Goner Records – 2152 Young Avenue, Memphis Tennessee 38104
It’s a store. It’s a label. It’s a store. It’s a venue. It’s a shrine. It’s one of Rolling Stone’s top stores in the country.
Memphis is blessed with two of the top record stores in the US, Shangri-La Records and Goner. One of its co-owners, Eric Friedl, started at Shangri-La, and moved to Goner to start a record label. While not Shangri La’s size, it had a nice selection covering the gamut, including a great selection of blues 78s of which I bought Little Walter’s Juke (my favorite harmonica player). Since I was in Memphis, I was looking for a Big Star record (one of the great under appreciated power pop bands that hailed from Memphis). Found Thirds (pictured below) but settled on a Norton 45 of September Gurls and the Letter live from 1978 (Big Star’s Alex Chilton was in the Box Tops when he was a teenager, and its lead singer). If you don’t know Big Star, you should give a listen – one of their songs was used as the theme song for that 70s show.
The Shrine – to Elvis – who also made his home in Memphis – is pictured below. Apparently, it plays Elvis songs if you stick a quarter in.
Wanna go? You can find Goner Records on our Record Stores Map
Here’s a video tour of Goner Records, interviewing the store’s owners Eric Friedl and Zac Ives about the store, their record label and its history.
And here’s a 2011 article on the website Complex.com Wax Nostalgic: 7 Questions With Zac Ives Of Goner Records Memphis interviewing one of the owner’s of Goner Records. I certainly have gotten laid to a record – my personal favorite is Santana’s Abraxas.
Here’s an hilarious interview from April 2022, Grillin’ At Goner. In this interview of store owners Eric Friedl and Zac Ives, our intrepid reporter Ryan Hailey asks such hard hitting questions as ‘how do you pronounce “Goner” records’, ‘what is your opinion about throwing beer at concerts?’, and ‘your favorite song to shower to’. All while Billups Allen grills up some dogs (no not that kind) in a pan of gold fish (no not that kind) and beer. Makes you want to go to the store in the hopes of experiencing some of that craziness yourself. PS. Ryan sings Memphis Bass Pro Shop Pyramid Party Rock Anthem, also hilarious, paying homage to the great pyramid itself (you’ll know it when you see it, if you ever visit Memphis).
Goner once had an in-store by local Memphis musician Greg Cartwright and his band Reigning Sound – then a first class garage revival band. The show, performed on June 26, 2005 made it to disc, Live At Goner Records.
For fun, here’s a You Tube video of the Big Star record I bought, of the band performing September Gurls at a rehearsal in 1974.