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( Feb 17, 2016) This was the Mecca for all things Bowie in the 1970s and 80s...spent a fortune over the years on rarities and limited releases...excellent mail order service, too, if I recall. Comment: Michael Bush

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ADRIANS in Wickford was my favourite Record Shop of all time, for such a small town even the Martin's Newsagents had an extensive Record section upstairs! Martyn Cain (202


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Dave Harwood
29 Dec 2023 at 09:27
I found this article in the 'Billericay Gazette' dated 3rd June 1993: "From small beginnings big businesses can grow! Throwing away a successful acting career to sell records may sound like a bad career move. And indeed it would have been if Adrian Rondeau hadn’t gone on to build up what can only be described as an internationally renowned record business. Adrians Records, the largest independent record shop in Britain, has now been in Wickford for 20 years. The bright orange trade name bags have been popping up all over the world for nearly as long. But his success story began in the West End as a professional actor before he had sold his first record. Adrian was in 'Godspell' alongside Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons and David Essex and was the narrator in a touring version of 'Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat', which also starred Manfred Mann’s Paul Jones. But music was his first love. "I had to make a choice at some point," he said. And the choice he made turned out to be the right one. "I wanted to start selling records but I didn’t have any money. I scrounged things off my parents that they didn’t want like old ornaments and borrowed £25 off a friend." With the cash he had built up he visited London’s array of secondhand record shops and bought records he knew had been under priced From there on it was a whole lot of hard work that got him to today’s position. "I didn’t take a wage out of the business or have a holiday for seven years. I ploughed everything back. I was determined to build this business up, he said. With the cash that was coming in from a few market stalls scattered around the district he was able to open his first 'tiny' record shop in The Shack, Market Road. But the building soon had to be knocked down forcing Adrians Records to move into another building by the market. "Then John Menzies opened up an enormous record department and we had a really bad Christmas. I was then determined to get a shop on the High Street," Adrian recalled. This determination got him and his thousands of collector records there 11 years ago. Since then, as the place has become more well-known, it has expanded and holds what is estimated at over 1 million records, tapes and CDs of of all varieties. Adrian, who is 42, also has two video shops in the High Street and for four consecutive years has won a British Videogram Association award for pioneering the sale of videos. But the roots of his success are still found on the top floor of his record shop. It is every collector’s dream, thousands of rare records imported from all over the world. Foreign collectors visiting the country have been known to make a point of coming to Wickford just to see if they can pick up anything that isn’t available anywhere else. From the ’40s to ’90s, the obscure to chart hits, they are all there. There are around 40 staff working for Adrian now and he has readily accepted that they know more about some forms of music than he does. "I don't buy new dance or indie stuff because I am not in touch with that."

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36-38 High Street SS12 9AZ Wickford /

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