Story by George W. Forman

Saturday, April 22nd is Record Store Day, a day to celebrate independent record stores throughout the country.  Many of your favorite artists will have limited edition releases for the occasion, including Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Prince, Madonna, The Beatles, and newer artists like The Lumineers and Sia. The bulk of these releases will be on vinyl, which has been making a comeback in recent years with sales around the 16 million mark 2 years ago. Stores in places like Red Bank, Asbury Park, and Howell will be taking part.

Ah, record stores, those wonderful places where most of us spent a lot of time, and maybe too much money. But when you got that music home, whether it was on vinyl, tape, or later on CD, it was always worth it. I’m willing to bet that for the most part, you added to your music collection by checking out the music section of long-gone department stores like Two Guys, Korvettes, Grant’s, or Jamesway. When I was much younger and my grandparents lived in Brick, they would let me pick some 45’s when we would go to Britt’s or H.L. Green’s near the Laurelton Circle. Or did you go to the music chains like Sam Goody, Harmony House, or Tower Records?

But today is about the independent stores, so permit me to wax nostalgic (pun very intended) about places I knew growing up in North Jersey, like Melody Records in my hometown of Union. Or Vogel’s, Alwilk’s, and The Wagon Wheel in Elizabeth. And Clifton Music, which I learned about many years ago courtesy of my Beach Radio friend Bob O’Brien. Plus those pilgrimages into New York to check out Colony Records, Bleeker Bob’s and Downstairs Records. When it comes to the shore, I still miss The Turntable in Long Branch, a haunt of many music lovers including Bruce Springsteen. So today we raise a toast and drop the needle (with a nickel taped to the tonearm), to the stores celebrating Record Store Day. There’s more information at recordstoreday.com.