About 81 Renshaw
In the spring of 2016, I was on a driving tour of the States with my partner Kay. We diverted from route 66 and headed north to Las Vegas. We stopped for a coffee on a backstreet off downtown which turned out to be a bar, café and record store with a fanzine library at the back.
It seemed such a great idea, I did actually say “I’m going to set something like this up when we get back home”. 81 Renshaw Street was the ideal fit and we opened in the December that year.
I feel privileged to be based in such a historic address. Music is in the fabric of 81 Renshaw Street, there was a record store here in the 70s but before that it was the home to Bill Harry’s Merseybeat magazine in the 1960s.
Every day (when there is not a pandemic on) we have a walking tour stop at the building and people from all around the world turn up and ask about the place. There is even a replica of the original Merseybeat office, which is now our office, within the Beatles museum here in Liverpool. John Lennon was a good friend of Bill Harry and spent a lot of time here. I got to know Bill in the 80s when he worked for RAK records and I worked with a couple of bands he looked after. He was such an important part of the history of Liverpool music.
81 Renshaw is a bright and friendly space in which to discover new music or pick up something you already love. We stock both new and second-hand records across a wide range of genres and styles. There's something for everyone, whether you are the most gnarled vinyl junkie or you are relatively new to the hobby. We stock everything from bargain bin fodder to rare releases and collectibles. We have a particular focus on new music and stock all the week's big releases on all the weird and wonderful colour variants we have access to.
Record stores are often perceived as elitist and intimidating places (not a generalisation I agree with btw), but we aim to provide an experience that is the total opposite of that. We're a customer focused store, with our approachable and knowledgeable staff enthusiastic to help you find that perfect piece of vinyl for your turntable. We think buying records should be the highlight of your day, and we do our best to make that so every single time you pop in.
First record sold - The Jesus & Mary Chain - Psychocandy
Last record sold (according to our Chart return log) - Joy Division/New Order – Total
My older sister owned the house record player, she left home taking the turntable with her when I was just 11. Not before I had discovered her prog collection and played the early Moody Blues LP’s to death. I loved them, still do. It was not till I was 14 in 1977 that we got a music centre. The first LP I bought was ‘Get Stoned’, A Rolling Stones 2LP Compilation. Money was tight so records were a bit of a luxury.
As for the first record shop I visited, it was on St. Mary’s Road in Garston, Liverpool 19 just down the road from where I lived. I can’t remember the name (answers on a postcard please), there was a record shop in every suburb of Liverpool. It was ‘January’ by Pilot and I think it cost 40p. It was a birthday present for my mate Stuart.
I didn’t get to Probe till I was 16 …. Boom - Year Zero!
Concerto in Amsterdam. I love the building, the way it is set out and the shape of the rooms. Wide ranging new and second-hand selection. Good coffee and the staff are helpful.
When Elvis Costello walked into 81 Renshaw. It was mid-week and we had just opened for the day. He had a look around and bought a coffee. We had a chat, complimented us on the playlist and then he sent Debbie Harry a photo of the shop. Top man.
Probably XTC at Rotter’s Liverpool 1980. It was also the night after John Lennon died, I was 17. It was very emotional.
We have had so many outstanding gigs here at 81 Renshaw; Kelley Stoltz, Spare Snare, Emma Tricca, Avi Buffalo, The Blackheart Orchestra, Ethan Johns were all outstanding.
Like a lot of people, I read more in 2020 than any other year. I prefer autobiographies.
Jeff Tweedie – Lets Go (so we can get back) stands out for me.
I must say though, I am very proud of my sister Karen Boggiano who had her first novel ‘A Bed of Daffodil Sky’ published last year. A great read and available from all good independent book shops.
I would say Burn after reading, it just about beats Fargo. I love anything by the Coen Brothers.
This is difficult. My top 10 could change weekly, as it should!
In no particular order it would be:
Wire – The 15th
Ed Harcourt – Visit from the Dead Dog
Half Man Half Biscuit – We Built this Village on a Trad. Arr Tune
Aldus Harding – The Barrel
Guided By Voices – Echos Myron
The Only Ones – No Peace for the Wicked
Pixies – Debaser
Parquet Courts – Berlin Got Blurry
Trash Can Sinatras – I’ll get them in
Emma Tricca - Salt
I much prefer an intimate gig to a festival, although I would take anything I could get at the moment!
Seeing Hendrix would be a bit special. I’d fill it full of 60s artists, The Byrds, Crosby Stills & Nash…
Again, this can be fluid. I would say Aimee Mann is my favourite artist so; Aimee Mann – Whatever