Dear Jim and Linda,

Don McLean wrote a song in 1971 about the day Buddy Holly died. That song, “American Pie” was dubbed “the day the music died.”

The day music really died, for me anyway, was Sept. 28, 2013. That date, my friends, is the day the last remaining, true record store, Album Alley, in Tupelo closed.

After 24 years, wonderful years I might add, I look back fondly on my time there. I remember the day I walked in and asked about a job. The owners at the time were Stanley Young (never Stan) and Barbara Lewis (Barb), took me into their office and interviewed me. After the interview they said I could start the next day.

At first I was hired part time. My responsibility consisted of keeping the 45s and cassette singles in order, plus helping customers. Customer service was always a big priority. You always “hello,” “let me know if I can help you,” (never “can I help you,” that way nobody could tell you no),” and always “thank You” and “have a good day,” or “see you later.” Within a couple of weeks, one of the girls quit and I was hired full-time.

During my time at Album Alley I made a lot of friends, I met a lot of people I never would have known — even one girl who would later become my wife. I guess when I started working there I didn’t think I would get very close to anyone, but as time goes by, co-workers become friends and friends become family (at least for me).

Over the last few years the music industry has really taken a hit, with downloading, XM Radio, etc. Younger people would rather customize their playlist on their iPods, tablets and smart phone, instead of buy a CD and read the liner notes, like we did in the good ole days. After all, how else could you find out what kind of mascara your favorite artist was wearing, male or female?

So, as I look back on fond memories, I say goodbye to a business that treated me well. And to all the friends I’ve made over the years, I say not goodbye, but see you later.

Johnny Holland

Tupelo, MS

(662) 231-5888

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