30 vintage photos of legendary Phoenix record stores | Phoenix New Times
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Looking back at the most iconic record stores in Phoenix

Many record stores have come and gone in metro Phoenix over the years. Here's a look back.
A 1984 photograph featuring Roads to Moscow, a beloved Tempe record store along Mill Avenue specializing in punk and New Wave music.
A 1984 photograph featuring Roads to Moscow, a beloved Tempe record store along Mill Avenue specializing in punk and New Wave music. Tempe History Museum

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Record stores have weathered many highs and lows over the past few decades. They soared in the late 1990s — when worldwide album sales topped $40 billion — but plummeted after the rise of digital platforms in the 2000s, only to get back in the groove thanks to vinyl’s resurgence in recent years.

Record stores across the Valley faced these same challenges. A few, like local chain Zia Records and indie stores like Stinkweeds Records, survived. Others weren’t so lucky, including such now-defunct retailers as Tempe’s Rockzone Records and Hoodlums New and Used Music.

Metro Phoenix has seen many vinyl emporiums spin in and out of existence in the last several decades. Some have achieved legendary status among local record collectors, crate diggers and music fans and are fondly remembered for their selection, staff and sense of community each offered.

In honor of Record Store Day 2024 on Saturday, we’re hitting the rewind button to look back at many legendary shops around the Valley where locals could pick up records, cassettes and CDs while indulging their love of music.
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A vintage photo of the Emmett Record Shop in Phoenix from the 1940s.
McCulloch Bros. Collection/ASU Archives
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Longtime Valley resident Bill Miller (left) buys a copy of Elvis Presley’s “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck” at Recordland on Seventh Street south of Indian School Road in 1958.
Jack Miller
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A 1972 photo of Hill's Books and Records in Tempe, a favorite spot of local DJ, vinyl collector and Arizona music historian John Dixon during his formative years.
Tempe History Museum
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A vintage sticker for Hill's Books and Records in Tempe from the collection of Arizona music historian John Dixon.
John Dixon
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The entrance to Tempe store Space Records at The Arches shopping center on University Drive in Tempe in 1972.
Tempe History Museum
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A 1975 photograph of Evolution Records and Tapes in Tempe just across the street from Arizona State University.
Tempe History Museum
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Tempe store Oasis Tapes and Records at Lemon Street and Terrace Road in 1975.
Tempe History Museum
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A 1978 photo of World Records, which was located at 202 E. University Drive in Tempe.
Tempe History Museum
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Arizona-based chain Hollywood Records and Tapes had 11 stores in the Phoenix and Tucson areas in the late 1970s, including this location on Terrace Road in Tempe.
Tempe History Museum
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The late Brad Singer (left), founder of Zia Records, behind the counter at the local chain’s first store at Indian School Road and 19th Avenue in the early 1980s.
Phoenix New Times archives
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The first Tempe location of Zia Records on Mill Avenue near Fifth Street, which opened in 1982.
Tempe History Museum
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The original Eastside Records on University Drive in Tempe, which was founded in 1987 by former Zia employees Ben Wood and the late Clayton Agent and lasted until 2010.
Tempe History Museum
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A look inside the original location of Stinkweeds Records at Dobson and Guadalupe roads in Mesa, which operated from 1987 to 1989.
Kimber Lanning
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The Tempe location of The Wherehouse, which employed several future Valley record store owners, including Lloyd Hummell, Kristian Luce and the late Steve Wiley of Hoodlums New and Used Music.
Tempe History Museum
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The Tower Records at Christown Mall, the first Valley location of the now-defunct chain, helped inspire former employee Carol Heikkinen to write the cult classic "Empire Records" based on her experiences there in the 1980s.
Tower Records Project
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Stinkweeds Records on Apache Boulevard in Tempe, which existed from 1989 to 2006 and hosted in-store performances by indie artists and bands like Neutral Milk Hotel, Sleater-Kinney and Elliott Smith.
Tempe History Museum
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A photo of the Tower Records location at the Tempe Center on University Drive and Mill Avenue taken in 1994.
Tempe History Museum
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Plastik Records, a Tempe store owned and operated from 1994 until the early 2000s by future EDM superstar Markus Schulz while developing his DJ career in the Valley.
Tempe History Museum
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Stinkweeds Records owner Kimber Lanning (right) with former employee Scott Tennent (left) inside the store’s now-closed Tempe location.
Doug Hoeschler
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Swell Clothing and Records in Tempe was a favorite of local DJs during the 1990s EDM boom and a focal point for the Valley’s rave scene.
Tempe History Museum
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The cashier inside Zia's second Tempe location on University Drive west of Mill Avenue.
Phoenix New Times archives
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An undated photo of a crowd outside of the now-closed Zia Records location at Seventh Avenue and Indian School Road.
Zia Records
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Kristian Luce (right), Lloyd Hummel (center) and the late Steve Wiley (left) in front of Hoodlums New and Used Music, the record store they opened in the Arizona State University's Memorial Union in 1998.
Doug Hoeschler
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The interior of Circles Discs and Tapes (also known as Circles Records and Tapes) in 2006. The downtown Phoenix store operated for 38 years before closing in 2010.
Ms. Phoenix/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
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The historic location of Circles Discs and Tapes (also known as Circles Records and Tapes) in downtown Phoenix, which was built in 1947 as a Studebaker dealership.
Ms. Phoenix/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
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Eastside Records co-owner Michael Pawlicki behind the counter at the store’s original Tempe location in 2010.
Benjamin Leatherman
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Local band Black Carl stages an in-store performance at now-defunct Hoodlums New and Used Music on McClintock Drive south of Guadalupe Road in Tempe.
Devon Christopher Adams
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In 2007, Steve Wilkinson transformed Mesa's Rockaway Records into Rockzone Records, which relocated twice — first to Chandler and then to Tempe — before closing in late 2012.
Phoenix New Times archives
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The now-defunct Revolver Records on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix, which ran from 2009 until 2019.
Devon Christopher Adams
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