The lost record stores of Edinburgh
There has undoubtedly been a resurgence in vinyl with popular high street music stores even stocking up on records.
However, while the growth of vinyl has been watched keenly by music enthusiasts, sadly, a number of record stores did not survive to see the mass resurgence in the format.
Here’s a look at some of the long lost record stores of the Capital that are gone, but not forgotten.
Bruce’s, Rose Street
When you mentioned the word record and Edinburgh, Bruce’s is one of the 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.
“One of the things we did in the shops, particularly in Edinburgh, was to encourage acts to come in to sign autographs and we had some amazing artists – Ian Dury, Tom Petty, Blondie, The Police.
“The shop became a place where people would come to hang out as well as buy music.
“It was good times and we had a glorious run”
Avalanche Records, Cockburn Street
Another memorable shop was Avalanche Records. So memorable in fact that writing about it in the past tense feels wrong.
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 with the resurgence of records contributing to its demise. 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 recently. 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.”
Bandpants, Antigua Street
Bandpants 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
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.
Honourable mentions- HMV Princes Streets, John Menzies