Sounds Unlimited, 149 North Street

Formerly Sounds Unlimited, 149 North Street, Brighton | Photo by Debbie Lias
Formerly Sounds Unlimited, 149 North Street, Brighton
Photo by Debbie Lias

In the 70s and 80s I only ever bought soul music, and Sounds Unlimited was far and away the best place to buy new soul releases as it used to stock all the brand new imports from America. One could buy stereo equipment and more ‘general’ records upstairs, but it was the hot, atmospheric little room downstairs, manned for a number of years by semi-legendary Brighton DJ, ‘King Jerry’, that used to draw me in every Saturday morning before releasing me into a teeming North Street replete with new records but minus most of my weekly wages.

By 1976 or 1977 it was in trouble and went bust. I remember the great closing-down sales they held for a few weeks where one could buy the stock at excellent prices before it closed for good.

Soon after the final sale I walked past one lunch-time and happened to notice that there were loads of records still inside so I knocked on the door and asked if I could come in and look around. I was told that I couldn’t but was invited to make an offer for the remaining singles as a bulk buy. On the spur of the moment I ventured £100 which was accepted. The next day I turned up with a van and left with about 5000 singles.

Comments about this page

  • “King Jerry”, wasn’t he the short guy who looked like an ape and walked with a limp?

    By Paul Hubbard (02/05/2009)
  • Yes, that was him alright. He was very knowledgeable as well. I had a very eclectic record collection in my (pre-punk rock coming of age) mid teens. I could happily listen to Lorrain Ellison’s ‘Stay With Me’ 45 and then something by Hawkwind and then Timmy Thomas’s ‘Why Can’t We Live Togher’ on Mojo or The Detroit Emeralds’ ‘Feel The Need’ on Janus followed by a Chuck Berry record. That basement was Jerry’s own kingdom. It was certainly ‘thee’ place to go for stuff like yellow label Stax singles as I did.

    By Paul Martin (07/05/2009)
  • To Paul Hubbard – Yes, he was!

    By John Lias (07/05/2009)
  • I remember a lanky salesman Kaz in the mid-70s, with straight, long black hair and spectacles. Could have been auditioning for Gong! Strategically placed opposite the  coffee house Vasso’s, this was the first store in Brighton to stock the even then obscure Jade Warrior albums.

    By Sedat Nemli (29/09/2009)
  • Let me correct my last posting – my comments were meant for Fine Records, not Sounds Unlimited. Apologies. I did go to SU’s closing down sale however, and picked up (then) new releases of Terry Reid and Laur Nyro for PSTG 1 each, not to mention a pair of wonderful speakers for next to nothing. It must have been late 1976.

    By Sedat Nemli (29/09/2009)
  • Whatever happened to Dave Gilbey owner / manager? of Sounds Unlimited? The last time I heard him he was on Radio (Brighton) Sussex with Stuart Hobday doing a program called ‘Hello There’.

    By Bob (04/04/2011)
  • I remember very well going into Sounds Unlimited to buy the single ‘Layla’ by Derek & the Dominoes in 1972 and I’m sure I was served by King Jerry. He seemed to always be surrounded by girls and I think he just wanted to be rid of me as there were 2 girls chatting to him. He leaned over the counter and said ‘Here you are 70p’ and handed me the 7 minute version, I couldn’t believe it, what a bargain! On another occasion I went to the same shop in 1973 to buy the album ‘The Man Who Sold The World’ by David Bowie and they only had the American version with the cartoon image on the front, it was the same price – £ 2.20, so another bargain!

    By Paul Clarkson (27/01/2012)
  • Ah – Sounds Unlimited was a real haven. I went there most Saturdays to stock up on singles – I was DJ’ing on a pirate station and needed to be current! I well remember that half the basement was taken up with a “dead room” with the most superb looking stereo setup. You could have your albums cleaned for 50p a time there too! And yes, Kaz from Fine Records in Brighton Square – he turned me onto Sandy Denny, and later Ultravox. He also threw legendary parties – somewhere in Hove, I believe.

    By Marc Turner (25/02/2013)
  • Editor’s Note:

    Dear Georgia

    Sorry but we have had to delete your post. We are no longer allowing the posting of requests to find third parties, as sharing information like this breaches their privacy. We recommend you try Friends Reunited website if you want to track old friends or neighbours.

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    By Georgia Salmon (27/02/2014)
  • I remember King Jerry being dumbfounded that a teenage hippy like me was asking to order Earth,Wind and Fires ‘Head to the Sky’ album. He was virtually speechless.

    By Mark Harris (03/02/2018)

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