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Another 60's Relic May Pass Away

Back in 1978 my own Galaxy Records was in direct competition with a number of other record retailers that during the booming late 70's until the 1980 recession knocked a large number of the stores out of business, eventually including my own Galaxy Records.

One of my main competitors that I always admired was the counterculture generation record store, Music Millennium. This store always had a funky 1960's underground hippie appeal, even though it was situated right in the middle of the affluent Laurelhurst District. I've remained a sometimes customer of this great funky 60's business that has survived since 1969. There were always great imports of T.Rex and other groups that I loved that I could always find at Music Millennium. In fact, the last Christmas gift that I ever received from my parents for Christmas 2007 was THE DOORS box-set, PERCEPTION, purchased at Music Millennium. Both my parents died within 90 days of each other later that year, so that last gift holds a special value to me.

At one time I had a strained relationship with Music Millennium owner Terry Curry, due to some newspaper ads I was running comparing prices, and Curry made an angry phone call to me one day to protest. But I still continued to admire his store. My own store had a far slicker persona than the funky Music Millennium, but I always loved that atmosphere compared my well lit and slicker operation. Music Millennium was always slightly dark inside, and always managed to have that smell of incense and hippie counterculture all about it while my store just wasn't as fun to shop at. My main draw was cheap prices. Music Millennium had both atmosphere as well as a large selection of great recordings in a relatively tight store.

Music Millennium did face some interesting challenges over the years. Since it's beginning, besides music, the store once had a huge stock of bongs and pipes to sell. And at one point when the tide began to turn against Marijuana use by government officials, during the Reagan era, Music Millennium was forced to comply and do away with the bong and pipe sales. You might have to ask what sort of counterculture nonconformists would bow down to government, yet Music Millennium probably felt that their main mission was always music, so why jeopardize that part of their business just to make some political point when times had shifted against them continuing to sell those controversial items.

But Music Millennium never lost it's antiestablishment appeal. During the 2008 presidential election they had plenty of anti John McCain bumper stickers to sell. Any good left leaning 60's generation-type certainly could still feel at home there.

Music Millennium certainly has good sections of all my favorite 60's artists such as CANNED HEAT, THE DOORS, JIMI HENDRIX, THE STONES, TEN YEARS AFTER, and even relatively forgotten groups such as THE FUGS or BLUE CHEER. The rare Cd versions of SILVER APPLES are there along with SAVOY BROWN and numerous other old time counterculture rock bands. No matter what you like with old groups, whether it be COUNTRY JOE & THE FISH or LEE MICHAELS, etc, you can usually find at Music Millennium, or they can get it if it's not out of print. It's one heck of a great store.

But all of this older inventory or pressings of older bands might just be part of what has gotten Music Millennium into their current mess. Music Millennium is still trying to sell to the aging 60's and 70's generation new Cds of favorite groups, when the problem is that the entire music scene has changed. Cds are less popular now than in past years, partly because many younger buyers now buy music downloads on the computer, or in some cases still use illegal downloading sites to shortchange the record industry and the artists. Add to this the recent serious economic decline, that the British Prime Minister is now calling a world wide "depression" and Music Millennium is struggling with a sales decline of about 50% in recent months, even despite Christmas sales. That's really devastating news.

This relic of the 60's survived the uptight Reagan, Bush and Bush-II regimes. Survived past economic slowdowns. But now a perfect storm of problems could torpedo this great 60's icon of a business.

The fact of the matter is that Terry Curry did everything right that he could to make his Music Millennium a perfectly cool place to shop for so many years since 1969 when this store opened it's doors. But now the economy as well as the music and the way that many buy their music has changed so much that perhaps Music Millennium might be doomed and not survive.

As a last ditch attempt at survival, the store is running a funny sale in which you sing a little song at the counter and you get a discount. It is a funky little typical Music Millennium quirk and just another reminder why this great store deserves to survive for many more years, but may not. music millennium.jpg

There are some bumper stickers sold around Portland by loyal Portlanders that read "Keep Portland Weird". Well, Music Millennium has done it's part for all these years. I wish Terry all the luck in the world to make his dream survive. Music Millennium is way cool. And I need some place to buy my HENDRIX and DOORS stuff.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (6)

Allen:

Paul, this is nice and neat, but it doesn't mean manure to what is going on in this country today. Are you like our spineless people in congress? Why aren't you talking about the present problems? HEY grow a pair, or quit blogging!

Are you trying to take people's minds off of the problems this country is having? You know, unemployment, more job losses, bail out for the rich, which is wealth care, etc.

Grow a pair will you? Or move to Nevada and join forces with Senator Reed! Do you know that the idiot CEO's of failing companies on Wall Street and bitching that their wages are going to be controlled by the gov't if they receive taxpayers money?

Why aren't you talking about that?

Hello, Allen. I personally thought that this post was another important take on how this serious recession is destroying many long time businesses and actually changing the culture of the country. I do subscribe to a labor union publication, and it gives many ideas for some serious economic posts to write as well.

Last night, I had a phone call with the Democratic National Committee of which I'm a member because of donations I make to the party, and I urged them to urge President Obama to ask the networks for a 30minute 5 or 6pm address to the nation about the seriousness of the economy and how the economic stimulus bill will address it.

Allen:

Paul, thanks for the reply, but it doesn't answer my questions, does it? Start stating about how everything is going to hell, and who is causing it.

Tax cuts for the ultra rich is not the answer, as the trickle down BS has proven it doesn't work.

What about war crimes? Under Ronnie Raygun who sign the treaty, waterboarding anyone is a crime! Why don't you mention that?

Like I said you need to grow a pair, and get Lee to also grow a pair! Try to start telling the truth about what is going on!

Are you the same Paul Hooson who used to write all those long, meandering posts at Polipundit?

If so, are you still driving your Gremlin?

Hello Jeanette, welcome to my humble blog I share with a few others here.

I actually retired the hot rod V8 Gremlin last year, when a fellow in Missouri offered me $2,800 for it. And I got into riding motorbikes instead and currently own two. But I also have a Jeep Cherokee and an Oldsmobile as well.

I'd like to buy a bigger bike this Spring so I can give my good looking 28 year old blonde haired girlfriend rides on it, which seems like a fun thing to do for a 53 year old guy like me. Motorbikes are probably my favorite rides of all right now. Qlink has a nice automatic transmission motorcycle I really like. I think my girl would look pretty good on the back of a bike. She has a great look I love. She's wonderful. I'm a happy guy.

Andy:

Dude, I don't know you're 'girl' at all, but I don't think she appreciates being called a girl if she's 28. She's a w-o-m-a-n.


Girl is so 20th cent.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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