Aug 17, 2022 - Things to Do

Memories of Chicago's old Tower Records

Guy in front of building
Justin takes a selfie in Lincoln Park. Photo: Justin Kauffman/Axios

When we asked readers to identify this photo location, responses flooded in with memories of the old Tower Records at Belden and Clark.

Flashback: Tower was a great place to shop for records but also to catch in-store shows by bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Veruca Salt and, of course, Liz Phair.

The music palace closed in 2006.

  • Those of a certain age also remember this spot as the old Belden Deli.
Here are some of the memories you shared with us

Lorin A.: "Boy, do I miss that spot. [Friends] and I would often go at night since it was open till midnight and we would say to each other, Nocturnal Tower anyone? Then we would hop on our bikes and go over and listen to music for hours!"

  • "And to think, there will be generations who will have no idea that you could go and marvel at jewel boxes of music as far as the eye could see."

Dean R.: "I loved that place, but spent wayyyyyyy too much money there back in the day."

Mary B.: "Tower Records…and the location of our first apartment when we got married in 1995."

Sydney R.: "Saw Liz there, rented vhs and bought cds, tapes and zines. You could listen before you buy. Those were the days!!!"

Paula M.: "Justin is on Clark in front of the building of the old Tower Records. I bought many concert tickets there as well as CDs :-)."

Trevor D.: ​​"Tower Records! When I attended DePaul they had the most killer selection of Trojan Records CD box sets."

Scott D.: "Oh man, the hours and dollars I spent there…"

Eric B.: "Justin is at The former Tower Records site! Many fine replacements now, some with Phair prices, including my new fave, Shuga, on Milwaukee ave."

Alison W.: "We spent many hours there on the weekend hanging out as part of a zoo day visit with our young son."

Sandy B.: "Used to love heading there late at night after a great concert! Iconic!!"

Aadam J.: "I can plainly see/He’s where Tower records used to be/ Deep in Lincoln Park/ Right at Belden and Clark. "

Art F.: "Justin is at the site of the old Belden Deli. When my wife (at the time) went into labor the first time, we rushed to the hospital and were sent home to let things progress. With #2, she went into labor and we went for brunch at the Belden Deli."

Colleen M.: "Belden Deli. Once our waitress there was drunk and poured syrup into her apron pocket."

Sam K.: "My mom grew up just down the street and attended Francis W. Parker (also just down the street) and has told me many stories about the 24-hour deli in the heart of Lincoln Park."

Phil P.: "Before Tower Records it was the site of the Belden Deli, notable for being the place Tuesday Weld’s character worked in the great Chicago film “Thief” starring the (late) great James Caan."

Mike P.: "Tower Records - Clark and Belden (though perhaps he's also referring to Max's Deli or the disastrous expansion of Ranalli's that followed Max's). However it should be noted that he's technically standing in front of the 7-11 on the SW corner of the intersection."

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