Record Shop Tour

Photo:Surf & Ski, 1 Regent Street, Brighton

Surf & Ski, 1 Regent Street, Brighton

Photo by Debbie Lias

Help needed!

By John Lias

As may be expected, when trying to fit together a puzzle that is thirty years old, there are some gaps in my research and I would appreciate it if anyone can help with any further information.

My biggest mystery surrounds the shop that effectively arose from the ashes of Sounds Unlimited in about 1977 or 1978 and for a while was the biggest import store in Brighton. It sold clothes in the front and records in the back and was on the left hand side of North Street as one walked up towards the Clock Tower. I now realise it was called Connections (thanks to Brighton DJ Dave Packham for jogging my memory) but I'm not sure exactly where it was  (Yellow Pages don't have a listing for some reason - possibly it is listed under 'Clothes shops' rather than under 'Record Shops'?) although I know it was pretty much opposite where High and Mighty is today.

Can anyone shed any further light on this store and confirm the address?

I also distinctly recall a record shop on the premises of where Surf and Ski is now. It didn't last long - I think it was early to mid 80s.  I wonder if anyone else can remember it?

This page was added on 21/10/2008.
Comments about this page

I can't help you with your particular problem, but my favourite record store was always Wickham, Kimber and Oakley in George Street, Hove. I am going back to the late 50s/early 60s. This was in the days when you could listen to your requested record in the booth before buying it. I seem to recall another record shop on the seafront towards Shoreham. I am sure that that is where I bought my copy of the Isley Brothers 'Shout'. It was just a small shop, rather dark and seedy looking, but a brilliant selection of music. This will not help you but it's nice to recall fond memories.

By Rita Wood (21/12/2008)

I remember one in Ship Street when I was in my teens and early twenties that specialised in getting any imports you wanted. Don't remember it's name but it was one of the best record shops ever. On the second hand market, much of my youth was spent in Rik's Records on Portslade (Portland Road - opposite the station). I think the shop itself is still there, but Rik himself sold it and now runs a shop in Lewes.  The best to stay on the same site is Wax Factor in Trafalgar Street which has been there as long as I can remember (I was born in Brighton in 1968) and is still going strong.

By Jason Gnome (02/02/2009)

There was a record shop at the top of Preston Street (off Western Road) in the late 1960s (name evades me) which was owned by the excellent Brighton rock group Mike Stuart Span (check them on youtube). I seem to recall there was a record shop still on the same site in the late 1970s, I seem to recall buying gig tickets from there at that time (though memory plays tricks on us of course).

By Paul Martin (08/05/2009)
In response to Paul Martin's comments 08/05/2009, the record shop in question was located off Portland Road, Hove close to Bell's Music Shop, and was called "Exspantion". It was opened in 1968 by Radio 1 DJ Pete Drummond, and also filmed by the BBC as part of a documentary featuring the Mike Stuart Span, of which I was their drummer. If you wish to know more about the band please visit our website http://www.geocities.com/msspan/index.html
By Gary Murphy (14/07/2009)

I lived in Cowper Street in Hove and used to use Record Roundup in Portland Road for my Lps, remember going in there to buy Hendrix etc. The funniest story of customer service there was the time I went in there when the man and his wife were having their lunch in the back of the shop whilst it was still open, and I walked in and asked if they had a particular record. He got up from the table with a dismissive look on his face, really looking put out, and flicked through the records furiously saying out loud " Huh .... of all the records in the shop you have to ask for that one", because he couldn't find it!

By Dave Sanders (10/11/2011)

As a life-long record collecter this is absolutely fascinating and brings back a lot of great memories. One obvious omission is of course Virgin Records (I believe it was the first Virgin shop in Britain) which, firstly, occupied the corner of Queens Road and North Street where Boots is now before it was redeveloped. I well remember the huge counter and the raised area to the right of the door with loads of cushions and a number of headphones. You could go to the counter and ask to listen to an album; you would be told which headphone number to pick up to listen on. I spent many a happy hour in there! Virgin later, probably around 1978, moved up Queens Road on the opposite side where it remained until the Virgin Megastore opened in Western Road.

By David Tiffin (08/02/2012)

As a teenager in the 70's I well remember 'Virgin Records' when it was by the Clock Tower. In 1973 I remember when 'Dark Side of The Moon' by Pink Floyd was released and being very disappointed one afternoon when they had sold out. They said there would be a delivery at 9am the next day, I thought I would go to school late (I was in my last year so it didn't matter!) I couldn't believe it when I got there at 8.30 to see a queue! I got my copy and decided not to go in to school until the afternoon so I could go home and play it. I also remember hearing 'Tubular Bells' by Mike Oldfield for the first time on the raised cushions through headphones. That shop was fabulous, you could spend a whole afternoon in there and not spend anything.

By Paul Clarkson (08/02/2012)

David Tiffin, entry 8/2/2012: Thanks for your comments and I'm glad you are enjoying this section of the site but please refer to my words in the introduction, namely: " I have not included the likes of HMV in Churchill Square and Virgin at the Clock Tower in my list below. Not that they didn't also consume my time and money, but, as chain stores, they had less of a mystique than the one-offs listed here and I never visited them with as much expectation."

By John Lias (20/02/2012)

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