Decked with neon paint and candy-colored string lights, this store is the whimsical vision of owner Dick Vivian. He launched the shop 30 years ago with a stash of 3,500 records, which he gamely offered for $2 a pop. Today his trove numbers over 40,000, with a specialty in oldies and girl-groups from the ‘50s and ‘60s, particularly 45s. (“SOUL” is spelled out in glowing letters on one wall.) You can browse to your heart’s content, but the best way to shop here is to bring in a list of bands and let Dick steer you in the right direction. He’s a human Pandora of music from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. Want a glimpse into Vivian’s own prized collection? Pick up one of his homemade mix CDs near the register.
The Bay Area was home to the inaugural Record Store Day on April 19, 2008, when Metallica kicked off the festivities at Rasputin Music in Mountain View. From historic spots on Haight Street’s record row to new niche shops cropping up in the Mission, San Francisco has long been a hotbed for vinyl lovers. Each store has its own specialty, whether you’re hunting for ‘60s soul, reggae, indie rock or European electronica. Whatever your musical holy grail, find it at the Bay Area’s best record stores.