Wallichs Music City
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It was located on the north west corner of Sunset & Vine and operated from 1940 to 1978. Owner Glenn E. Wallichs had started Capitol Records, along with Tin Pan Alley songsmith Johnny Mercer and ex-Paramount movie producer Buddy De Sylva from a small office a little further south down Vine Street in 1942 and moved to larger offices above the store in 1946. After Capitol Records moved into The Capitol Tower in 1956 the offices become the home of Dot Records.
In an era when most recorded music was sold through Mom & Pop general stores across the USA, Wallichs Music City became the premier record store in Southern California and the world's largest specialist record store.
As the market for recorded music evolved during the 1950s and 1960s, it was a place to go for tickets, sheet music, vinyl (initially 78s, then LP's & 45's) and tapes (8 track and cassette). They also sold TVs and musical instruments.
It was one of the first-known music stores to seal record albums in cellophane and put them in display racks for customers to browse. The racks were tabletop height trapezoid-shaped browser boxes (designed by Capitol Records' Frederick Rice) that allowed the covers they contained to be viewed like a card index without damaging the sleeves. The store was also the first to have demonstration booths for listening to records.
The store became a well-known hub of the LA music scene. Music fans flocked there to meet artists like Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Johnny Mercer, Nat King Cole to have them sign sheet music of their latest hits. Frank Zappa worked part-time there in 1965.
Radio ads featured Wallich, who would sing the jingle "It's Music City" (to the first notes of Rock-A-Bye-Baby with the following four bars covered by a jazz ensemble), followed by news of specials, upcoming events, etc.
Waiting For the Sun – The Story of the Los Angeles Music Scene (Barney Hoskyns, Viking, 1996)