‘If music be the food of love, play on’,wrote Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. He was obviously referring to BPM Records in Blacksmith’s Yard, housed in a building that scribe William would have recognised – in style, if not location.
This is the 30th anniversary for Dave Hill and BPM Records, a haven for hordes of fans of vinyl. The shop, based in the re-located and rebuilt, 15th century remnant of Newcastle House, combines the very best in 60s, 70s and 80s, rock, pop, jazz, blues and reggae within the classical attractions of Derby’s most prestigious independent shopping street – the UK’s ‘Best Shopping Street 2016’.
Dave has a unique style in the second hand record retail world. He’s different, his attitude’s different. Instead of piles of albums BPM Records offers easy, methodical, customer-friendly browsing. He encourages music fans to flick through the extensive displays – all clearly, alphabetically marked – at their leisure, while the music of that wondrous era suffuses the store.
“Vinyl has been going through a massive resurgence,” Dave says. “Our most popular area of the shop is the collectors where the rare LPs are displayed. The most expensive record that we currently have is first pressing of a Black Sabbath Masters of Reality album, and that is such a rarity we’ve had to price it at £250! The majority of our stock is priced at £7.50.
“The most popular collections are displayed downstairs, along with a fair amount of jazz, blues, and reggae, while upstairs we stock bargains, CDs, and singles. Our eras are the 60s, 70s and 80s. We do occasionally have some records from the 90s, but they are harder to acquire.”
Dave ‘discovered’ music in his early teens and, apart from a year in a ‘real job’ working with a firm of solicitors, he has never known anything else but music. In his late teens he bagged a job in the record department of a big electrical store in his then home town of Kings Lynn. Progress was rapid and he quickly learned how the record industry operated, to the extent that he was head-hunted to run the record shop at WH Smith’s in London and then HMV in Enfield. He was poached by the owners of R.E. Cords and sent to Derby to manage their store in Sadler Gate.
In 1987 Dave and his business partner, Lisa Woolley – now one of the best known and admired names in live music in Derby at The Flowerpot – set up BPM Records and the rest is history. Well, not quite. The record industry is notorious for suffering the fickle tastes of fans, The advent of free downloading sent the record retail businesses into a downward spiral.
Dave moved the business on-line and gradually trade resumed. The over-arching need for music lovers to physically touch those artistically-designed sleeves containing black vinyl returned.
Now, 30 years on, BPM Records is much more than a record shop: as one lady customer said surveying the concentrated, bent heads of middle-aged men, ‘It’s like a crèche for adults’. The store’s heritage blends well in the city’s oasis of fashion, coffee shops and real ale pubs.
In 1971 the warren of ancient buildings in the Market Place was pulled down to make way for the new Assembly Rooms. Tucked away the contractors found a beautifully preserved, black and white Tudor house or store room, part of the Duke of Newcastle’s old mansion. It was taken down, preserved and, in 1983, rebuilt in Blacksmith’s Yard. The home of BPM Records, a business that has been sating music lovers’ dreams and wishes for 30 years, is a near perfect fit.
Contact BPM Records
Monday: 10:00 – 17:00
Tuesday: 10:00 – 17:00
Wednesday: 10:00 – 17:00
Thursday: 10:00 – 17:00
Friday: 10:00 – 17:00
Saturday: 10:00 – 17:00