The Way Back Machine: Record Stores & Headshops


Bronze Member
Username: Lovegasoline


Post Number: 68
Registered: Jul-05
Do any of you remember when the Vinyl experience and Headshop were synonymous?

Bleeker Bob's, a record store in NYC under went various changes through the hard years of the CD in the 1990s. I wasn't into LP's at the time, I was buying CDs like most folks. Over the months and years I'd pass by that store and it looked a little different each time. They were authentic Vinyl diehards: I distinctly remember at one point it looked like they were truly dying, bizz must have tapered off precipitously. They desperately fell on hard times...this is a store that was selling pretty much Vinyl for as long as I'd known them (22yrs). Then one day a few years ago like some odd mutant plant ... they sprouted a Headshop. It modestly attached to them outside on the sidewalk, just a guy with a folding table presenting his wares. He remains there to this day and I assume it's either a part of the store or he pays them rent to set up shop there. I recall when I first saw the Headshop 'annex' it struck me as an anachronism and terribly out of place and context.

The fact is, nothing could be further from the truth. Music Stores and Headshops have had a long history together. I just a moment ago found myself referencing Vinyl sellers in Manhattan (in another thread) and I thought of Bleeker Bob's. In this politically correct era it's hard to envision the concept of the merger: imagine Virgin, Tower, B&N, and other large music venders selling drug paraphernalia alongside their seems so far fetched! Yet when I reflect on my teenage years in MD in the late 1970s, I think of how common it was to see Headshops inside Music Stores. In fact, if you wanted to buy drug paraphernalia where else would you go BUT the Music Store?
Although it seems so difficult to fathom in today's world, it makes perfect sense...indulgence in the senses, sex-drugs-rock & roll. The demographic for both markets were served at one location: a perfect symbiotic relationship.

I hadn't seen the two under one roof for so long that stumbling upon it created an unusual frisson between memory and experience. The times certainly have changed.


Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 5920
Registered: May-04

To everything there is a season.

Unregistered guest
Twas the season to be jolly!
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