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Staffed by a highly respectable looking bunch (esp. young Mr. Mann) this shop sold musical instruments, sheet music, and seemed willing to embrace the 'prog' scene via its vinyl selection. A life-changing experience for me when I came across 'Unicorn' by Tyrannosaurus Rex in the browser. I bought it on the strength of the sleeve! Comment: John Crack

Andrew Gallant

MY LIFE IN MUSIC THROUGH COLCHESTER’S RECORD SHOPS by Andrew Gallant

The first record I bought was Saved by The Bell by Robin Gibb. At that time, The Bee Gees were not in such perfect harmony – sibling squabbles and all that. I bought it from Mann’s Music Shop in the High Street costing me (I think), five shillings.

Mann’s was THE place for all things musical in those days. To get to the record section, you had to navigate through a maze of guitars, strung from the ceiling. The record selection was not too comprehensive – mainly chart singles and a few albums, but it was worth a browse after school while waiting for the bus home. In fact, one of my mum’s friends worked there and I’d often go in and cadge ex-display album sleeves and posters to adorn my bedroom walls. I distinctly remember I had Black Sabbath’s first album and a Free poster on the wall next to my bed. The shop also had a couple of listening booths, where I’d listen to a play of my favourite chart hits.

Music in my pre-teen years was gleaned largely by Top of the Pops, the pirate radio stations off the Essex coast and my Dad’s meagre collection of 45s, (largely not to my teen taste). Radio Luxembourg was also a must-listen with affable disc jockeys including Tony Prince. And of course, Alan Freeman’s Pick of the Pops was essential listening to every Sunday evening. I sat glued to my Fidelity radio wired up to my trusty Cossor tape recorder and was a whizz with the pause and record buttons. So, the Beatles, Stones, Hollies, Walker Brothers, Dusty Springfield and Motown were all my faves of the day.

Mary Henry

Thank you so much for this Andrew. I was a music student at NEETC in 1962-1966 and all of my music came from Mann’s Music Shop.....it was a real hub for us students. I remember Howard Leach, as he was also a music student towards the end of my course. He was a chirpy character....think he hailed from Ipswich originally. Happy memories....thanks again.


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