October 13, 2013


Many Spy Vibers have fond memories of those vintage record store days, flipping through miles of vinyl for new releases by our favorite then-current bands. The shop that got the award for best design was the original HMV on Oxford Street in London (1921-2000). With its designated rooms, listening booths, and floors joined by an elegant spiral staircase, the architecture now glows like an Oz castle from old black and white photographs (see below). HMV just re-opened at its original site in September. Story continues below with rare prizes for London Spy Vibers.

To celebrate their return to 363 Oxford Street, HMV is giving away super-rare vinyl to customers all this week. The prizes will be on a first-come-first-serve basis and doors open at 8 a.m. On Monday, the shop will be giving away promo EP pressings of The Beatles Live On Air Vol 2, a new compilation of rare radio performances. In fact, the HMV store played a crucial role in Beatles history. The band's manager, Brian Epstein, visited the shop in February 1962 to see if general manager Bob Boast could help them land a record deal. Boast suggested they take Epstein's two reel-to-reel tapes (recorded in a Decca audition) to the first floor, where they could transfer the songs to 78rpm demonstration discs- much easier to hawk around town. While the HMV engineer, Jim Foy, was cutting the discs, he got excited about what he heard and initiated a conversation with Epstein that led to a call to the top floor of HMV to Ardmore & Beechwood, a music publishing subsidiary of EMI. A chap called Sid Colman came down to listen to the recordings and eventually invited Epstein upstairs to discuss business. This serendipitous chain of events at HMV led to The Beatles signing with EMI and George Martin. 

Stop in tomorrow morning and try to pick up one of the rare EPs of The Beatles On AirElvis fans can get a limited-edition color pressing of his 1956 album on Tuesday. Hopefully some of our agents in London will be successful. happy hunting! More vintage photographs of the HMV Oxford Street store below.

Recent Spy Vibe posts: David Tennant's Ian Fleming audio books, The Prisoner & Captain Scarlet, Saturday Morning Cartoons, Assassination Bureau on DVD, new Young Bond series,  Peter AsherGerry Marsden tour, Elio Petri on Blu-ray, Sophia Loren, new Beatles BBC album, new Hercule Poirot novel, Beatles fall 2013 releasesA Hard Days Night cinematographer diesMagic Christian on Blu-ray, Early Beatles image archive, Julie NewmarErno GoldfingerHitchcock tribute

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Erno GoldfingerIan Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book coversIan Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address

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