Way back in 2011, Colin Hanks was a guest on the Nerdist podcast and mentioned that he was hoping to make a documentary about Tower Records. Over the next 4 years I never stopped hoping that the documentary would actually be made. When I finally heard All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records was being released in theaters this past fall I did a little happy dance.
It would have been happier if it had ever actually made it to a theater in Baltimore. It was one of those things that opened in New York and Los Angeles to start and then eventually made its way around the country in spurts. For whatever reason as far as I can tell it never came anywhere in Maryland. I don’t know why. There’s several theaters I can imagine having played it.
At any rate I resigned myself to waiting for it to become available online before I was going to get to see it. Last time I checked it still wasn’t available. Then last night as I was scrolling through my Twitterfeed I noticed a tweet from Colin Hanks that was retweeted by Jason Isbell, a musician I’ve mentioned eleventy billion times telling people that they should watch All Things Must Pass before the blizzard passed. I got super excited and did just that. We rented it from Amazon with some credits we had built up from declining the 2 day shipping on our Prime account.
I can’t say I was ever really someone who shopped at Tower Records. Their real hey day had passed by the time I was old enough to really be amassing a music collection. At one point in the documentary they talk about how even before Napster and the digital era they were already facing issues from places like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy selling CDs at much cheaper rates. I amassed most of what once was my fairly extensive CD collection at Best Buy. It may not be cool, but it was way cheaper than buying them at somewhere like Tower Records. I definitely was in some Tower Records from time to time, but it certainly wasn’t an institution to me like it was to some people. It’s more of a signifier of the music business and how it’s changed so much in the past 15 years or so.
Even though I wasn’t a real patron of Tower Records they were iconic and as an avowed lover of music I was still very interested in this documentary. It’s basically exactly what the title says it is. It’s a documentary about the rise and fall of Tower Records, simple as that. If that sounds like something that interests you then I would definitely watch it. It was something I was interested in and I enjoyed it, but I doubt it’s something that appeals to everyone. You know which side of the equation you fall on.
At any rate I’m glad that Colin Hanks got to make the film and that I finally got to see it. It was perfect timing finding out it was available when I was stuck in my house thanks to a blizzard and had time to sit down and watch it.