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Some Want Music Icon to Become a Museum

Wednesday 30 January 2008 @ 16:49 - GMT

A music industry landmark at 8801 W. Sunset Blvd. famous for its hundreds of impromptu rock performances and album signings awaits demolition.

The yellow facade of Tower Records, formerly one of Elton's favourite places to purchase recordings, has been repainted somber blue.

Some preservationists are beginning to feel the same way, to quote the L.A. Times.

"This is an important place," declared pop culture historian Domenic Priore, author of Riot on the Sunset Strip: Rock 'n' Roll's Last Stand in Hollywood and the leader of the preservation effort. "The Sunset Strip is an international landmark, and this building has an historic cachet."

Constructed in 1971, the building is squat and unassuming.

However, for decades it was a center of activity in the Sunset Strip's vibrant music scene. The store's walls were plastered with giant reproductions of album covers. Record labels routinely kicked off new releases by sending bands there to perform.

Unfortunately, digital downloads and iPods brought an end to the business.

A Chicago developer now plans to tear down the shop and construct a three-story, 52,000-square-foot combination office building, retail shop and health club. It would feature underground and rooftop parking for 276 cars.

Preservationists, though, hope to save the building and turn it into a long-discussed West Hollywood rock 'n' roll museum.

Besides commemorating Tower Records' domineering presence on the Sunset Strip, advocates say such a venue would be an appropriate way to showcase memorabilia from the second half of the 20th century -- when Los Angeles emerged as the center of this country's recording industry.

The Sunset Strip has been a entertainment industry hot spot since the 1930s.

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