Russ Solomon, the founder of Tower Records, passed away on Sunday at the age of 92. The Sacramento Bee reports that Solomon died of an apparent heart attack while watching the Academy Awards last night with his wife.
Solomon got his start as a teenager selling used records from jukeboxes in Sacramento in the 1940’s. He gradually built this business over the years into Tower Records, which became a Sacramento staple. In the late ’60s, Solomon expanded in California to additional locations and the rest was history. By the 1990’s, Solomon was a multi-millionaire, with Tower Records stores around the globe.
He handed over the CEO title to his son Michael in the late ’90s, just before the music retail industry underwent major shifts due to the Internet and other retail options. Due to its debt issues, Tower began closing stores and filed for bankruptcy in 2004. The company filed for bankruptcy again two years later and soon went out of business.
Colin Hanks directed a 2015 documentary titled All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records, telling the story of Solomon and his beloved stores.