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Lost Shops

#9 STERNS, LONDON

Situated behind Warren Street Station, Sterns was the foremost African music shop in Europe. Initially a backroom in Stern’s electrical goods shop on Tottenham Court Road, it seems Mr Stern realised that the African students at SOAS university were struggling to get music from home. This was the 1950s, and so he began selling African 78s, then 45s, then LPs – often buying suitcase loads from visitors – and, by the 70s, Sterns had such a reputation Eno, John Peel and Charlie Gillett were customers. In 1983, the lease ran out and Stern retired. Regulars Robert Urbanus, Don Bayramian and Charles Easmon, pooled together to buy the name and stock, relocating nearby. This was perfect timing as the world music boom was under way and Sterns became a record label (Salif Keita’s Soro was their biggest seller) and booking agent. The record shop remained a blast of colourful noise witha huge selection of African and Latin albums and became one of the first to house a café. I found albums here that I’d never seen before and would often hang around to chat withother aficionados. By the 90s, Sterns was largely CD-oriented, yet CD burners meant their new releases were being bootlegged internationally. Downloading hit hard and the shop closed in 2009, Stern’s existing today solely as a record label.

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About Long Live Vinyl

ISSUE 36 OF LONG LIVE VINYL IS NOW ON SALE! We’re turning it up to 11 this month, as Long Live Vinyl pays tribute to 50 years of Black Sabbath and the birth of heavy metal. Our cover story digs deep into the early years of Birmingham's kings of heavy rock, while we also pick out 40 essential metal albums from a genre that has twisted and evolved in multiple directions over the past half century. You’ll also want to strap yourself in as we join Iggy Pop on a debauched journey through the 1980s, and our packed features section bulges with interviews with the likes of Johnny Marr, Supergrass, Wire, Editors and Isobel Campbell. Our Classic Album feature takes a fond look at the record that emerged from the feuding egos of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young back in 1970, Deja Vu, and we sit down for a cuppa with one-of-a-kind cover artist Robert Crumb. If all that’s not enough, you’ll find the most comprehensive range of new album, reissue and hi-fi gear reviews anywhere on the newsstand. Long Live Vinyl is THE magazine for vinyl lovers…