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"All Things Must Pass" Review

Colin Hanks' wildly entertaining All Things Must Pass isn't about George Harrison's seminal solo album, but as it is subtitled, The Rise and Fall of Tower Records. Founded in Sacramento, CA in 1960 by Russ Solomon, Tower Records gradually, then rapidly, expanded into a globe-spanning retail empire which clocked a billion dollars in sales in 1999 only to go bankrupt and disappear by 2006.

Packed with interviews from almost everyone involved from the earliest days - the celebrity interview from Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl (who worked at the Washington D.C. store), and Elton John prominently featured in the trailer are a tiny part of the overall movie - it traces how Solomon was able to capture the music zeitgeist and sell it to rabidly loyal fans with a decidedly non-traditional approach to staffing and management. Somehow it succeeded and thrived, though unbeknownst to them, the seeds of doom were planted as the absence of only a couple of crucial people set the dominoes tumbling toward ruin.

While the MP3/Napster revolution was a contributing factor to Tower's (as well as the record industry's demise), All Things Must Pass and the participants don't make it the scapegoat. Everyone is remarkably clear-eyed as to what happened beyond the digital "free music" tsunami as the culture about collecting music changed. While some subjects become quite emotional in their recollections, they don't lash out in angry nostalgia for the bygone glory days.

Brisk, fun and informative, you shouldn't pass on All Things Must Pass.

Score: 9/10. Catch it on cable.


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