Tower Records founder Russ Solomon dies at Sacramento home

Joann Johnston
March 6, 2018

Russ Solomon, who founded Tower Records in Sacramento in the 1960s, reportedly died on Sunday.

His son Michael told the Bee that Solomon died from a heart attack while he was watching the Academy Awards. When his wife returned, the music retail legend had died. Rest in peace, Russ.

A handful of Tower Records franchises still exist in several countries outside the US.

He soon made a decision to buy records wholesale in nearby San Francisco and in 1960 opened the first Tower Records in Sacramento.

The elder Solomon began selling records out of his dad's drugstore in 1941 at just 16 years old. In 1968, he was hungover and eating in a diner in San Francisco.

"You may be insane, but you do it anyway", Solomon said at the time. The one on Bascom Avenue in Campbell, across from the Pruneyard, ruled the South Bay rock world for ages.

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A self-described "aging hippie", Solomon transformed Tower into a global force that - at its peak - was a billion dollar company.

Yet, the bubble would soon burst.

Solomon opened his first Tower Records shop in 1960, where it boomed into a decades-long success. His strategy was to go big and stock his stores with as many record choices as possible.

Tower filed for bankruptcy in 2004, then again in 2006, according to the Sacramento Bee.

When news spread of Solomon's death, many people took to social media to share what Tower meant to them as music fans.

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