some iconic record stores that are no longer in business – but are still fondly remembered.
Bruce’s, Rose Street
When you mentioned the word record and Edinburgh, Bruce’s is one of the very first things that comes to mind.
Originally a shop in Falkirk, the second store from brother’s Bruce and Brian Finlay arrived in the Capital in 1969.
Bruce’s specialised in US imports and underground rock and carrier bags branded with the ‘I Found It At Bruce’s’ slogan with the owner of Glasgow’s Love Music store even working in the store.
For thousands of 1970s and 80s teenagers, the music shops were essential meeting points to pick up the latest vinyl and carry it home in an ‘I found it at Bruce’s’ bag.
Speaking in a previous interview to the Edinburgh Evening News about his store, Bruce Findlay said: “In those days the record shop in the high street enjoyed the same profile in the community as the butcher and the baker.
Avalanche Records, Cockburn Street
Another memorable shop was Avalanche Records. So memorable in fact that writing about it in the past tense feels wrong – especially as they have since reopened in Waverley Market!
While it later moved to Grassmarket, the heart of Avalanche Records was in the iconic Cockburn Street location. The cult shop closed in March 2016.
The resurgence of HMV and its Fopp subsidiary made it difficult to operate as an independent record seller in the Scottish capital and the firm even withdrew from Record Store Day.
Speaking on the demise of the store, Bruce Findlay said: “It’s pretty ironic that he should be closing when in fact there is a little bit of an upturn in the fortunes in independent record stores across the country.”
Bandparts, Antigua Street
Bandparts was a rarity in the Edinburgh music scene. It was one of the few stores in the Capital that opened its doors to customers to come in and listen to the latest albums that were available in listening booths.
The store owners, Ronnie and Dorothy Blacklock, even feature in an Irvine Welsh novel, such was the impact and adoration of the store.
Ezy Ryder, Oddfellows’ Hall
It was hard to pinpoint exactly what Ezy Ryder was, and perhaps that was part of its demise that saw it close in 1984.
Selling second hand records while sharing space with a clothes retailer, Ezy Ryder was at the heart of the vinyl scene in the Capital.
Selling a variety of records, perhaps this much loved store would have succeeded a little longer if the rest of the goods has been as popular as its records. Records sold for as little as 2p a pop there was value to be had at the store.
Gutter Music, Henderson Row
In terms of low prices, you couldn’t get much better than Gutter Music for a wide variety of music.
Specialising in vintage LPs and 45s the Glasgow-based shop had a significant impact on the Scottish music scene, in particular with the independent music scene.
The Other Record Shop, High Street
Many a record collection began in John Menzies in Edinburgh
The Other Record Shop moved from the High Street to Princes Street in Edinburgh in December 1985 but sadly did not last much longer. Offering 12” and 45s, the second hand store was a focal point of High Street for any music fan.
John Menzies, Princes Street
While it wasn’t strictly a record store, John Menzies Princes Street branch had a great music section and is where many people in the Capital went to buy their music.
Unknown Records, Canongate
A brilliant little record shop on the Canongagte, Unknown Records was a big favourite with vinyl collectors due its great selection.
In 2020, during the Covid pandemic, owner Mike Craig announced that the shop would be closing.
He said: “We’re just going to be online now after 14 years of having an Edinburgh store.
“I have been selling vinyl records for 23 years – the business started off in Halifax and I ended up moving to Scotland.
“In 2005 we started the first store in St Andrews before opening on Canongate in 2006.”
HMV, Princes Street and St James Centre
HMV, with its flagship store at the west end of Princes Street, and another small branch attached to St James Centre, was one of the best places in the city to buy new music, The Princes Street store disappeared in 2016, when it was replaced by Sports Direct.
HMV now has an Ocean Terminal store, while last year the company made a historic return to Princes Street with the new focus on – you guessed it – vinyl.