SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Recycled Records’ run in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District has come to an end.
For some 40 years, the store has been a landmark in the heart of the Haight, but now it’s doors have been shuttered.
“It is a good run,” said owner Bruce Lyall. “It’s surprising. Nobody could’ve told me that 40 years ago I’d still be doing it.”
As he stood inside the shop, he was surrounded by vinyl records, CDs and historic posters on the walls.
“There’s history here,” Lyall said. “Not only the personal history of the store, or me the owner, there’s the history of technology, the history of wealth, the history of music itself, how music has changed.”
But the records will not go to waste. Brewster Kahle, the founder of an internet archive, is gathering the remaining stock and soon it will be available for free online.
“It all came together because I needed somebody to clean up my basement which was a total mess, and Brewster said I’ll do it!” said Lyall on how the archive site and his shop decided to work together.
Kahle said he was immediately onboard with the idea.
“Would you be interested? Absolutely!” Kahle said. “But he (Lyall) said you have to understand this is the stuff that never sold in 40 years. And we said that’s what we want! This is gold. the records that didn’t make it on the CD, much less Spotify”
A team of volunteers has been going through the racks, assembling an inventory of the albums.
“We’ll take Neil Diamond and Chicago, but we’re really kind of interested in the weird and quirky,” said Salem Evans, who works on the internet archive. “Yeah the bird calls, we also have the stereo test kind of stuff, we have sound effects albums.”
The work also brought Lyall and Alan Beatts, owner of Borderland Books in the Mission, together. Beatts — who used to be a Recycled Records customer — has reached an agreement with Lyall to take over the space.
“We’re not displacing anyone, we’re preserving local retail, and basically the same sort of business,” Beatts said. “The whole thing has worked out perfectly. It’s like, in life occasionally things just line up right and you know exactly what you need to be doing.”