Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Iconic Toronto music store founder Sam the Record Man Sniderman passes away
8:48PM EST | comments (13) |

UPDATE - 9/26@7:47AM: Reader Sean points out that Sam's son Jason also played piano on The Garden from Clockwork Angels.

Sam Sniderman - founder of the iconic Toronto music store Sam the Record Man - died at the age of 92 this past weekend. Sniderman was instrumental in the promotion of the Canadian music industry, helping several Canadian acts such as The Guess Who, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot and Rush get their careers off the ground. Here's what Geddy Lee had to say about Sam in a Winnipeg Press article yesterday:

"Sam took great pride in being the best friend of Canadian musicians," Rush frontman Geddy Lee said in a statement Monday. "I remember the first time we were awarded a Canadian Gold Record; it was presented to us by Sam at a dinner arranged at Sam the Chinese Food Man restaurant," he said, a reference to one of Sniderman's other ventures. "Sam truly helped change the way Canadians view homegrown talent."

Sam began selling records out of his family's College Street radio store in 1937. After Sam's business began to thrive, his family changed the name of the store to Sam the Record Man in the 1950s, and in 1961 Sam moved the store to its iconic Yonge Street location with its huge flashing red neon record sign. The store and this sign are prominently featured in Rush's Subdivisions video. The store would eventually close its doors in 2007 due to sagging sales. In 1977 at the Juno Awards Geddy Lee first met Sam's son Jason - then Vice President of the Sam the Record Man chain - and developed a friendship with him. Jason provided additional keyboards on Rush's Presto album, later on Geddy's My Favorite Headache solo project, and most recently played piano on The Garden from Clockwork Angels. Here's a great video slideshow tribute to Sam the Record Man played appropriately to Rush's The Spirit of Radio:

Thanks to RushFanForever for the info and the heads up.



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#13 - Posted 9/28/12 @11:50AM by Margo [contact]

it kinda sucks that I will never see his Flagship Store now that its gone. Those Record Signs were so cool!
#12 - Posted 9/26/12 @8:42AM by Rebel and a Runner [contact]

Rest in peace, Sam......
#11 - Posted 9/26/12 @8:15AM by oldprogrockfan [contact]

I only went along to this store once way back in 1986 when I went to both M.L.G. shows in March of that year.
This was after 2 shows With Marillion as the support act at the gigs in Montreal and Quebec City over 26 years ago.
4 Rush gigs in 5 days and change from a $100 Canadian bill!

Old prog rock fan
London England.
#10 - Posted 9/26/12 @1:26AM by Rushian Roulette [contact]


Throughout the many years in TO, all of the billboards around your store, technology and ppl changed. One thing that did not was you and your committments to the fans, their love of music and the fiber of all things good.


#9 - Posted 9/26/12 @1:11AM by cpb [contact]

Much love and honor to the memory of Sam Sniderman. Every time I went to Toronto I went to that location on Yonge street and was gutted it went away. (While, presumably, the porn shop next door remains active.) Thoughts and prayers to his family.
#8 - Posted 9/25/12 @11:37PM by kjbird [contact]

I was just watching the R30 DVD and under the "interviews" section of disc 2, there is a quick clip of Sam congratulating the guys on their 1994 Juno Hall of Fame Induction. Along a different vein, Geddy stated (this was 1994) "i still have a feeling my greatest song is still in me, i just haven't gotten it out yet". What a foretelling of the future....IMO, that song was released in 2012 "The Garden". I got chills when i heard him say that. Wow.
#7 - Posted 9/25/12 @11:25PM by LaVillaRules [contact]

#4. Growing up in Kitchener,I echo your sentiments, every trip to toronto had to include a trip to Sam's. I remember all the cool pictures of bands like Rush getting their picture taken with Mr. Sniderman while receiving their gold or platinum record.
#6 - Posted 9/25/12 @11:19PM by bucklemyshoe [contact]

I was purusing through the Rush albums at Sam's in 1981 (or '82), and I come across this box set titled "Rush - Live in St. Louis". My buddy said its a bootleg of a Rush concert. A bootleg ?!! - I don't think I even knew what a bootleg was at that time. He said you never know what you're gonna get with a bootleg. $42. We (3 of us) piled our money together and bought it. Brought it home and cranked it continuously for months and months. Turned out to be the famous ROIO that is in circulation today. Still holds a candle to be one of the finest bootlegs ever released of a Rush concert.

Thanks Sam !!
#5 - Posted 9/25/12 @11:12PM by 1001_SOS [contact]

Has anyone noted that today is the 30th anniversary of the release of the Signals album?
#4 - Posted 9/25/12 @10:46PM by angiodan [contact]

Growing up in St. Catharines, I used to love when I went to the big city and stopped in at "the" Sams. Sure we had a location, but nothing like the main one. I spent hours in there just browsing. Plus, they had the largest CD section when that format came out in the early 80's.

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