The man behind the iconic and now defunct Tower Records brand Russell “Russ” Solomon has passed away at age 92. A report from the Sacramento Bee says he was watching the Oscars and enjoying some of his favorite adult beverage (whisky) when he passed, which is a rather fitting way to go for the pioneer.
Russ’s son Michael Solomon said his dad died of an apparent heart attack. “Ironically, he was giving his opinion of what someone was wearing that he thought was ugly, then asked (his wife) Patti to to refill his whisky,” Solomon said. Russ was apparently unresponsive when Patti came back into the room.
Maybe you’ll recall the golden bags with the red lettering that accompanied purchasing music, or perhaps standing in line to purchase concert tickets in the ’90s. For me personally, hanging up flyers for local concerts on the board right inside the front door was a big part of my childhood in Stockton, CA. While perhaps more pricey than purchasing a cd from Costco (at the time), the selection at any Tower Records allowed music fans to branch out and find new artists and albums.
Solomon first founded the company in 1960 and stayed with the chain until it officially closed its doors in 2006 after digital music took over the audio landscape. Actually, if you haven’t seen it, the documentary All Things Must Pass about the chain is a pretty great watch — especially if you’re at all familiar with the store.
At age 81, Solomon went back to his first store location in Sacramento to plan a new record store, called R5 Records. It opened six months after Tower Records shut down, and used the same signature color scheme in a new logo created by Mick Michelson (who did the original Tower logo in the ’60s). Sadly R5 never really had a chance, and Solomon sold it to Dimple Records less than three years after opening.
Michael Solomon has said there are currently no public service plans for his father.