Colin Hanks, son of Tom, directs All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records, a documentary about the death of not only Tower Records, but the institution of the record store.
Yes, there was a day when we would collect music on physical, tangible things we could hold in our hands and display in our house. Tower Records was a social place where you could go and learn musical knowledge from its employees, expand your musical horizons, and even pick up some hard-to-find movies on DVD.
Russ Solomon started it all in Sacramento, and his idea eventually went worldwide. Through interviews with Solomon and his cohorts, Hanks tells the story of how a good thing seemed to get a little ahead of itself, resulting in a collapse in the United States. (Tower does remain as an online store, and there are still some physical locations overseas.)
Hanks does a nice job of capturing the bygone era of the record store, and its now-largely forgotten value to the American consumer. Music used to be contained within the world of vinyl, cassette and CD. When you were listening to the music on one of these physical objects, you might’ve been able to skip a track, but move from not artist to artist, like one can do now on streaming sites. Music-listening was a more concentrated experience.
Music-shopping was a major part of American culture, and that culture is very much dead at the moment. Perhaps somebody will find a way to revive music stores as a regular occurrence, but I am not holding my breath. People love their MP3 download thingamajigs.
Special Features: There are deleted scenes and unused interview footage.