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CANN’S is well remembered by Sheffield record buyers and others. It was named after the founder and owner Philip Cann, and his name was on the front of the original building. The shop opened at the top end of Dixon Lane, No. 4. Dixon Lane today is a rather forgotten backwater, but was once a busy thoroughfare leading up to the city centre from the old market. They are listed there in the Sheffield Trades Directory 1927-28, although judging by surviving 78 rpm sleeves from the shop (with their catchy slogan “Cann’s The Music Man”) were probably there before this; one early 78 Cann’s sleeve lists them stocking Winner, Pathe, Zonophone and other early labels.
The record sleeves were changed regularly and variously advertise Cann’s as “For Everything Musical – Most Complete Record Stock In Yorkshire. Gramophone Records / Gramophone Players”, “Record Cases, music, strings”, or “Music and Musical Instruments of every description”. The shop expanded next door into No. 2 then 4a Dixon Lane.
Carole Froggatt remembers beginning work there in 1956 and was put in charge of the four large 78rpm players linked to listening booths. She says the store was always very busy on Saturdays, and recalls selling hundreds of copies of Rock Around The Clock (the track came out in 1955 but following the movie in 1956 it went on to became the biggest selling UK single of the fifties, reaching number one in 1957). Please click on link to Read more from ST33.

The new shop had a ground floor entrance, with the records in the basement, instruments and hi-fi etc. upstairs. It still had those strange peg-board-clad listening booths when I first frequented the place. This great shot shows the record department, and was taken for the local newspaper (in the early 70s judging by the stack heels on the girl in the centre – all the girls shown were members of staff). Cann’s also ran competitions, I entered one and to my surprise won an album. My joy at this rare piece of luck was short-lived when of all the albums they could have given me, they picked one I already owned – Hawkwind’s space rock masterpiece “In Search Of Space” (I got both copies autographed by Stacia, the band’s exotic hippy ‘dancer’, soon after). Cann’s were still listed here in 1973 as “Television, radio, music and musical instruments and gramophone record dealers”. The shop was taken over by Vallances in 1974. There is some debate on forums whether a rival shop Bradleys later took over, but the consensus of opinion seems to be that Bradleys had a separate shop of their own on Chapel Walk for a time.




Image Simon Robinson ST33

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