Earlier this week, Canadian Icon Sam “The Record Man” Sniderman passed away at the age of 92. Similar to what propels us here at HAFILAX, it was Sam’s love of music that drove him to create the Sam the Record Man chain. His record stores are ones that I always loved to frequent, even it meant I had to spend an hour an half on buses to get there, it was worth it each and every time. His Halifax locations were some of the best record shops around, they offered a diverse selection of music and took pride in celebrating Canadian and Independent artists alike. It was in Sam the Record Man that I bought the Cranberries debut album before their track “Linger” broke them wide open in Canada, it was also Sam’s where I bought the debut album Silver of a little known Vancouver act known as Moist .
As fate would have it, It’s also the same Sam the Record Man (on Barrington Streeet in Halifax, NS) where I met the band, prior to them opening for Neil Young & Crazy Horse. It was a great place to stop in, and a very easy place to get lost in for an hour sifting through their shelves. I discovered a lot of great music there, as the staff was always incredibly knowledgeable. It never felt like a Nationwide chain, each location always had its own personality, but was always distinctly a Sam the Record Man.
While I loved the few Sam the Record Man stores here in Halifax, when I had a chance to visit the iconic flagship location in Toronto (seen here) my mind was blown. It was just shy of being a full blown department store dedicated to music! It was a place that any music geek worth their taste in music could get lost for a couple of hours easily. You could just wander around looking at the signatures of artists and bands that visited on their way through town. It was quite staggering, not to mention the two neon records that spun diligently until they went dark forever in 2008 [the store closed in the summer of 2007].
Sam the Record Man and the iconic Neon Records are/were an integral part of my youth, so much so that for the past number of years the wallpaper on my phone has been one of the two neon wheels. It’s a place that I’ll always remember with a great fondness, and we have one man only to thank for it, and that is Sam Sniderman. May you rest in piece Mr Recordman, Thanks for the Entertainment. You said it, and you did it!