Happy birthday to drummer Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) (1948)!
I first went to work in a record store in 1976, at the age of 17. Bellflower, CA. I got to “inventory” the “Hit Sheets”, among other things. “Will we sell more Stevie Wonder if we file him in rock?” I remember being given the task of figuring out if we could add 4 bins of Country & Western (losing 2 bins each in R&B and jazz). The hippie record store had to cater to the community, at least somewhat!
We sold a lot of Kiss, Fleetwood Mac, Heart, Ted Nugent, Pink Floyd, Stevie Wonder – as the community was primarily ‘latin’. There were always lots of kids around, because the store I worked for gave away free licorice!
Salesmen would sometimes come into our store; most brought empty LP sleeves – ostensibly to make displays for new records. I was the youngest one there, but I knew it was what I wanted to do with myself! So what if everybody else was stoned all the time? Y’mean even the manager was stoned?
So, with everybody but myself stoned all the time…the minute the door would get locked (at 11:00pm), somebody would like up a marijuana cigarette! The “Keyholder” could count the cash, two of us took out the trash, another to straighten up the LP’s on display, organize the order book & special orders…
Whoever had to take out the trash had to empty the ash trays! Yuck!
The good stuff? Lunches from Ricci’s deli, 2 days off per week! I finally earned enough money to buy an orange Datsun B-210 (with a 8-track player in it).
I followed my manager to the next location he had been assigned: West Covina, roughly 30 miles from my home. Each hippie record store had it’s own ‘vibe’, and West Covina wasn’t Bellflower. I didn’t know what went on around there, like I had known what went on in Bellflower. I did meet some nice folks, but the existing staff of the store weren’t as sharp as Bellflower. I believe the faux-punks were all still making their minds up as to whether or not they should support punk or disco.
And disco won. It was “Saturday Night Fever” time – and that record just flew out of our store! It was bigger than big, and West Covina stayed disco; the staff dressed as disco people, not punks – if you wanted punks, go out to Riverside! They had real punks, girls with dyed hair, guys with facial tattoos etc.