Going on the record

Philip Cann in Chapel Walk c1980
Philip Cann in Chapel Walk c1980
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To mark Record Store Day we look at shops that formed a key part of Shefield’s music scene.

IT is an annual date that must be music to the ears of those who love their vinyl.

Mark Richardson in Revolution Records, 1995

Mark Richardson in Revolution Records, 1995

Record Store Day promotes independent music shops and encourages more of us to buy our tunes from local retailers.

This year’s event on Saturday was its usual success with venues across Sheffield supporting the UK-wide campaign. The Everly Pregnant Brothers squeezed into Record Collector in Broomhill; Doncaster rockers The Kavaliers knocked out a set in honour at LP Record Shop, in Arundel Street; and The Star’s own cartoonist, James Whitworth provided the official illustration for the UK-wide posters.

Now to celebrate these shops where the racks are always full, the sounds are normally loud and the staff are often surly (though incredibly knowledgeable too), Midweek Retro brings you these images from The Star archive.

They show some of Sheffield’s best loved independent music outlets from down the decades. And there’s a couple of HMV too.

BARRY EVERARD & BEATLE'S RECORDS Barry Everard pictured with some of his Beatle's records at Record Collector, Broomhill.

BARRY EVERARD & BEATLE'S RECORDS Barry Everard pictured with some of his Beatle's records at Record Collector, Broomhill.

“Record stores aren’t like other shops,” says Mark Richardson, owner of LP. “It’s not just about going in, buying what you want and being on your way; it’s more than that.

“They’re the base for little communities to develop. You’re in a place with like-minded people who share your interests so friendships form. They’re special.”

Well remembered outlets in Sheffield include Rat Records in Suffolk Road, Violet May in Matilda Street and Philip Cann in Chapel Walk - although more unusual places have been known to sell vinyl too. Go back to the start of the 20th century and you’d have been able to pick up some sounds from The City Tyre and Vulcanising Co, in Rockingham Street. Suburban chemists, grocers and even furniture stores all sold music at one time or another. So too did department stores like Atkinsons and Cole Brothers. And even as little as 20 years ago there were more than 10 dedicated indie retailers in the city.

Today that figure is just five. And there’s (just) HMV too.

Yet Mark - who opened his first store, Revolution Records in Cambridge Street, in 1995 - reckons the well-documented decline has now levelled out.

“We’re starting to see more people coming in again - and more young people,” notes the 50-year-old of Nether Edge. “I think people are bored of living their lives with their nose in a laptop or tablet. They want to interact.”

James Whitworth, who says he’s spent half his life and more of his salary in record shops, agrees.

“They’re magical places,” notes the 44-year-old of Fulwood. “Buying music should be a ritual. You can’t admire the art on a download. You can’t get human advice from the internet. I still fondly remember where I bought half my records from. What would you remember today? An Amazon transaction?”

And Neil Anderson, whose Dirty Stop Out books on Sheffield’s shopping and nightlife down the 20th century have featured plenty of record shops, feels the same.

“I used to spend most Saturday afternoons wandering between record shops,” notes the 46-year-old of Millhouses. “It was special. What a shame youngsters can’t do that today. They’re missing out.”