Wednesday, October 28, 2015

All Things Must Pass

         Actor and now director Colin Hanks charts the rise and fall of Tower Records in this new documentary. For many years Tower Records was a music retail powerhouse with stores all over the world. It's founder, Russ Solomon had a laid back style that suited his management style well. By the year 2000, Tower was bringing in a billion dollars but few short years later, it landed in bankruptcy court.

           Using archival footage, interviews with Mr. Solomon and his senior staff (including son, Michael), Mr. Hanks chronologically presents the viewer with how the mega-chain grew out of a small section in a drugstore but hit a combination perfect storm that brought it all crashing down. In many ways it's a business 101 cautionary tale.

             Cameos from Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Dave Grohl are fun and interesting but the film would have been better served if a few more big names with more variety had also been included.  Considering all the great in-store appearances over the years, it would have been nice to see some footage from them as well but the film is still interesting from start to finish.

              Mr. Solomon is such a colorful and iconic figure, he is natural subject matter. There are interviews with former employees and a few music industry executives who are colorful characters in their own right. If you are a music lover familiar with Tower or an industry insider looking for a nostalgic trip, despite a few shortcomings, you will enjoy this film very much.

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