Russ Solomon...what more can be said that hasn't already been said here on Facebook and elsewhere? I never met the man but saw him around town (and at the Broadway Tower Records) plenty of times when I was a lad living in good 'ol Sacto. The Tower Theater, as well as Tower Records and Books on Broadway were an enormous part of my growing up in Sacramento. I bought records from there, books, magazines, posters, Comix (Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers), on and on. I wasn't around for the Pharmacy/Soda Fountain part of the Tower Legacy but that's okay.
That particular Tower location holds a lot of "Firsts" for me... I bought my first records there starting with 45's when I was in 5th grade at El Dorado School (I *think* it was ABC by the Jackson 5)! The very first "album" that I bought myself there was the Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers." Tower wasn't off-limits to my early criminal activities...however, I only stole two (2) record albums in my life. The first one was from Tower (sorry, Russ) when I was in high school after I saw some guy on Saturday Night Live singing about a drunk piano (Tom Waits "Small Change" I still have it). As the years progressed I hung out at the original location of Esoteric Records (across from the duck pond at McKinley Park) and after Denis & Rick moved it to Broadway as I did my record buying there but on occasion I'd haunt the Broadway location for the odd Lightnin' Hopkins album and such.
I also went to movies at the Tower Theater... I remember seeing James Bond "Diamonds Are Forever" there as well as "A Fist Full of Dollars" with my best friend John Hurst. How two 10 year olds were allowed into such movies by themselves....but that was a different time. A few years later, I went on my first "movie date" when I was in 7th grade in junior high school (Kit Carson) with a girl who was in 8th grade and went to a completely different school (Sam Brannon Junior high school). I continued to see movies at the Tower Theater on through high school and just after with a date or just friends until I moved away for good in late 1982. Ah, the memories...
As I said, I never met Russ Solomon but I am sure lucky to have grown up in a town that had a guy like Russ there with that vision, who inadvertently helped me with my love for music, film and early life. Thanks, Russ.
(photo courtesy of Chuck Clarke)