by: Michael Fox Updated:
SEATTLE, Wash. - It may be the best time machine Seattle has to offer.
The smell, the sound, the feeling you get when you flip through the plastic covered vinyls – it’s enough to put goose bumps on your arms.
Many know 45th Avenue in Wallingford as home to Dick’s Drive-In, one of Seattle’s best burger joints.
However to the true music connoisseur, the real attraction in this part of town is Golden Oldies, a record store that boasts some of the hardest-to-find music in the world.
“It’s a treasure trove of 45s,” said George Greene, a visitor to Golden Oldies.
“I come here once a year from Ohio,” he said. “I bring a list of my collection just to make sure I don’t buy any that I already have.”
It turns out his collection surpasses 7,000 records.
“It’s not that much compared to some others,” Greene said, laughing.
Those “some others” include Dean Silverstone, owner of Golden Oldies.
Silverstone opened the shop in the mid-1970s after spending years as a promoter for professional wrestling in Seattle.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, his love for wrestling in the 1960s would lead seamlessly into the next chapter of his life.
“When I was in the wrestling business you get to the city and your matches don’t start until 8 p.m. So I’d go into the thrift stores in those towns and buy their records,” he said.
In some cases he would offer as little as $2 to the thrift store owner for their entire collection.
“They’d be so excited to get rid of it that they’d help me load it all into my car.”
Every time he went to a new city his love of music led him to buy more and more records in bulk.
By the early ‘70s Silverstone recollects having tens of thousands of records in his basement.
“My mother said, ‘Either you go or your records go.’ So that’s why I started a record store.”
Forty-years later what started as a casual collection has ballooned to one of the best selections of music in the country.
When asked what record he is most proud to have in his store right now?
“The Complete Blue Note Recordings of Thelonious Monk,” he said.
“I’ve been here 40 years and I’ve never seen that come through the door,” he said.
“I bet there’s only five copies in the country – even less in mint condition.”
With duplicate albums coming through his door each day, this one is extra special.
The truly beautiful thing is if you ask him that question next week, you’ll probably get a different response.
That’s because another diamond in the rough will have been uncovered by one of Seattle’s biggest music buffs.
Suffice it to say, if you want to blast into the past of some of music’s greatest hits, Dean Silverstone has you covered.
Golden Oldies is open 363 days a year – they close shop on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving.
Click here to visit the Golden Oldies website.
Want to sell some of your old vinyls? Stop by the store and Dean and his staff will take a look!