Sid’s Records & Tapes, South Florida

Vinyl Freaks take their records and the music stores they love very seriously. Life, death and the long-player. This week, the Rock File collaborates with contributing editor Steve Sandler on a memoir of sorts about great record hunting in South Florida in the decades before the digital-download craze.
Under two thousand. That’s it.
That’s the number of independent record stores left in the United States of America.
The recent documentary I Need That Record! The Death (or Possible Survival) of the Independent Record Store focuses on the significance and eventual decline of independent record stores across the United States. We see Vinyl Freaks sharing fond memories of their favorite music shops and the negative effects that digital music sales have had on independent outlets.
So if you’re a fellow Vinyl Freak who understands the importance of the indie record store to the community of music lovers, musicians and the larger culture, then welcome.
Step inside, leave the door open and read on.
However, if you think record stores are antiquated, charge too much, are a waste of time or don’t serve the citizenry any longer, then move along. You can hide in your iPod, shop alone online and digitally download yourself into the latest version of Guitar Hero.
Is that a real guitar you’re holding? I didn’t think so.
For true Vinyl Freaks, the local independent record store was your spiritual home. As musty and dusty as your prized copy of Bill Withers’ 1972 Still Bill, these stores were warm and welcoming to those who were seeking music that was seemingly lost, cast aside, forgotten. The esoteric, challenging, powerful or just plain classic.
Our place was Sid’s Records & Tapes, housed in a Pompano Beach strip mall. Sid’s was inconspicuously located among the mundane shops: Spencer Gifts, Taco Viva, and Puttin’ On The Dog.
My friends and I bonded over music, like thousands of suburban teens before us. Hunting vinyl was it. We spent countless hours at Sid’s, who sold quality LPs for those with varied tastes. Sid’s had it all, and the prices were a reasonable one to four bucks a record.
Aisle after aisle, stack after stack. The mysterious substance known as Glorious Black Vinyl was in abundance and ripe for the picking.
Whole days were built around a Sid’s trip. There was always a lunch stop, usually in the food court or the fast food parking lot.
We bought everything we could. Modern rock, classic rock, new wave, metal, reggae, folk, classical. Young minds expanding at rates we could barely afford to keep up with.
Afterwards was the listening party and follow-up: conversation, debate, immersion.
Who got the best deal? Coolest album art? Anybody score the posters from The Dark Side of the Moon?
Why was Peter Gabriel better than Sting? He just was.
Did Jim Morrison’s lyrics mean anything? Only if you were wasted.
Just how stoned is Clapton on this album? Very.
What, if any, are the merits of The Monkees? Not much.
Sid’s fed our musical tastes that places like Peaches Records & Tapes in Fort Lauderdale simply could not. Too big, cold, impersonal.
Sid’s gave us Abbey Road, Nothing’s Shocking, Desire, Bitches Brew, Legalize It, all in one day.
A decade later I returned to Sid’s. My friends and I had all since moved away from South Florida. By this time, Sid’s downgraded to a smaller, more cramped location. The once brightly lit store had fallen dark, as half the lights were cut to save on electricity.
I was the only customer.
Some of the bins had clearly not been handled in years, as a thick layer of grey grime covered the records. The lone staffer looked bored and half asleep. I got the feeling he wanted me gone so he could close up and head home.
I didn’t buy anything.
Sid’s closed at the dawn of the new millennium. Yes, you could say it was due to the changing nature of the music business, competition from other retail outlets, or the advent of the digital download era.
But the real reason Sid’s had to shut its doors was because of us, the Vinyl Freaks. We had moved on and took our support with us.
Sid’s gave us so much, for so little. Not only an education in music, but also a sense of community. A place to go and hang out, a destination.
The lesson is this:
Under two thousand indie record shops left is a small number considering the size of this here United States. If these stores are to survive, we have to show our love and keep the community alive. Music, the musicians who create it, and the folks who provide it need to be supported by Vinyl Freaks the world over.
And by the way, don’t forget to back up those digital music files.
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9 Responses to Sid’s Records & Tapes, South Florida

  1. Joe Popp says:

    Excellent story. We had a place in Jacksonville, Fl called Budget Tapes and Records. We would buy concert tickets there because there was no service charge. It’s long since gone as well…

  2. BIG says:

    it is deffinately the responsibility of past vinyl freaks to apprentis the up and commers. vinyl is not just about the recording . it’s the album cover,art work inserts,posters the smell of a 40 yr old ELVIS album, and nothing can replace it, the experience of the original has no bounds. go vinyl freaks, go
    nothing matches a vinyl , sound or sight

    keep on rockn’

  3. Mike says:

    Great story. I loved Sids as well. Turned on to some great albums and memories there. Always got people recommending me albums when I was a kid from sids…great times indeed.

  4. Duane says:

    I miss that place. For ovwr 20 years they were in the Coral Springs Mall and when the mall started dying in the mid 90’s they moved to a shop just east of 441. I haven’t been there since the late 90’s and wondered if they were still around. It’s sad they’re not, just like the Uncle Sams in Lauderhill and Pompano Beach, and the CD Exchange in Oakland Park.

  5. musicandrecords says:

    Very sad to hear Sid’s is gone. I regularly frequented the original store at Coral Springs and also the huge record convestion shows spread out through the mall on Saturdays that Sids would host. Uncle Sams in Lauderhill was also a cool store and I used to pick up my free monthly issue of “Rag Magazine” (great, now out of business South Florida music magazine that covered and interviewed national acts, which I wrote for in the 1990’s and which supported and featured tons of ads for most of the music, record, and instrument stores in South Florida) which Uncle Sams carried. I also remember a cool store way up in a similar small mall up in West Palm Beach that also hosted a weekend record show I went to (but can’t remember the name). Also went to CD Exchange and there was also Sound Warehouse on University Blvd that carried tons of records while also carrying CDs.

  6. musicandrecords says:

    P.S. Anyone remember a ercord store called Whirleys Rhythms in the old Bon Ton Square nightclub, restaurant & store complex that was where the now renovated Riverwalk and Broward Center For The Performing Arts are? They tore Whirleys Rhythms & Bon Ton Square down in 1990 to renovate Riverwalk. Bought some great stuff in there! I remember their merchandise bag artwork was a butterfly sitting on a record and turntable. I kept one of those bags for years as a memento before it fell apart.

  7. Bruce says:

    Does anybody rememberr the “Sids” at 441 and Broward Blvd I believe it was the original Sids” in Fort Lauderdale

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