If there is a resurgence of interest in CDs, Rolling Stones Records has always been ahead of the curve.
The store, which sits just outside of the Chicago city limits at 7300 West Irving Park Road in Norridge, serves a main course of CDs with a side of vinyl. It’s a rare find among record stores in the Midwest.
While CDs account for most of the inventory at Rolling Stones Records, the store opened its doors long before the advent of the compact disc.
Rolling Stones Records first opened in 1971. According to the store’s website, the operation has grown from “a small storefront” over the years, into the “entire side of a city block.”
A colorful facade complete with cutouts of rockers such as Ozzy Osbourne and KISS help Rolling Stones Records standout along a bustling portion of Irving Park Road.
This stretch of businesses is a mix of old and new. A massive Target with an adjoined shopping center and parking deck sits just across the street.
The inside of Rolling Stones Records is like walking back into a late 80s, early 90s record store. Flashy signs. Racks and racks of CDs. Modest sections of movies and vinyl. There’s even a listening station in the center of the store.
Rolling Stones Records offers a fairly diverse selection of vinyl. Don’t assume it’s only rock n’ roll on the shelves due to the store’s name.
Sure, there are the usual new releases and leftovers from the latest Record Store Day, but there’s also some truly unique finds in their bins. Spotting one of Kayne West’s early mixtapes of vinyl was a first for me during a recent visit.
In case you were wondering, The Rolling Stones are aware of the store. According to a 2015 Chicago Tribune article, Rolling Stones Records struck a “friendly agreement” with the band over the use of the name.
The band is one of many represented among the bright neon signs throughout the store. Thousands of CDs also shimmer as they hang from the ceiling, leaving now doubt what form of music plays a major role here.
Being surrounded by CDs, both on the sales floor and above my head, at Rolling Stones Records has me wanting to dig back through the jewel cases in my collection.
It appears I’m not the only one. Signs are pointing toward the format making a comeback with Discogs reporting its largest increase in CD listings in 2021.
You can bet Rolling Stones Records will be ready for a possible surge in CD popularity. Serving the needs and trends of Chicago area music lovers has kind of been their thing, after all, for more than 50 years.