Crash Records: the story of one of Leeds’ best-loved music stores as it celebrates 35 years on the Headrow

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For Leeds music lovers, Accident records has long been the hub to visit for the latest and greatest indie, rock and metal music.

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Leeds Record Store is gearing up for another Record Store Day celebrating Independence…

First opened on Woodhouse Lane in 1985, before moving to Headrow in 1987, the independent music retailer has seen the rise and fall of CDs, the resurgence of vinyl and its fair share of groundbreaking gigs.

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Pictured is Crash Records owner Ian De-Whytell in 2014. Photo: Simon Hulme

And Ian De-Whytell, owner of Crash, has been there to witness almost everything.

A fan of the store for many years, Ian’s dream came true in 1998 when an opportunity presented itself for him to purchase the much-loved store.

“The owner happens to have grown into things and spread himself a bit,” Ian explained.

“At the time, I was thinking of moving on [from my job], so it was perfect because it was my favorite store and I really liked the staff. Curiously [Paul]one of the staff who was there then, is still there now!”

People queue for conductor Kaiser concert tickets outside Crash Records in 2007. Pictured: Lucy Beggs, 16, Harjinder Bacchus and Nadia Ward with their tickets. Photo: Matthew Page

As a testament to Crash Records’ hold on music lovers across the city, the remaining clerk, Paul Hodgson, continues to work tirelessly after more than two decades helping customers find their new favorite band.

Alongside him is fellow salesman Scott Hodgson, whose repertoire includes some of the most sought-after album sets, and the sold-out gigs that go along with them.

“Over the last two years we’ve started doing a lot of cool promotions with record labels,” Ian explained.

“We did a lot of album release gigs, which meant we were able to create unique opportunities for fans of bands and artists to see them in small, intimate venues.

Crash Records celebrates 35 years on Headrow. Photo: Matthew Page

“It’s great for the artists too because they really appreciate being able to give fans the opportunity to be face-to-face with them in a small venue. That’s the kind of stuff that Scott has done as his main strength. driving force in the shop.”

It is clear that Crash’s longevity and success has not been without effort, but it is also through an acceptance of change that Crash has been able to grow.

When vinyl was overtaken by CDs in the 1980s, and vice versa in the 2010s, Crash embraced the change and restructured the store to reflect customer wants and needs.

“We’ve always adapted and moved, and we’ve always tried to spot changes in the market. Ten years ago 80% of the space in the store would have been CDs, now it’s the other way around with 80% vinyl.

“I think part of the reason we’ve been able to survive is that we’ve always been able to understand the changing market, and we just tried to anticipate it as best we could.”

Now, more than 20 years after Ian first took the reins, he is stepping back from the music industry and leaving Crash in the capable hands of Paul and Scott.

“The great thing about [Paul and Scott taking over] is the smooth transition, as none of the customers will notice anything different in the store.

“They both work here, so rather than selling the business, it’s much better that it goes to the people who are here. They effectively inherit the business!”

“I’m going to relax and relax!” ” He’s laughing.

“I’ve been in the music business since 1978, 44 years old. While I’ve enjoyed it, I’m looking forward to a much more relaxed lifestyle.

“But you can bet when there’s something exciting and interesting in the store, I’ll be in the audience with the rest of the customers enjoying it!”

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