Film Review – All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records (2015)

Russ Solomon

Title – All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records (2015)

Director – Colin Hanks (feature debut)

Cast – Russ Solomon, David Grohl, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Stan Goman

Plot – Examines the rise and eventual downfall of record retail store Tower Records, a store that at one time in history dominated the marketplace.

“You just have to be in the right place at the right time”

Review by Eddie on 1/09/2016

In what’s a documentary that’s likely to appeal to music tragic, collectors and those longing for the bygone era of in store shopping that moonlighted as an excuse to go and hang out with real people in a real environment, son of Tom Colin Hanks’s documentary examination of the rise and fall of Tower Records may not achieve anything of a true noteworthy nature but it’s certainly a thorough and insightful examination of the one-time retail juggernaut and a reminder that with our attention now on online retail and social media interaction, we are losing and missing out on a wonderful experience that used to be readily available to all shapes and sizes.

All Things Must Pass (inspired from a sign posted on a closing Tower Records store and no doubt the famous song) utilises extensive archival photos of the expanding businesses stores, over locations from the USA, Japan (where the name continues to do decent business) and England and Hanks finds a winning formula with a range of talking heads that were involved for many a year with Tower Records.

We get to spend a large portion of the docos runtime with founder and colourful character Russ Solomon who with nothing more than ambition and drive created a world spanning retail empire that’s focus was on music for music lovers that extended from staff through to everyday customers or the not so every day like frequent store visitors such as Elton John and Eric Clapton. It seems like such a foreign thing in today’s climate that employees started as packing room clerks to high end management and the focus Tower had on encouraging each store to have its own flavour and as long as the job gets done, who cares what happens before, after or in-between is something that is highly unlikely to be a practice of retail chains of the modern era.

All Things Must Pass will be a lovely walk down memory lane for those that use to count their visits to Tower Record stores as a weekly or monthly highlight and for those of us like me that never got to experience the wandering up and down of their aisles it’s a pleasant and workmanlike examination of what made the name such a power in its early days and also a sad reminder of what today’s consumers are missing out on

3 purchase happy Elton John’s out of 5

18 responses to “Film Review – All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records (2015)

  1. Tower Records was an experience. While in LA, I told my friend to make a stop. It was a collecter’s dream! They did carry some rare stuff. They don’t make record stores likevTower anymore.

  2. That picture of Tower Records really brought back memories for me. When I was living in LA, my friends and I used to stop in there all the time. Colin Hanks is directing now? Good for him. He really has come a long way from Roswell. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane guys!

  3. That is too bad that happens I loved the environment being able to talks to the sales person even the customers. Some of them were nice looking girls LOL, The mama and Papa video store I miss, I use to know the owner of one. They had that porno section also, again LOL. Nice review it is not coming in mu country yet but I am hoping it comes on Netflix. Nice one guys.

    • I know the sadness mate as a guy that use to work in two video stores for a number of years and I know Jordan has had the experience as well on a larger scale, these type of places will be missed.

  4. As a huge Foo Fighters fan, seeing Dave Grohl getting credited makes this an entry onto my watch list. Great review, guys!

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