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Mon, Aug 19, 2019

Iconic Toronto music store founder Sam the Record Man Sniderman passes away

Tue, Sep 25, 2012@8:48PM | comments

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.