All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records – Director, Colin Hanks

This documentary covers the 45 history of Tower Records, an international record retailing company that started modestly in Sacramento California and spread right around the world. From being one of the most successful retail companies in the world in 1999, they then filed for bankruptcy in 2006. A sudden and dramatic crash. The man who founded the company was Russ Solomon and he gathered around him in 1961 a variety of unusual people who liked the fact that employees could wear what they liked, let their hair grow, do drugs and charge them as a petty cash item and drink. They only had to show up for work in order to keep their jobs. He was however a great judge of people and gathered a group of people who loved music, were friendly and committed and in the end hard working in their own way. From a very humble beginning it grew to a mega corporation that really outgrew the skills and ability of its creator. The film and the archival footage of the stores reminded me of Sam the Record Man and Solomon reminded me totally of Sam Sniderman. Interestingly both companies closed within one year of each other. Sam’s started in the basement of Sniderman’s home in 1937 but opened its main store on Yonge street in 1961 the same year as Tower Records. The similarities suggest that Tower Records and Sam the Record Man were victims of the same forces and not really victims of the inability of the founders to adapt to a new reality. Nonetheless the similarities are stunning and the film is totally fun until the end when the corporatism just becomes boring and put me off as much as it did Russ Solomon. Nonetheless this is fun movie and worth your time particularly if you shopped for LP’s in the 60’s.